The Liberty men's tennis squad finished a busy Friday at the Sports Racket with a 2-0 record after defeating Bluefield State, 6-1, extending the Flames' record to 4-1 on the young campaign. Liberty now improves to 7-0 all-time in program history against the Blues.
The Flames were able to get on the board first in doubles play with a clean sweep of Bluefield State. Dillon Segur and Egon Samaai quickly dispatched Aziz Yuldashev and Platon Gud, 6-3, from the No. 1 doubles spot. Liberty's duo of Sam Matheson and David Bush clinched the doubles point for the Flames, winning 6-3 at No. 2 over Jacob Carey and Ignacio Pulido. Diego Castano and Jason Burgess provided the clean sweep for the red and blue, notching a 6-4 victory over Anthony Braem and Conner Pickering.
With the 1-0 lead, Samaai provided some breathing room for Liberty by corralling a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Yuldashev from the No. 3 hole.
Castano built upon his team-leading wins total, notching his fourth victory on the season today against Gud. With the first set in Castano's belt, Gud was unable to finish, giving the Statesville, N.C., native the win by retirement.
Segur provided his second match winner of the evening from the No. 1 slot, coming from behind to win in three sets. After falling 6-3 in the first set, the senior co-captain battled Carey in a rigorous second set, winning the set in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (8-6). Segur clearly wore his competitor out, as he then won with ease in the third set, 6-2.
With the match in hand, the Flames took two of the remaining three matches to seal the 6-1 victory over Bluefield State. Burgess bested Pickering 6-3, 6-2 while fellow David Bush handled Pulido in three sets, 4-6, 6-0, 10-7.
The Blues' lone win came from the No. 2 spot when Braem, the No. 1 player in Division II's Atlantic Region, went head to head against Matheson. Matheson fell in the first set 6-3 but answered by winning the second set 6-3. It only seemed fitting for the third set to come down to a tiebreaker, as Braem ousted Matheson 7-6, (7-5).
"Dillon Segur really set the tone for our team today as he came from behind to win in three sets and clinch the victory over Bluefield State," commented Liberty assistant coach Rich Benson. "Coach Johnson and I are really pleased with our team's fight as we had our team play another doubleheader on the same day. We are trying to prepare them for the physical challenges of winning a three-day Big South Tournament. We are looking forward to getting outside and playing some tough competition in Miami next week."
Liberty returns to action on Thursday when they travel to Miami, Fla., to play in a three-day tournament beginning with Florida Atlantic.
Liberty 6, Bluefield State 1