By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
TULSA, Okla. – After advancing to the quarterfinals, Golden Eagle senior Eduardo Mena's run at the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships came to an end Saturday evening.
The Ohio Valley Conference's reigning two-time Player of the Year, Mena fought back to earn a another big victory in the tournament, defeating No. 16 ranked Julian Cash of Oklahoma State in the round of 16.
Ranked No. 33 nationally, Mena held a 4-3 lead in the first set over Cash, before the Cowboy rallied off three straight points for a 6-4 win. Without hesitation, Mena dominated the second set, swiftly working his way to a 6-2 win to even things up.
Both sides fought back-and-forth in set three, never gaining more than a one-point advantage. Finally, Mena broke through with the set tied at 6-6. The Golden Eagle took a quick 3-0 lead in the tiebreaker race to seven points. He would go on to win the tiebreaker, 7-3, advancing to the quarterfinals later in the day.
Oregon's Thomas Laurent met Mena in the later match-up, having defeated Tulanes Constantin Schmitz earlier in the day, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1. Ranked No. 19 nationally, Laurent defeated Mena in straight sets, 6-0 and 6-2, for a place in the semifinals of the tournament.
Next on the docket for the Tennessee Tech tennis team will be the Louisville Invitational hosted by the University of Louisville from Friday, Oct. 13 through Sunday, Oct. 15.
FRIDAY RECAP (10/6/17)
Tennessee Tech's Eduardo Mena's run at the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships continued in a huge way Friday afternoon, as the Golden Eagle advanced to the round of 16 in the tournament's main draw after gathering his second win in as many days.
Ranked No. 33 nationally by the ITA, Mena needed just two sets to oust the nation's No. 2 ranked player, Mississippi State's Nuno Borges. Mena showed the same poise on the court that has led to two Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year honors in the first set, defeating his opponent 6-3.
Set two worked out almost the same for the Tech senior. Mena allowed Borges to gain one more point, but still took the win 6-4 to advance to Saturday.
Mena will match-up against Julian Cash of Oklahoma State, the nation's No. 16 ranked player, in the round of 16. A victory over Cash would equate to a second match on Saturday for Mena, facing the winner of No. 19 Thomas Laurent of Oregon versus No. 13 Constantin Schmitz of Tulane in the quarterfinals.
Cash won his match-up Friday against No. 28 ranked Gabriel Friedrich of South Carolina, 7-5, 6-4.
THURSDAY RECAP (10/5/17)
The No. 33 ranked player in the nation and two-time reigning Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, Tennessee Tech's own Eduardo Mena, advanced to the second round of the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships Thursday afternoon, winning in two sets over Tulsa's Josh Goodger on his own home court.
The Golden Eagle made quick and easy work of things in the first set, claiming a decisive 6-0 victory in a match that officially began at noon CT.
Set two would prove to be much more of a challenge as Goodger fought to keep his hope for advancement alive. The two battled back and forth, eventually tying at 6-6 to force a playoff. Mena ultimately captured victory in the second set, edging the Golden Hurricane 7-4 to move on to the second round of Main Draw for the tournament.
With the win, Mena will face a much different test in round two, being pitted against the No. 2 ranked player in the nation, Nuno Borges of Mississippi State. Borges won his first set of the event over Walker Duncan of Georgia, 6-3, 7-5. The two are scheduled to face off Friday at noon CT.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information