CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Junior Alex Chen was the last man standing for Tennessee Tech Saturday afternoon, and his three-set win at No. 1 singles clinched the Golden Eagles first dual match victory of the season, a thrilling 4-3 decision at UT Chattanooga.
After Tech had won the doubles point, the Mocs battled back to win the first three points in singles play for a 3-1 lead. The Golden Eagles got crucial wins at No. 3 and No. 6 by newcomers Vasily Eremeev and Murilo DeOliviera to tie things at 3-3.
That left it up to the two best players on the courts, as Chen and UTC's Roberto Vieira waged a battle. Chen captured the first set in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (10-8) and Vieira took the next, 6-2. Chen broke serve and grabbed a lead, and rode it to a 6-3 win for the match.
Chen improved to 3-1 in his singles matches this spring with the win. With the win, Tech improved to 1-3 while UTC left still seeking its first win with an 0-5 mark.
Chen and Justin Kirstein teamed up to claim an 8-6 win at No. 2 doubles, the first match to finish. Eremeev and DeOliviera also won, claiming an 8-3 decision at No. 3, handing the Golden Eagles the double point.
The lead disappeared quickly as UTC swept to the first three wins in singles action. Jackson Tresnan blanked James Crawford, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 4, and Rick vande Bovenkamp earned a 6-2, 6-2, straight set win over Arturo Santa Ruize at No. 5. Trent Cobb made it a 3-0 Chattanooga lead when he walked off the courrt with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Kirstein at No. 2 singles.
Facing a loss, the Golden Eagles still playing fought their way to wins. First, DeOliviera downed William Disterdick, 7-5, 6-3, at the No. 6 spot, and Eremeev outlasted Chris Smith at No. 3, 6-4, 7-6 (9-7). DeOliviera and Eremeev just joined the squad in January to start the spring semester.
That made it a 3-3 contest, and left it all in Chen's hands.
The Golden Eagles face a pair of road contests next weekend, playing at Georgia State Saturday and Gardner Webb on Sunday.