Siim Tuus notched his 10th singles win of the year on Friday.
Seeking its first 3-0 start in Big South conference play in program history, the Liberty Flames tennis team traveled to face the Winthrop Eagles on Friday afternoon. The Flames built a 3-2 advantage, but the Eagles captured the final two singles matches of the day to claim the 4-3 victory.
The loss drops Liberty to 9-5 (2-1 Big South) overall, while Winthrop ups its record to 6-10 (2-1 Big South) on the year.
The Flames opened the afternoon with a win in the No. 3 doubles position from Siim Tuus and Guillem Secanell. The Liberty tandem breezed past Michael Chen and Juan Pablo Boada, 8-0.
Winthrop rebounded to win both the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches to claim the first point of the contest. Corey Decandia and Steven Patrick edged Liberty's Dillon Segur and Jorge Azuero, 8-6, before Shea Thomas and Egon Samaai fell to the Eagles' Corey Decandia and Steven Patrick, 8-5.
Winthrop's Yuta Hirokawa pushed the home team's advantage to 2-0, with a 6-2, 6-1 victory against Segur in the No. 3 singles position.
The Flames collected three consecutive wins to pull ahead 3-2. Tuus picked up the first point for Liberty, after defeating Comerford in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1, for his 10th singles win of the season. In the No. 4 position, Azuero improved to 10-1 on the year with a 7-5, 6-3, ousting of Pablo Boada to knot the contest at two apiece. It took Thomas three sets, but the Flames' junior ousted Ivar Aramburu, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, pushing his team-best singles win total to 11.
The Eagles evened the match at three, after Decandia knocked off Stan Vaughan, 7-6, 6-4, in the No. 6 spot. The match came down to the No. 5 tilt between Liberty's Samaai and Winthrop's Nagovnak. Samaai captured the first set handily, 6-1, but Nagovnak outlasted the freshman in the final two frames, 7-6, 7-5.
"Close losses are tough on everyone," said Liberty head coach Chris Johnson. "This would have been a great win for us. We've hit a little rut in the middle of the season and we need to break out of it."
The Flames return to the court tomorrow with a road contest at Gardner-Webb. Match time against the Runnin' Bulldogs is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Winthrop 4, Liberty 3 DOUBLES 1. Comerford/Nagovnak (WU) def. Thomas/Samaai (LU), 8-5 2. Decandia/Patrick (WU) def. Segur/Azuero (LU), 8-6 3. Tuus/Secanell (LU) def. Chen/Pablo Boada, 8-0
SINGLES 1. Tuus (LU) def. Comerford (WU), 7-5, 6-1 2. Thomas (LU) def. Aramburu (WU), 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 3. Hirokawa (WU) def. Segur (LU), 6-2, 6-1 4. Azuero (LU) def. Pablo Boada (WU), 7-5, 6-3 5. Nagovnak (WU) def. Samaai (LU), 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 6. Decandia (WU) def. Vaughan (LU), 7-6, 6-4