The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s tennis team posted a 4-2 win over Tennessee Tech at the Hixson Racquet Club Saturday. The Mocs evened their record at 1-1 while the Golden Eagles dropped to 0-2.
Chattanooga lost the doubles point, but stormed back with wins in four of five singles matches. TTU is the two-time defending Ohio Valley Regular Season Champions, but Chattanooga has taken the non-conference matchup in each of the last three seasons.
“It was good to see us battle today,” stated head coach Carlos Garcia. “The doubles point was very close, but we bounced back and came out strong in singles. We got challenged again at the end, but were able to come out on top with a very big win.”
Teams used experimental rules for this non-league match. Adjustments included no ad-scoring, doubles matches to six, and all tiebreakers at 5-all instead of 6-all. Coaches can also end remaining doubles and singles matches once the point or dual is decided.
All three doubles were tightly contested. Each one stood a 5-4 with the Mocs leading at No. 1. Senior Jorge Varon and sophomore John Peacey closed out their win, but UTC dropped to other two to fall behind 1-0.
Chattanooga opened singles with five first-set wins. Junior Pavels Grigorjevs, the only top-6 returner from last season, was down 4-2 in his opening frame against Vasily Eremeev. He came back to tie the set at 5-5 and won the ensuing tiebreaker 7-4.
Peacey was first off the court with a (6-2, 6-2) win over Alvaro Cintas at No. 6. Grigorjevs gave the Mocs the 2-1 lead when he finished off Eremeev (6-5 (4), 6-2) at No. 2.
TTU was able to tie the team score at 2-2 with a win at No. 1. Oleksiy Arovin posted a (6-2, 6-3) win over Varon in the top spot.
Sophomore Gino Delavalle responded with a (6-2, 6-4) win over Gagan Jain at No. 4. With two matches left, Chattanooga needed one to close out the team victory. Things were looking good for UTC, up a set in both and on-serve in the second set in each match.
Freshman Derrick Brown eventually gave up a break to Artem Tarasov at No. 5 and moved on to a third set. Sophomore Luke Saunders went up 4-2, and led 5-4, before Alberto Esteban forced a tiebreaker. Saunders got ahead 4-2 in the extra frame, but Esteban railed to take a 5-4 lead. Fortunately for the Mocs, Saunders won the next three points and gave Chattanooga the win.
UTC hits the road next weekend for visits to Memphis and Austin Peay. The next home match is a Feb. 7 contest with Belmont at the Hixson Racquet Club at 5:00 p.m.
Chattanooga 4, Tennessee Tech 2
1. John Peacey/Jorge Varon (UTC) def. Oleksiy Arovin/Alberto Esteban (TTU) - 6-4
2. Vasily Eremeev/Artem Tarasov (TTU) def. Pavels Grigorjevs/Luke Saunders (UTC) - 6-4
3. Gagan Jain/Gonzalo Munoz (TTU) def. Austin Boaz/Gino Delavalle (UTC) - 6-4
1. Oleksiy Arovin (TTU) def. Jorge Varon (UTC) - 6-2, 6-3
2. Pavels Grigorjevs (UTC) def. Vasily Eremeev (TTU) - 6-5 (7-4), 6-2
3. Luke Saunders (UTC) def. Alberto Esteban (TTU) - 6-3, 6-5 (7-5)
4. Gino Delavalle (UTC) def. Gagan Jain (TTU) - 6-2, 6-4
5. Derrick Brown (UTC) vs. Artem Tarasov (TTU) - 6-5, 3-6, 1-4, unfinished
6. John Peacey (UTC) def. Alvaro Cintas (TTU) - 6-2, 6-2