Photo by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines
Story by Nathan Vaughan / Sports Reporter
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders opened the Conference USA Tournament on Friday with a matchup against the defending champions Rice Owls. As the second seed in the tournament, the Blue Raiders came in as favorites on a nine-match winning streak and held serve bob defeating the Owls by a score of 4-0.
This is now the second time the Blue Raiders have defeated Rice, as they won 4-3 on Feb. 28.
Middle Tennessee opened with the early advantage after securing yet another doubles point. Miguel Negre Fernandez and Gonzalo Morrell Raschiatore won the No. 2 match by a 6-2 score, while Jan Porteset and Gian Issa clinched the point with a 6-4 win at the No. 3 spot. This proved to be a lead they would not give up.
Porteset struck again at the No.6 singles match, as he won by a 6-2, 6-2 count. Chris Edge also won in straight sets at the No. 3 spot, this time by a score of 6-3, 6-4. Fernandez sealed the deal with a 6-4, 6-1 win at the No. 5 match to eliminate Rice and send the Blue Raiders to the next round.
With the win, MTSU will now play the third-seeded Florida Atlantic Owls, whom they defeated 4-1 at the Adams Tennis Complex on Mar. 18. The two squads will square off at noon on Saturday, and the winner will advance to play the winner of Old Dominion-Southern Mississippi.
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