MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee’s men’s and women’s tennis teams faced a pair of tough opponents Friday.
The men’s team (11-10) went up against No. 47 Memphis.
The men’s team started its match with the Tigers (12-6) on the right foot, taking the doubles point.
The Blue Raiders fell behind after the first doubles match. The Tigers’ duo of Andrew Watson and Ryan Peniston turned back MTSU’s Yannick Born and Robin Riethmueller in convincing fashion, 6-1, at the No. 2 position.
Ben Davis and Victor Hoang struck back with a huge win at No. 1. They were able to score a 6-4 win over 60th-ranked pair of Connor Glennon and Kal Lemke. Dima Zyhmantovich and Ettore Zito secured the doubles point for MTSU at No. 3, beating Patrick Mayer and Shakeel Majji 6-4.
However, the lead was short-lived when singles play got underway. The Tigers got on the board with a win by Watson at No. 3. The 58th-ranked netter defeated MTSU’s Born 6-3, 6-3 to even the match up. Hoang was no match at all for Mayer at No. 5. Mayer gave Memphis a 2-1 advantage with an impressive 6-1, 6-2 victory.
Gian Issa battled at the No. 4 position with Lemke. Issa lost the first set 3-6. The second set was a tight one, but Issa eventually dropped it 6-7, putting Memphis ahead 3-1.
The Blue Raiders’ hopes for a win were extinguished at No. 1 when 48th-ranked Glennon beat Zito. Glennon took the first set 6-3. Zito made things interesting in the second set, as it went to a tiebreaker. However Glennon came out victorious, 7-6 (7-1).
The loss dropped MTSU to 11-10 on the year. All 10 of its loses have come against ranked opponents.
The Blue Raiders will have another match in Memphis Saturday. They will take on VCU at 1 p.m. CST.
MTSU’s women’s tennis team (16-4) was rolling coming into Friday, carrying an eight-game winning streak into its match with No. 57 Tulane in New Orleans.
That streak met its end Friday.
The Green Wave (16-7) came out and quickly snatched the doubles point. At the No. 2 position, Tulane’s duo of Vanessa Nommensen and Nicky Stracar won a close 6-4 decision over Brittany Huxley and Nayara Moraes.
At No. 3, Jacqui Katz and Ipek Birol made sure the doubles point went to Tulane, scoring a 6-1 win over Jesse Grace and Sarah Sediri.
Tulane extended its lead in the first two matches of singles play, winning two-straight to put MTSU on the brink of defeat.
Moraes lost her first singles match of the season at No. 5. She fell to Katz 1-6, 3-6, giving the Green Wave a 2-0 lead. It was Moraes’ first loss in 15 decisions on the year.
The hole got even deeper for the Blue Raiders at No. 2 singles. Darya Shulzhanok lost 3-6, 3-6 to Naz Karagoz. The loss put Tulane ahead 3-0.
With Tulane one point away from victory, MTSU answered with two-straight wins to narrow the margin to one, 3-2.
Both MTSU’s wins needed three sets to be decided. Grace started the comeback, picking up a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 win at No. 3 over Stracar.
Huxley followed with a three-set win of her own at No. 4. She took the first set over Nommensen 6-2. However, the Green Wave’s netter came back with a 6-4 win in the second set. The third and decisive set went to a tiebreaker, with Huxley ultimately winning it, and the match, 7-6 (7-3).
The Tulane lead was now just 3-2, but MTSU’s comeback hopes were cut short at No. 6. Sediri fought hard at No. 6 with Meredith Maltby. The first set went Maltby’s way, 7-5. Sediri made the next set even more difficult for Tulane’s netter, forcing a tiebreaker. Maltby would not be denied though, taking the second set 7-6 (8-6). The win clinched the all-important fourth point for Tulane, taking the match, 4-2.
Tiffany William was in the midst of a three-set battle at No. 1, but her match went unfinished with Sediri’s result at No. 6.
Middle Tennessee will look to get back to its winning ways on Saturday as it has another match in New Orleans against Conference USA foe Louisiana Tech. The match will begin at 2 p.m. CST.
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