GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s tennis team suffered a tough 4-3 loss to defending Big South Champion Coastal Carolina Friday night at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center.
The Spartans fall to 0-1 in their first dual match of the season while Coastal Carolina improves to 1-1 with the comeback victory. The grueling first match of the season lasted five hours plus, coming down to the final match at No. 5 singles.
With the match tied 3-3, junior Cameron Smith (Jamestown, N.C./Ragsdale) battled to the very end but fell to freshman Jabor Al-Mutawa in three sets, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4. Smith was able to win the first set tiebreaker, 7-4, but dropped the final two sets in a back-and-forth affair.
In doubles, UNCG took a 1-0 lead against Coastal Carolina after winning two of three doubles matches. At No. 3 doubles, Rick Timmerman and Garik Yedigarian took down freshman Nazhone Wilkins (Burnsville, Minnesota/Home schooled) and senior Jimmy Roueche (Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley), 8-4.
The Spartans fought back to win at No. 1 doubles as sophomore James Dougherty (Melbourne, Australia) and junior Randy Phillips (Snellville, Ga./Brookwood) defeated Leo Christofides and Phillppe Tsangaridis, 8-5.
The Blue and Gold clinched the point after sophomore Daniel Mack (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland) and senior Ahmet Sarioglu (Ankera, Turkey/METU Development Foundation) took down Ted Nisson and Jabor Al-Mutawa, 8-6, at No. 2 doubles.
In singles, Coastal Carolina tied the match at 1-1 when Nisson defeated Mack in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 3 singles. Phillips gave UNCG a 2-1 lead after winning in straights sets against Timmerman, 7-5, 6-1 at No. 4 singles.
The Chanticleers tied the match at 2-2 after Yedigarian defeated Dougherty in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3 at No. 2 singles. Sophomore Gaston Murray (Lake Worth, Fla./Park Vista) won a tight first set tiebreaker 7-6 (7-2) before winning the second set, 6-3, to give the Spartans a 3-2 lead at No. 6 singles.
Coastal Carolina tied the match again at 3-3 when Tsangaridis won a tight three-setter against Sarioglu at No. 1 singles, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
UNCG has a quick turnaround to Raleigh, N.C. to face No. 35 NC State Saturday, Jan. 18 at 10 a.m.
Follow all the action about the 2013-14 UNCG men's tennis team on www.UNCGSpartans.com or on twitter @UNCGMTennis.