Sunday, February 25, 2024

MTSU Tennis Weekend Recap


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Featured Photo by Cameron Wimberly/MTSU Athletics

Story by Grant Langston

Blue Raider tennis’ stock is rising after another perfect weekend from both Middle Tennessee squads.

In the fifth installment of a six-match homestand, MTSU women’s tennis hosted the Tennessee State Tigers, its second match against an in-state rival in just as many weekends. 

TSU had some complications at its team breakfast, which delayed their arrival at Adams Tennis Complex until about 11:30 a.m. Friday morning. Nonetheless, doubles play started on schedule. 

Raiders Noelle Mauro and Sana Garakani won the top court 6-2 against Warona Mdlulwa and Daniela Koleva.

Muskan Gupta and Eloise Swarbrick picked up their first victory as partners on court three by defeating Franka Sindicic and Ar Arrieta Castillo 6-0. 

Love-Star Alexis and Rutujah Chaphalkar were tied at three games apiece with Naomi Von Bose and Jovana Nikolic when play was ruled unfinished.

Doubles order of finish: 3, 1

With the Blue Raiders taking the doubles point, Love-Star Alexis kept the pressure on the Tigers in singles, making quick work of Warona Mdlulwa on the top court, winning 6-0, 6-0 in straight sets. 

Noelle Mauro got the bump up to court four in the absence of Lilly-Sophie Schmidt. Mauro showed her resolve to bounce back after a tough loss against Chattanooga last time out, beating Ar Arrieta Castillo 6-2, 6-0.

Sana Garakani earned her first victory in nearly a month, taking down Naomi Von Bose, 6-1, 6-2. 

“It was great to win my first home match,” Garakani said. “It was important to for me to keep my mind right and stay focused on this match.”

Muskan Gupta extended her winning streak on court three to three matches, winning 6-2 and then 6-1 over Jovana Nikolic.

Mt. Juliet, TN native, Karen Yibirin struggled to find her groove in her first appearance for MTSU this season.Yibirin fell to Franka Sindicic 3-6, 2-6.

Camila Barragan would also see her first action for the Raiders. Barragan and Daniela Koleva appeared to be fairly evenly matched, each taking a set off the other by a score of 6-3. Koleva outlasted Barragan in the 10-point tiebreak, winning 10-8.

It would not matter, as both freshmen gained invaluable experience and the Blue Raiders won the match over the TSU Tigers 5-2.

Singles order of finish: 1, 4, 2, 3, 6, 5 

Later that afternoon, the men’s team would play host to its only C-USA opponent of the 2023 season: The Rice Owls.

Oskar Brostrom-Poulsen and Francisco Rocha (23/-) defeated Wes Barnett and Trinity Grear 6-3, in a match highlighted by an acrobatic, cross-court circus shot. 

Stijn Slump and Pavel Motl secured the doubles point for MTSU, besting the Owl pairing of Santiago Navarro and Campbell Salmon 7-5.

Ondrej Horak and Shu Matsuoka were locked in a tiebreak set with Kabeer Kapasi and Eduardo Morais after taking six games each. Horak and Matsuoka led 5-3 when the match was ruled unfinished.

Doubles order of finish: 1, 2

After facing some stiff competition in doubles, MTSU used the momentum to their advantage to blank the Owls. Francisco Rocha (122/-) tactfully took down Emir Sendogan 6-0, 6-2 on court two. Meanwhile, Marcel Kamrowski beat Kabeer Kapasi 6-2, 6-4 on court five.

Oskar Brostrom-Poulsen (91/-) showed the pace of his speedy serve more than a few times in a victory over Wes Barnett 6-4, 7-5.

Ondrej Horak maintained his flawless singles record, vanquishing Santiago Navarro by a score of 6-1 in the first and third set. 

Pavel Motl took the first set on court six against Campbell Salmon 6-2, before dropping the next 4-6. Motl was the better of the two in the ten-point tiebreak, winning 10-5.

Stijn Slump (80/-), ranked in the ITA top-125 for the first time this season, triumphed once again, taking down Trinity Grear 77-62, 77-62, in two lengthy sets.

MTSU men’s tennis is gunning for its fourth straight C-USA title this April and its dominant performance this past Friday, helped prove that it is more than capable of it.

Singles order of finish: 2, 5, 3, 4, 6, 1

Following the match on Friday night, the men’s tennis team hopped on a plane to Blacksburg, Virginia, one of MTSU Head Coach Jimmy Borendame’s old stomping grounds. Borendame spent five years with Virginia Tech as an assistant coach from 2005-08, including a season in 2009 as the assistant head coach.

The No. 21 Blue Raiders take down the Hokies 4-0 Sunday afternoon, to improve its record to 8-2 on the season.

Both Blue Raider tennis teams will be back in action locally this weekend. The MTSU women’s team will host Murray State (4-2) at Adams Tennis Complex, this Friday, Feb. 17 at 12:00 p.m. before facing Lipscomb (3-3) in Nashville on Sunday. 

The MTSU men’s team will play host to the Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-2) on Friday at 5:00 p.m. following the women’s match. SMU (6-3) and Austin Peay (1-2) will make the trip to Murfreesboro on Sunday to face one of the hottest teams in college tennis.

Grant Langston is a contributing writer for MTSU Sidelines. 

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