Golden Eagles blank Racers in mid-week OVC match

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Tech tennis team kept its Ohio Valley Conference record perfect at 3-0 and won its fourth consecutive match with a 7-0 victory over Murray State Wednesday afternoon on the Tech campus courts. It was Tech's 11th consecutive victory over the Racers as the Golden Eagles improved to 5-7 overall. MSU slipped to 3-9 overall and 1-2 within the OVC.

Tech swept all three doubles matches, then took five of the six singles events in straight sets. The only contest that went to the limit came at No. 5 singles, where senior Justin Kirstein fought back for a victory after dropping the opening set to Tyler Jeffers. The opening set went to Jeffers, 7-6 in a 7-3 tie-breaker, before Kirstein rebounded to even the match with a 6-2 win in the second. The third set went to Kirstein, 10-6, to complete the afternoon sweep.

Kirstein and Alejandro Augusto -- who was named earlier in the day as the OVC co-Player of the Week -- walked off with a quick 8-3 win at No. 3 doubles, followed by matching 8-5 wins in the other two doubles courts. They defeated Max McLean and Aleks Mitric. At No. 1, Syrym Abdukhalikov and Alex Chen [in photo at right] topped Arthur Valle and Daniel Heibel, and in the No. 2 spot it was Artem Tarasov and Vasily Eremeev teaming up to defeat Joao Berardo and Jeffers.

The day's outcome was determined fairly quickly once singles action got underway, with Tech sweeping straight-set wins in the top three positions to build a 4-0 lead and clinch the victory. Abdukhalikov grabbed a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 1 over Valle, and Chen followed minutes later with an identical, 6-1, 6-1 win over Berardo at No. 2. The clincher came when Augusto took a 6-4, 6-1 victory at No. 3 from Heibel. Eremeev made it a 5-0 lead with a 6-0, 7-6 (7-2) victory at No. 6 over Mitric. The sixth point of the day went to Tarasov at No. 4 singles with a 6-3, 6-2 win over McLean, before Kirstein added the finishing touch.

The Golden Eagles face their next two OVC tests on the road this weekend, beginning Saturday with an 11 a.m. match at Tennessee State. On Sunday, Tech plays at Jacksonville State with first serve slated for 10 a.m.