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Flames Fall in Season Opener

January 30, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Liberty men's tennis squad opened the season with a hard-fought 4-3 loss against Eastern Kentucky on Saturday at the Sports Racket. With the loss, Liberty falls to 0-1 while the Colonels improve to 1-5.

The Colonels captured the doubles point, winning from the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles slots, 6-2, 6-4. The No. 1 doubles match between the doubles teams of Egon Samaai/Eddie Gutierrez vs. Alex Alvaro/Ramon van Flymen remained unfinished with the score tied at 5-5.

The Flames came out of the gate firing in singles play, notching the first three wins. Sam Matheson downed Alvaro in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3 to even the match at one apiece.

Samaai provided Liberty with a 2-1 advantage from the No. 2 singles position. After defeating Sebastian Mueller 7-5 in the first set, the South African fell in the second, 6-1. Samaai and Mueller battled back-and-forth in the third set with neither opponent taking a two-game advantage. After tying the set at 6-6, Samaai took care of Mueller with a 7-4 victory in the tiebreak to win the set 7-6.

Sophomore Diego Castano gave the Flames some breathing room from the No. 3 singles position, winning a three-set match of his own. Castano escaped van Flymen in the first set, winning 6-4. However the North Carolina native stumbled in the second set, dropping a 6-3 decision. Castano regained momentum early on in the third set and never looked back, besting van Flymen by a score of 6-2 in the third set to give Liberty the 3-1 lead.

Eastern Kentucky rallied from the No. 4 and No. 5 singles slots to tie the contest at three apiece, setting up a dramatic finish. Diogo Soares bested Gutierrez in the third three-set match of the contest, 6-2, 6-7, 6-2. Guillem Sanchis defeated Alex Poynter in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3 to provide the equalizer for the Colonels.

The Colonels clinched the match from the No. 6 singles slot with Florian Graskamp besting Jason Burgess in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0 and claiming the 4-3 victory.

The Flames return to action at 6 p.m. this afternoon when they take on King University, looking to notch an opening-day victory.

Eastern Kentucky 4, Liberty 3

  1. Samaai/Gutierrez (LU) vs. Alvaro/van Flymer (EKU), 5-5 uf
  2. Mueller/Asis (EKU) def. Matheson/Poynter (LU), 6-2
  3. Soares/Patwardhan (EKU) def. Castano/Bush (LU), 6-4


  1. Matheson (LU) def. Alvara (EKU), 6-1, 6-3
  2. Samaai (LU) def. Mueller (EKU), 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(4)
  3. Castano (LU) def. van Flymen (EKU), 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
  4. Soares (EKU) def. Gutierrez (LU), 6-2, 6-7(5-7), 6-2
  5. Sanchis (EKU) def. Poynter (LU), 6-1, 6-3
  6. Graskamp (EKU) def. Burgess (LU), 6-4, 6-0