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Thomas Shines at UVa Fall Classic
Liberty's Shea Thomas posted a perfect weekend at the UVa Fall Classic, winning a singles championship in the Gold Bracket and capturing the doubles title in the Black Bracket with partner Egon Samaii.
This was the seventh year the Flames have competed in the tournament and this year marked the first time Liberty has recorded a championship in either a doubles or singles flight. Overall, Liberty tallied 17 victories, including 10 singles and seven doubles wins.
"Shea continues to have a great fall with his best tournament finish ever this weekend," commented Liberty head coach Chris Johnson. "It's no surprise that Shea is playing well. He committed the entire summer to training and playing tournaments to develop his game and that investment is certainly paying off."
In singles action on Friday, Thomas and Siim Tuus picked up first round victories for the Flames. Tuus defeated Evan Ward of Morgan State in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. Tuus' second-round matchup with Garik Yedigarian of Coastal Carolina went the way of the Chanticleers' sophomore, 6-2, 6-3.
Thomas rolled past Morgan State's Jannick Tash, 6-0, 6-1. In the second round, Thomas dropped the first set, 4-6, to Chris Young of Penn State. The Flames' junior responded by winning the next two sets, 6-3, 6-2 to claim the win over Young, whose career-best ITF junior ranking is No. 138 in the world. Thomas downed Coastal Carolina's Yusuke Kusuda, 6-4, 6-4, in the semi finals to set up a championship tilt against fourth seeded Jonny Cornish of Virginia. Cornish competed in the Junior Wimbledon Championships in 2011 and has a career best ITF World junior ranking of 80. Thomas topped Cornish in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, to claim the Gold Bracket title.
Thomas and Samaii highlighted the Flames' play in doubles competition, posting a 3-0 record. In the first round, the Liberty duo triumphed over the James Madison pair of Maxi Branth and Bastian Russo, 8-6. Thomas and Samaii then topped Yedigarian and Matias Di Pasquale of Coastal Carolina, 8-5, in the semi finals. Playing for the championship, Thomas and Samaii defeated William and Mary's Ben Hoogland and Adrian Vodislav by an 8-5 final mark.
Liberty's Tuus and Jorge Azuero, competing in the Red Doubles Bracket, tallied wins over Tash and Duk Young Park of Morgan State, 8-4, and Sam Lemberger and Kent Austin of Norfolk State, 8-4. The Flames' tandem was derailed in the championship match, falling to Ben Guthrie and Scott Huang of William and Mary, 8-5.
Liberty continues its fall slate this weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C. at the Wake Forest Invite.