JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The FGCU men’s tennis team claimed two singles wins over nationally-ranked opponents but fell short of an upset over Atlantic Sun Conference powerhouse No. 55 ETSU, dropping 5-2 to the Bucs Friday afternoon at the Dave Mullins Tennis Complex.
The Eagles move to 5-7 (0-2 A-Sun) on the season while ESTU improves to 5-8 (1-0 A-Sun).
The Bucs took the lead right out of the gate, coming out on top of three close doubles matches for a 1-0 advantage. With the No. 1 match, featuring Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) and Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) against Ismael Merino and Diego Nunez, going point-for-point the contest extended into a tiebreak. With close play continuing in the decider the Eagles couldn’t find the finish they needed as they fell 8-7 (10-8). Both the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles contests ended with an 8-5 decision in favor of the Bucs.
“We came out with great energy in doubles play,” head coach C.J. Weber said. “We were so close to taking that point.”
Through the start of singles play things didn’t look promising for the Green and Blue as four of the six matches posted first-set decisions in ETSU’s favor. Unable to gain control in the second set, three Eagles suffered quick losses giving ETSU a clinch of the match at 4-0.
“I feel that we didn’t play at our best level in singles,” Weber said. “ETSU was ready to win this match and they took it from us.”
Posting a huge win, and giving the Eagles their first point, was Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) with an upset on No. 124 Diego Nunez in straight sets. To open the match, Bao broke Nunez’s serve for an early lead, and continued to hold his own for each of the following points leading to a 6-4 win of the first set. Needing to turn things around in the second for a chance at the overall victory, Nunez stepped his game up in the following set forcing it into a tiebreaker. Winning the first three points for a quick lead of the tiebreak was Nunez, but Bao fought back to earn the win 7-6 (7-5).
“I’m very proud of the way Bao played to win today,” Weber said. “He was persistent in his game in order to earn that nationally-ranked win. He led the team in energy and was a lot of fun to watch.”
Picking up the Eagles’ second point was No. 70 Vives with a three-set win over No. 105 David Biosca in the one-singles slot. After cranking out break after break to take the first set a swift 6-1, Vives fell in the second, 3-6. With overall victory on the line, the two went back and forth to stay on serve in the third before Vives powered through at the end for a 7-5 win.
The Green and Blue will continue action as they travel to Spartanburg for a dual match against USC Upstate tomorrow at 2 p.m. For complete coverage of FGCU men’s tennis this weekend, follow us on Twitter @FGCU_MTEN and visit www.FGCUAthletics.com where full recaps and results will be available.
FGCU: 2 ETSU: 5
1. Ismael Merino/Diego Nunez (ETSU) def. Dean Tsamas/Jordi Vives (FGCU) 8-7 (10-8)
2. David Biosca/Roger Ordeig (ETSU) def. Lance Lvovsky/Tianyu Bao (FGCU) 8-5
3. Sebastian Yllera/Conner Huertas (ETSU) def. Chirs Perrigan/Lucas Vaz (FGCU) 8-5
1. #70 Jordi Vives (FGCU) def. #105 David Biosca (ETSU) 6-1, 3-6, 7-5
2. Tianyu Bao (FGCU) def. #124 Diego Nunez (ETSU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
3. Sebastian Yllera (ETSU) def. Dean Tsamas (FGCU) 6-2, 6-0
4. Conner Huertas (ETSU) def. Lance Lvovsky (FGCU) 6-2, 6-3
5. Ismael Merino (ETSU) def. Lucas Vaz (FGCU) 6-1, 6-2)
6. Roger Ordeig (ETSU) def. Gabriel Echeverry (FGCU) 6-2, 6-3