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Alabama Men’s Tennis Tops East Tennessee State and Samford to Start 2017 Season...

on 1/18/2017 08:30:00 AM

Crimson Tide Men's Tennis:

The Alabama men's tennis team topped East Tennessee State, 4-2, and blanked in-state foe Samford, 4-0, in a doubleheader to officially begin the 2017 spring season on Monday at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility. The Crimson Tide tallied six singles victories and four doubles wins on the day.

"A super start to the season for us," said head coach George Husack. "We were challenged all day physically and mentally. Both teams came gunning for us and I was very proud of how we fought from start to finish."

To begin doubles play against East Tennessee State, freshmen Zhe Zhou and Thibault Cancel topped Weceslao Albin and Juan Luge in a 6-3 decision from the No. 3 spot to give the Tide its first doubles win of the day. Alabama's 32nd-ranked doubles pair in sophomores Mazen Osama and Spencer Richey were then edged out by Diego Nunez and Robert Herrera in a 7-5 decision on court one. With the doubles point on the line, freshmen Edson Ortiz and Alexey Nesterov outlasted David Biosca and Miguel Este in a 7-6(2) battle to give Alabama a 1-0 match lead heading into singles play.

Ortiz (No. 5) tallied the Tide's first singles victory of the day, as he defeated David Gonzalez in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4, to extend Alabama's match lead to 2-0. The Tide was able to lengthen its match lead to 3-0, as Richey topped Este in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5. The Buccaneers went on to win back-to-back singles matches to trim the Alabama match lead to one, 3-2, before the Tide's 78th-ranked singles player in Cancel (No. 2) defeated the Buccaneers' 65th-ranked singles player in Nunez, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, to clinch the Alabama 4-2 match victory over East Tennessee State.

In the evening match against Samford, Alabama registered a quick win from the No. 3 doubles position, as Zhou and Cancel teamed up to defeat Justin Ghavami and Curran Verma in a 6-1 decision. Osama and Richey then outlasted Jake Faundez and Hugo Moreira, 6-4, to clinch the doubles point and give Alabama a 1-0 match lead going into singles play.

The narrative remained the same in singles, as Ortiz (No. 5) defeated Verma in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0, to give the Tide a 2-0 match lead. Alabama's Cancel (No. 2) topped Faundez, 6-1, 6-1, before the Tide's 63rd-ranked singles player Osama (No. 1) dominated Ghavami, 6-2, 6-4, to clinch the 4-0 Alabama match victory over Samford.

"I was really impressed with our freshmen stepping into the ring for the first time," said Husack. "Four youngsters clinched the doubles point against ETSU and then another came up big to clinch that win. In the nightcap we had freshmen and sophomores leading the way. It won't matter what year you are or how experienced you might be, we will have an all hands on deck mentality throughout the season."

The Tide will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 21, when it travels to Orlando, Fla., to take on Michigan in a neutral site match at 5 p.m. CT.

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