Eremeev lifts Tech past Jax State in semifinals and into Sunday's championship

Vasily Eremeev (photo by Rob Schabert)
Vasily Eremeev (photo by Rob Schabert)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Winning the final point to determine the match is nothing new for Tennessee Tech's Vasily Eremeev. For the second time in two weeks, the sophomore from Russia posted a heart-stopping, three-set victory with the match on the line, this time lifting the Golden Eagles to a 4-3 victory over Jacksonville State in the semifinals of the Ohio Valley Conference men's tennis tournament at Centennial Sportsplex in Nashville.

With the victory, the No. 1 seeded Golden Eagles advance to the tournament's championship match. The Golden Eagles will face No. 3 seed Eastern Kentucky, last year's champion, in the title match beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday.

The Golden Eagles won Saturday the hard way, by capturing all four of their points with singles victories after dropping the doubles point.

Jacksonville State picked up the doubles point as Axel Sundberg and Nenad Marcec defeated Tech's duo of Syrym Abdukhalikov and Alex Chen in the No. 1 spot for the clincher. Earlier, JSU's Igor Santos and Jordan Cowling topped TTU's team of Artem Tarasov and Vasily Eremeev in the No. 2 position.

Tech rebounded in singles play by taking the first set in four of the six matches, which keyed the come-from-behind win. 

JSU won straight set victories in the No. 2 and 3 positions. Santos downed Chen in the No. 2 match, 6-2, 6-0, to give Jax State a 2-1 lead. Cowling pushed the Gamecocks' score to three wins after a 6-4, 6-0 win over Tarasov at No. 3.

Tech senior Justin Kirstein claimed a win over JSU's Felipe Watanabe for the Golden Eagles second point, while in the headline match at No. 1, Abdukhalikov turned back Sundberg to win 6-3, 7-6.  TTU evened the match when OVC co-Freshman of the Year Alejandro Augusto battled back in a three-set contest to defeat Marcec, 6-0, 6-7, 6-1.

With the match knotted at 3-3, it came down to Eremeev at No. 6, and he responded with a victory in a three-set affair.  After splitting the first two sets, Eremeev dispatched of JSU's Felipe Wenzel, 6-1, for the victory.