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Flames Win 10 Singles Matches on First Day of ITA Atlantic Regional

October 17, 2019  Charlottesville, Va.  RSS
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Ferreira won two matches on day one of the ITA Atlantic Regional, Thursday.

Ferreira won two matches on day one of the ITA Atlantic Regional, Thursday.

The Liberty Flames men's tennis team put together an impressive first day at the 2019 ITA Atlantic Regional at Virginia on Thursday, winning 10 total singles matches.

The five-day regional features all teams from the Atlantic Region and is being held at the Snyder Courts, Dell Courts, and Boar's Head Sports Club in Charlottesville.

The Flames posted a 10-4 mark on the opening day of competition, which featured the singles rounds of 256 and 128. Liberty's Ian Sturgill, Deji Thomas-Smith, Goncalo Ferreira and Chase Burton each won two singles bouts. Those five players will join Nicaise Muamba (No. 1 seed) as the six players representing Liberty in the round of 64 on Friday. Muamba received a double bye and will meet Georgetown's Connor Lee, tomorrow in the third round.


"Today was a great start for us as a team. The guys are competing and controlling what they can control on the court, and that's what it's all about," said Flames assistant coach Trevor Foshey. "We're focusing on getting better one day at a time, and today each guy got better. Tomorrow is another day for us to improve, so I can't wait to get back at it."

On the top half of the singles main draw, Sturgill, Thomas-Smith and Ferreira each claimed two singles contests on Thursday. Sturgill won his first round match in the morning in three sets (6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1) over Navy's Romesh Kahatapitiya. In his afternoon bout, he was victorious in straight sets (7-6 (6), 7-5) over Mark Amaefule of Morgan State. The Liberty sophomore, who leads the squad with nine fall victories, will meet Old Dominion's Younes Lalami in tomorrow's singles round of 64.

Thomas-Smith took down Georgetown's Luke Ross 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 in his opening match, followed by a 7-6 (9), 6-1 decision over his counterpart, Matthew Lee of Navy. The Flames freshman has now won five of his last six singles bouts, dating back to last weekend's River City Tennis Open. Thomas-Smith, who hails from London, United Kingdom, is slated to face ODU's Tomislav Podvinski in a third round match, Friday.

Ferreira cruised past Radford's Will Crane in two sets (6-2, 6-0) in the opening round. The Liberty freshman followed up that performance with another dominating 6-0, 6-3 effort over Longwood's Rosen Naydenov to advance to the round of 64. The Barcelos, Portugal, native will square off with Navy's Andrew Ton, Friday.

In the bottom half of the draw, Liberty senior Chase Burton claimed two matches. The Naples, Fla., native bested George Mason's Erick Rivas in the opening round by a 6-3, 6-2 score. After dropping the first set to Navy's Jack Dabek in his afternoon match, Burton came back to defeat Dabek 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. The senior will meet host Virginia's Gianni Ross, the No. 2 seed and No. 111-ranked player in the nation, in Friday's round of 64.

Flames sophomore William Barker went 1-1 on day one of the event. The Statesville, N.C., native topped George Washington's Henyu Liu 6-0, 6-1 in the first round. In the second round, George Mason's Jakob Nielsen edged Barker in three sets (7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-0).

Liberty sophomore Steve Mundt also posted a 1-1 mark on Thursday. Mundt dropped his opening match to Longwood's Guilherme Sergio (6-2, 6-4) but bounced back with a win over Virginia Tech's Ryan Bernstine (6-2, 6-4) in the consolation draw.  

The second day of the ITA Atlantic Regional (Friday) will feature the singles round of 64 as well as doubles rounds of 64 and 32. The Flames' four doubles units are: Muamba/Thomas-Smith (No. 6 seed), Wilson/Ferreira, Mundt/Burton and Sturgill/Joseph Emerson.

Remaining Schedule
Friday, 9 a.m. start: Singles Round of 64 and singles consolation for second match losers, Doubles Rounds of 64 and 32
Saturday, 9 a.m. start: Singles Rounds of 32 and 16, Doubles Round of 16
Sunday, 9 a.m. start: Singles Quarterfinals: Doubles Quarterfinals and Semifinals
Monday, 9 a.m. start Singles Semifinals and Finals, Doubles Finals