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Flames Notch Strong Doubles Showings at WFU Fall Invite
An appearance in the A bracket finals by Shea Thomas and Jorge Azuero highlighted play for the Liberty Flames men's tennis team this weekend at the Wake Forest Fall Invite. Thomas and Azuero were one of two Liberty tandems to notch three wins during the tournament, joining Dillon Segur and Stan Vaughan.
Overall, the Flames captured 11 singles wins and eight doubles wins during the course of the three-day event. Liberty was one of 17 schools to compete at the invite, which featured participants from five nationally ranked schools.
Competing in the top doubles flight, Thomas and Azuero opened play by doubling up Wake Forest's Anthony Delcore and Pedro Dumont, 8-4. The Flames' duo then outlasted Josh Levine and Cale Hammond of Duke, 8-7 (4). In the semifinals, Thomas and Azuero faced a stiff challenge from the second-seeded pair of Rafael Aita and Santtu Leskinnen of UNCW. Thomas and Azuero were up to the task, downing the UNCW tandem, 8-6, to advance to the finals. Thomas and Azuero's run came to an end in the title match at the rackets of top-seeded Esben Hess-Olsen and Brett Clark of No. 45 North Carolina, 8-6.
In the B Flight, Segur and Vaughan ousted Joel Cook and Luke Synn of Furman, 8-6, before dropping their lone match of the tournament in the quarterfinals to Wake Forest's Nolan Bauer and Nicky Kunz, 8-2. Segur and Vaughan recovered strongly, collecting a pair of wins against Big Ten opponents Dominic Patrick and Juan Estenssoro of Iowa, 8-7 (5) and Penn State's Christian Lutschaunig and Alex Fennell, 8-6.
Singles play for the Flames was highlighted by a third-place finish in the C2 Flight by Samaai. The sophomore downed Andres Estenssoro of Iowa, 6-2, 6-0, before tallying another straight-set victory against Hans Adrian Riseng of Stetson, 7-6 (5), 6-2. Samaai fell in a tough three-set match in the semifinals to Khalil Naji of South Carolina State, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. The South African native capped his 3-1 tournament appearance with a 6-4, 6-2 defeat of UNCG's Jimmy Roueche.
Also in singles action, Thomas, Llamas, Azuero and Secanell each notched first round wins in their respective flights. Llamas would go on to win a pair of matches for the tournament, while Greve rebounded from a first round loss to capture the consolation title of the D1 bracket.
The Flames will conclude their fall season this weekend with an appearance in the ITA Atlantic Regional tournament in Blacksburg, Va. Action will get under way on Thursday and will conclude on Oct. 22.