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 Doubles