Abdukhalikov rallies for final win as Tech tops Morehead State, 4-3

Photo by Matt Schabert, Morehead State Sports Information
Photo by Matt Schabert, Morehead State Sports Information

MOREHEAD, Ky. -- Senior Syrym Abdukhalikov rallied late in his No. 1 singles match to capture a victory, clinching a narrow, 4-3 win for Tennessee Tech Friday at Morehead State in Ohio Valley Conference tennis action.

It was Tech's 11th straight regular season OVC win, and kept the Golden Eagles unbeaten in conference play in 2013 with a 3-0 record. That streak and unblemished mark will face a severe test Saturday when coach Kenny Doyle's team visits Eastern Kentucky for an 11 a.m. contest in Richmond, Ky.

Tech gained an early foothold in dramatic fashion, grabbing the doubles point with overtime wins at the two top spots.

The Golden Eagle duo of Othon Lima and Alvaro Cintas had earned an 8-2 win at No. 3 doubles, but the point didn't get marked for Tech until one of the other tandems could produce a victory and they both went to a ninth point. Abdukhalikov and Alejandro Augusto posted a 9-7 victory over Nick Mercer and Ji Hoon Heo at No. 1, while Vasily Eremeev and Artem Tarasov eeked out a 9-8 win over Kevin Deligny and David Clifford at No. 2.

Up 1-0, Tech learned it needed that point when Morehead State clinched wins at three singles positions.

Giovanni Samaha posted a 6-2, 6-3 win over Cintas at No. 3, Mercer claimed a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Artura Santa at No. 5, and Deligny won a 6-1, 6-3 contest at No. 6 over Lima.

Tech countered with a 6-0, 6-0 win by Augusto at No. 2 over Nathan Martin, and a 6-3, 6-4 triumph at No. 4 by Eremeev over Clifford.

That left the match hinging on the outsome at the No. 1 spot, where Abdukhalikov surrendered a 6-2 loss in the first set to Heo. Tech's senior leader fought back for a 7-6 (7-5) win in the second set to level the playing field, then cruised to a 6-3 win in the third set to win the day's action.

Tennessee Tech 4, Morehead State 3
Mar 29, 2013 at Morehead, Ky. (Sadler Courts)

Singles competition
1. Syrym Abdukhalikov (TTU) def. HEO, Ji Hoon (MOR) 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
2. Alejandro Augusto (TTU) def. MARTIN, Nathan (MOR) 6-0, 6-0
3. SAMAHA, Giovanni (MOR) def. Alvaro Cintas (TTU) 6-2, 6-3
4. Vasily Eremeev (TTU) def. David Clifford (MOR) 6-3, 6-4
5. MERCER, Nick (MOR) def. Arturo Santa Ruiz (TTU) 6-2, 6-4
6. Kevin Deligny (MOR) def. Othon Lima (TTU) 6-1, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. Syrym Abdukhalikov/Alejandro Augusto (TTU) def. HEO, Ji Hoon/MERCER, Nick (MOR) 9-7
2. Vasily Eremeev/Artem Tarasov (TTU) def. Kevin Deligny/David Clifford (MOR) 9-8
3. Othon Lima/Alvaro Cintas (TTU) def. ALMONTE, Hugo/MARTIN, Nathan (MOR) 8-2
Match Notes
Tennessee Tech 3-9/3-0 OVC
Morehead State 6-9/2-2 OVC