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Tuus Leads Liberty at ITA Atlantic Regional
Siim Tuus reached the round of 16 for the second consecutive year, highlighting play for the Liberty men's tennis team, as they concluded a strong weekend of competition at the ITA Atlantic Regional in Charlottesville, Va.
The Flames placed five players directly into the main draw for the first time ever and each of those five players delivered first round wins. Overall, Liberty posted six singles wins for the weekend.
Tuus and Shea Thomas both were seeded, marking the first time a Liberty men's team has had two players seeded in the Regional Tournament.
"I am so proud of the guys," commented Liberty Head Coach Chris Johnson. "They showed up huge at the biggest tournament of the fall."
Egon Samaai, Dillon Segur and Jorge Azuero kicked off the weekend for the Flames with wins in the opening round. Samaai topped Matt Barry of Penn State in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5. Segur battled Old Dominion's Tim Schweig and downed the Monarchs' freshman, 6-3, 7-5. Azuero continued the Flames winning ways by defeating Alexander Drean of UMBC, 7-6, 6-3.
In the round of 64, Samaii lost a hard-fought three-set match to seeded Albert Ochagavia of Old Dominion, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3. Segur fell to the No. 7 seed Harrison Richmond of Virginia, 6-1, 6-3, while Azuero dropped a 7-5, 6-1 decision to No. 15 seed Danil Zelenkov of George Washington.
After receiving first round byes, Thomas and Tuus both picked up straight-set wins in the round of 64. Thomas beat James Madison's Greg Vladimirsky, 7-5, 6-2, while Tuus rolled past Tanner Baine of George Mason, 6-1, 6-1.
Thomas' run was ended by the No. 15 seed Danil Zelenkov of George Washington, 7-5, 6-1. Tuus pulled an upset over the No. 8 seed Tomas Hanzlik of Penn State, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Hanzlik played in both the No. 1 and 2 positions for the Nittany Lions last season. With Tuus' win over Hanzlik, the Flames finished the fall with a perfect 3-0 record against Penn State in singles play. Tuus fell in the round of 16 to the No. 9 seed from Virginia Tech, Andreas Bjerrehus, 6-2, 6-4.
In doubles play, Thomas and Samaai downed Dylan McCloskey and Francis Pare of VCU, 8-4, before falling to the No. 3 seeded duo of Russell Bader and Roman Trkulja of Penn State, 8-4.
"We have purposely played really tough competition this fall and it really paid off this weekend," stated Johnson. "It wasn't just one player, rather all the guys played well and had a great attitude on the court in some very tough situations. I am very excited as we take this momentum into the spring."