By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
ELON, N.C. – Another event led to another solid showing by the Tennessee Tech tennis team over the weekend, as the Golden Eagles tangled in the east at the Elon Fall Invitational in Elon, N.C.
Five Golden Eagles made the trip with head coach Kenny Doyle, each competing in singles play as well as four of them combining for two teams in double play.
Friday morning got underway with a 9 a.m. CDT match between Oklahoma State transfer Oleksiy Arovin and Daniel Kripak of UNC-Asheville. Kripak took the match with a score of 6-3, 7-5, sending Arovin to the A1 Singles Backdraw. Arovin was forced to withdraw on Saturday with an undisclosed injury.
One of the highlights of the event, Gagan Jain overcame a tough first round loss to make a memorable run. Jain would barely fall in his opening match, being nipped by Nazhone Wilkins of UNC-Greensboro, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. The Nebraska transfer rallied, taking down his next opponent, North Carolina Wesleyan's Ben Tolhurst, 6-2, 7-6 (5). Jain went untouched the rest of the way to the B2 Singles Backdraw championship, collecting a default from his opponent in the semifinals before claiming the title due to an injury withdrawal by James Madison's Mason Smith.
Senior Vasily Eremeev kicked off his tournament with a meeting against Elon's Jordan Kaufman on Friday afternoon. The senior would eventually fall, 6-4, 6-4, and grab a match-up with North Carolina Wesleyan's Johan Ljungdahl. Eremeev pushed it to the limit against the Battling Bishop, but would ultimately be handed his defeat, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-1.
Alberto Esteban performed well in the event, defeating his opening round opponent, Brett Landau of UNC-Asheville, in a lengthy battle, winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. He found himself in another grueling bout in the second round on Saturday, facing Elon's Robert Lindgren. Esteban grabbed his second victory of the tournament, defeating Lindgren 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. The freshman couldn't quite make a third spectacular match happen, eventually retiring with an injury in the semifinals of the A2 Singles Draw.
A third Golden Eagle would struggle with a nagging injury in Elon, as Othon Lima would ultimately retire in his second match of the event. He started with a closely contested loss to North Carolina Wesleyan's Peter Hviid, falling 2-6, 7-6 (7), 6-1. The sophomore would retire before his next match.
Estaban and Eremeev would team up in doubles play, falling to the USC Upstate duo of Simonetti/Tajes, 8-7 (7) and then the Georgia Southern team of Osorio/De Groof, 8-3. They would be forced to withdraw after the second match due to the prior injury to Estaban.
Tech's other doubles duo, Lima/Jain, faced a similar fate, falling in its first contest to Bluefield College's Kitchen/Tugman, 8-4. The team then found themselves on the south side of an 8-2 loss to the Georgia State group of Handa/Gouchnauer. Lima/Jain would also be forced to retire its last match following the injury to Lima.
The Golden Eagles will wrap up their fall season Friday, Nov. 1 as they head to the Winthrop Fall Invitational in Rock Hill, S.C. The event will run through Sunday, Nov. 3 and conclude fall play for the Tech team.