Golden Eagle tennis team kicks off fall season at UT Tournament

Photo: Alex Chen is one of three seniors in the Golden Eagle roster

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- For Kenny Doyle and his Golden Eagle tennis team, the waiting is almost over -- especially for Syrym Abduhkailikov. Tennessee Tech kicks off the fall portion of the 2011-2012 schedule this weekend at the UT Fall Invitational in Knoxville, and Abduhkailikov embarks on his Golden Eagle career after waiting a full year.

Doyle will take six players to compete in the three-day tournament, with play slated for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Barksdale Tennis Stadium. Tech's lineup will include four returnees plus the debut of two newcomers.

Three seniors will headline the lineup -- Alex Chen from Samarkand, Uzbekistan, James Crawford from Winchester, England, and Justin Kirstein from Johannesburg, South Africa. Sophomore Vasily Eremeev, who joined the team last January and played through the spring season, is the fourth returnee in this weekend's lineup. He hails from Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

Abdukhailikov is one of two Golden Eagles making his much anticipatd debut this season, along with freshman Ezequiel Gils. Abduhkailikov came to Tech in January from the University of Oklahoma, but has been sitting out one full season because of his previous Davis Cup experience. The 6-foot-3 sophomore from Kazakhstan, he has 13 years of national and international experience, capturing numerous titles in Greece, Georgia and Pakistan. He was ranked in the ITF U18 Top 70, and held world rankings of 548 on the ATP singles charts and 460 in doubles.

Draw sheets will be released Thursday by Tennessee, and results will be posted on the UT Vols website. Tech's success will be documented daily on TTUsports.com as well as announced on Twitter by following @TTUGoldenEagles.