Golden Eagle tennis team claims 4-3 victory at UNC Asheville

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- The Tennessee Tech men's tennis team earned a down-to-the-wire 4-3 non-conference victory Saturday afternoon over UNC Asheville at the Racquet Club Downtown. Artem Tarasov was the last man standing, clinching a victory at No. 6 singles to break a 3-3 tie and hand coach Keny Doyle's team its second win of the season.

It was the first dual match victory for Tarasov, a freshman from Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Tech improved to 2-7 in dual matches this spring while UNCA saw its record level off at 6-6.

After capturing the doubles point by winning two of the three contests, the Golden Eagles got singles victories from Syrym Abduhkalikov and Justin Kirstein, before Tarasov clinched the match.

First off, Abduhkalikov and Alex Chen teamed up for an 8-5 win at the No. 1 doubles post, and the Golden Eagles claimed the point when Alejandro Augusto and Kirstein secured an 8-3 win at No. 3 doubles.

The Bulldogs won tough victories at Nos. 2, 3 and 4. At No. 2, Chen put up a battle before falling to Matt Waissen, 7-5, 7-6 (4). The No. 3 point went to Jonas Brobeck when Augusto retired with an injury. Thomas Rees came back to win in three sets at No. 4 singles, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, over Vasily Eremeev.

Abduhkalikov dropped the opening set in his No. 1 fight, 2-6, to Adrien Langeard. The Tech junior bounced back to win the second set, 6-3, and the third set went to a tie-break. Abduhkalikov prevailed, 7-6 (4), to make it 3-2.

Trailing in the match, 3-2, Kirstein outlasted Ryan Matthews at the No. 5 singles spot in three sets, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, to give Tech it's third point and tie the match at 3-3.

That set the stage for Tarasov, who was the last man on the courts. He won the first set, 6-4, and clinched a tie-break, 7-6 (6) to win.

The Golden Eagles will open Ohio Valley Conference play with a couple of home matches next weekend. Tech hosts defending champion Eastern Kentucky Saturday (March 24) and Morehead State Sunday (25th), with action starting each day at 12 p.m. on the Tech campus tennis courts. Admission is free.