By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Following a 20-day hiatus from the courts, the Tennessee Tech tennis team is ready to get back in action with a Sunday doubleheader at No. 1 Wake Forest. TTU's matchups with the defending national champions are slated for 12:00 p.m. and 3 p.m. CT from the Wake Forest Tennis Center.
The Golden Eagles (1-2) are coming off a season-opening, three-match road swing in Des Moines, Iowa that saw Tech end on a high note with a 4-0 victory over Illinois State on Jan. 21. TTU's youth reigned supreme in the nod over the Redbirds with singles wins out of sophomores Riku Kubotoa and Gonzalo Garcia, as well as freshman Carlos Vicente. Tech also claimed the doubles point behind victories by the tandem of Vicente and fellow freshman Elias Grubert and the duo of junior Marc Mila and freshman Rafael Tosetto.
The Golden Eagles dropped their first two contests of the season with a 6-1 defeat at Drake and a 5-2 loss against Northern Illinois.
During the lengthy break between matches, Tech took home the top spot in the OVC men's predicted order of finish, announced Jan. 25. TTU also controlled the conference's preseason player top 10 rankings with an OVC-best four Golden Eagles in the mix.
Rafael Tosetto secured the No. 1 preseason rankings, one of three Tech newcomers to find themselves on the list. Junior transfer Fanis Kontopoulos tied for third, while Eilas Grubert tied for 10th in the rankings. Senior Wenceslao Albin, an All-OVC second-teamer from a season ago, rounded out the quartet with a tie for fifth.
A look at Wake Forest
Following the program's first-ever national title with a 31-2 record in 2018, the top-ranked Demon Deacons (6-1) have begun their title defense with a strong beginning through the club's first seven clashes, though most recently dropped their last match with a 5-2 loss at Virginia on Friday.
The club's No. 1, senior Petros Chrysochos, is off to an unblemished 6-0 singles mark, participating primarily in the top spot in the lineup. Sophomore Bar Botzer is an undefeated 3-0 in the No. 2 position, while freshman Melios Efstathiou is 3-0 out of the No. 3 slot to go along with a win in the top spot and a loss as a No. 2 competitor.
Efstathiou and fellow freshman Siddhant Banthia have proven to be the Deacs' top doubles performers with identical 6-1 records in the early stages of the year.
Wake Forest leads the all-times series 2-1. Tech secured the first-ever meeting in 1971, while the Demon Deacons have secured the last two battles with victories in 1986 and 2016.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information