KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Unbeaten Vasily Eremeev (in photo)
will play Saturday in the semifinals of the Volunteer Singles
Flight after winning both of his matches on the opening day of the
UT Invitational Friday. In addition to going 2-0 in singles action,
he also teamed wit James Crawford to claim a win in doubles play as
the pair was one of two Tech pairs to advance to the semifinals of
their doubles flights. Alex Chen and Syrym Abduhkailikov also
earned an opening-day win to reach semifinal action on
In all, Tech players captured eight wins during play Friday, including six in singles contests and two in doubles.
Chen, a senior, opened with a 6-1, 6-3 loss to Brandon Fickey of Tennessee, but bounced back to earned a 6-0, 6-1 win over Eastern Kentucky's Nik Shroeder in the consolation draw. A bye propelled Chen into the quarterfinals of the Orange Singles Flight, where he is slated to face Daniel Kreyman of Wake Forest Saturday at 9 a.m. CT.
Abduhkailikov had the exact same results in the same flight, losing to EKU's Hugo Klientovsky, 6-1, 6-7, 6-3 in the first singles match of his college career. The transfer from Oklahoma who was required to sit out one full year due to his participation in Davis Cup play, returned to take a win from Oliver Strecker of Liberty, 4-2 (retired). A bye in the next round has Abduhkailikov facing Adam Lee of Wake Forest at 9 a.m. in the lower half of the consolation quarterfinals. If both Chen and Abduhkailikov can post two wins Saturday, they could meet in the consolation championship on Sunday.
Justin Kirstein earned the team's first win of the year, opening play with an early-morning 6-2, 7-6 win over Nicky Kunz of Davidson. His run in the White Singles Flight ended with a 6-2, 7-6 (4) loss to Xavier's Richard Canales Friday afternoon.
In the lower half of the flight, newcomer Ezequiel Gils was handed a 6-2, 6-1 loss to Tanner Brown of Lipscomb. With that loss, Gils moved to the consolation draw, where he lost to Conner Sherwood of Wake Forest, 6-2, 6-3.
In the Volunteer Singles Flight, Eremeev rolled to a 6-2, 6-3
win over Michael Moe of Xavier. He also won in straight set over
Luka Stanic of Winthrop, 6-2, 6-2, to reach the semifinals.
Crawford put up a good fight in the same flight before falling in three sets to Matti Bourbon of Wright State, 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-7 (2). In the consolation draw, Crawford downed Winthrop's Chase Altieri, 6-2, 6-4. That sets up a morning match against Phil Diaz of Xavier in the consolation semifinals.
Gils and Kirstein were sent to the consolation round of the Orange Doubles Flight with an 8-5 loss to UT Chattanooga duo of Pavels Grigorievs and Michael Barroetavena. The Tech twosome is slated for an 8 a.m. consolation match against Robin Asker and Rogerio Ribeiro of East Tennessee State.
Two other Tech doubles teams advanced in their doubles flights and will play Saturday in the semifinals. In the Barksdale Flight, Eremeev and Crawford received a bye into the semifinals and will meet Jordan Faith and Orlando Laorenco of UT Chattanooga early Saturday morning. In the Goodfriend Doubles Flight, Chen and Abduhkailikov posted an 8-4 victory over Strecker and Stuart Tierney of Liberty. They face an early Saturday contest against Peter Nagovnak and Taylor Patrick of Tennessee.