By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Tennessee Tech tennis team had the opportunity to square off against the defending national champion and No. 1 team in the country twice on Sunday, and when the dust finally settled, the Golden Eagles were upended in both matches of a doubleheader at Wake Forest.
Originally slated for just one contest, the late change to a twin bill swung in favor of the top-ranked Demon Deacons (8-1) with a 6-1 win in the opener and a 7-0 nod in the nightcap. The double dip marked the first time Tech (1-4) had hit the courts for a match in 20 days, following a 4-0 victory over Illinois State in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 21.
Sophomore Gonzalo Garcia recorded TTU's lone point on the day with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Alan Gadjiev in the first tilt's No. 6 matchup.
Freshman Carlos Vicente nearly struck a similar fate as Garcia, but dropped the third-set finale 6-2 against Siddhant Banthia in the first affair's No. 5 position. The two rookies exchanged wins in the first two sets with Vicente capturing a convincing 6-1 victory in the first set before Banthia bounced back with a 6-4 win in the second set.
Two Golden Eagles squared off with nationally ranked foes as Rafael Tosetto fell 6-2, 6-3 to No. 21 Bar Botzer in the first match top-spot duel and Riku Kubota was upended 6-1, 6-4 by No. 88 Rrezart Cungu in the No. 2 slot.
Wenceslao Albin was tripped up 6-1, 6-1 by Yuval Solomon in the No. 3 battle and Fanis Kontopolous helped round out Tech's first-match singles showing with a narrow 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 loss to Julian Zlobinsky in the No. 4 clash.
Tech's youth came up large in first tilt's doubles play thanks to a win from the freshmen tandem of Rafael Tosetto and Lucca Silva. The Golden Eagle rookies defeated Rrezart Cungu and Yuval Solomon, 6-4, in the No. 3 position.
Gonzalo Garcia and Marc Mila were edged 7-5 by Bona Gojo and Alan Gadjiev in the top spot, while Riku Kubota and Wenceslao Albin were downed 6-3 by Julian Zlobinsky and Morgan Dill in the No. 2 matchup.
Wake Forest seized the doubles point in the nightcap en route to the club's 7-0 victory. The Deacs' tandem of Zlobinsky and Dill powered past Carlos Vicente and Gonzalo Garcia, 6-1, in the top spot and the combination of Gojo and Cungu knocked off Fanis Kontopolous and Lucca Silva, 6-2, in the No. 3 battle.
Tosetto fought tooth and nail against No. 88 Rrezart Cungu in the No. 1 singles matchup, but ultimately was downed in a shortened three-set thriller. After narrowly falling 7-5 in the opener, Tosetto claimed a 6-4 win in the second set before dropping the tiebreaker, 10-7, in the finale.
No. 21 Bar Botzer edged Riku Kubota, 7-5, 6-0, in the No. 2 clash, while Yuval Solomon took down Fanis Kontopolous, 6-3, 6-1, in the No. 3 affair and Julian Zlobinsky secured a 7-5, 6-1 nod over Carlos Vicente in the No. 4 position. Siddhant Banthia defeated Gonzalo Garcia, 6-3, 6-3, in the No. 5 slot and Morgan Dill helped round out the nightcap's singles action with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Wenceslao Albin the No. 6 spot.
The Golden Eagles will head to Boca Rotan, Fla. for three matches in two days over the weekend. Tech will tussle with Stetson at 8 a.m. CT and Florida Atlantic at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday, Feb. 16 before concluding its stay in the Sunshine State with a Sunday meeting against DePaul at 8 a.m. CT.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information