MTSU Battles Hard, Loses to No. 23 Vanderbilt

Victor Hoang, a senior exchange student from Mississauga, Ontario, plays at the match against Jackson State on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015. (MTSU Sidelines/Grant Massey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee’s men’s tennis team showed a lot of fight Friday afternoon against 23rd-ranked Vanderbilt, but the Commodores proved to be too much as they won the match, 6-1.

The Blue Raiders played well in their doubles matches, but they were unable to come up with the point. Yannick Born and Victor Hoang would keep things close in their match, but they would come up short, losing to Vandy’s fifth-ranked duo of Gonzales Austin and Rhys Johnson.

Dima Zyhmantovich and Robin Riethmueller did not fare as well. They would be turned back by Suresh Eswaran and Daniel Valent, 6-2. With the win, the Commodores picked up the doubles point.

Ettore Zito and Ben Davis were locked in a highly-contested battle with Baker Newman and Ryan Smith. The match was tied 4-4, but it would go unfinished as Vandy had already secured the doubles point.

Middle Tennessee played the ranked Commodores well in singles play. Four of the six matches required three sets.

Newman defeated the Blue Raiders’ Gian Issa 6-2, 6-2 to take the first singles point. Davis didn’t win a set in his match, but he made the 10th-ranked Austin work for the win. Austin would take the match 6-2, 7-6 (6).

Hoang would win the first set against Valent, 6-3. However, Valent would take the next two sets 6-1, 6-3. Valent gave Vandy a 4-0 advantage, clinching the win for the Commodores.

The Blue Raiders would still play hard though. Zyhmantovich took Kris Yee to three sets, but he would eventually lose 6-3, 2-6, 2-6.

Zito had a good showing in his match with 73rd-ranked Johnson. Johnson took the first set, 6-4. Zito then took the second set, 6-3. Zito would drop the third set though, 2-6, giving Johnson the win.

Riethmueller tallied Middle Tennessee’s only point on the day when he beat Eswaran. He turned back the Vandy netter 6-1, 3-6, 1-0 (13).

Despite Riethmueller’s point, the Commodores defeated the Blue Raiders, 6-1. It was their first away match of the season.

The loss drops Middle Tennessee to 4-2. Both of their loses have come against nationally ranked opponents, North Carolina State being the other.

They will hit the courts next against another nationally ranked opponent when they face South Carolina, who is tied at No. 23 with Vanderbilt. The match will begin at 4 p.m. Feb. 13 in Nashville at the Nashboro Village Athletic Club.

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To contact sports editor Connor Grott, email

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