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Liberty Drops First Match of Season at FGCU, Friday

February 19, 2021  Fort Myers, Fla.  RSS
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Lovato stayed unbeaten in singles (6-0) with a win at FGCU on Friday.

Lovato stayed unbeaten in singles (6-0) with a win at FGCU on Friday.

Host FGCU handed Liberty its first loss of the 2021 season, a 5-2 final at the FGCU Tennis Complex on Friday.

The Lady Flames drop to 6-1 on the year after the setback. Prior to Friday, Liberty had won nine consecutive matches dating back to a shortened 2020 season. FGCU (1-2) picks up its first victory of 2021 and is now 3-0 all-time against Liberty. Despite both teams being ASUN Conference members, Friday's match was a non-conference match due the league being split into two divisions for the 2021 season.

Friday's match lasted four-and-a-half hours and featured a trio of three-set singles contests, all won by FGCU. The Eagles claimed the doubles point as well in the contest. Liberty's victories came from Esther Lovato (No. 4 singles) and Marina Davtyan (No. 3 singles).

Thoughts From Head Coach Jeff Maren
"After four months of indoor tennis, we had our first taste outdoors. We learned today that we have a lot of growth ahead of us! And I want to compliment FGCU for playing tough tennis and setting a bar for us to climb to. We will use this match as an opportunity to get better and also to prepare us for our next match."

FGCU 5, Liberty 2

Singles Competition
1. ORNBERG, Maja (FGCU) def. Alexandra Almborg (LIBERTYW) 6-2, 6-4
2. BARDET, Emma (FGCU) def. Tiffany Nguyen (LIBERTYW) 6-7, 6-2, 7-5
3. Marina Davtyan (LIBERTYW) def. PEREZ, Sofia (FGCU) 6-3, 6-3
4. Esther Lovato (LIBERTYW) def. NORIN, Fanny (FGCU) 6-4, 6-3
5. RETORTILLO, Alba (FGCU) def. Grace Hashiguchi (LIBERTYW) 7-5, 4-6, 6-2
6. FERDING, Ida (FGCU) def. Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) 2-6, 6-0, 6-3

Doubles Competition
1. ORNBERG, Maja/BARDET, Emma (FGCU) def. Alexandra Almborg/Eloise Saraty (LIBERTYW) 7-5
2. Tiffany Nguyen/Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) def. PEREZ, Sofia/NORIN, Fanny (FGCU) 6-2
3. RAMALLE, Lourdes/RETORTILLO, Alba (FGCU) def. Grace Hashiguchi/Marina Davtyan (LIBERTYW) 6-3

Liberty 6-1
FGCU 1-2
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,4,3,6,2,5)

How It Happened
• Liberty lost the doubles point for the first time this season, falling on courts three and one. The Lady Flames' one win in doubles came from Tiffany Nguyen and Micaela Ode Mitre in the No. 2 match. The duo stayed unbeaten (7-0) in 2021 with its 6-2 triumph over the Eagles' Sofia Perez and Fanny Norin. Nguyen and Ode Mitre's victory was the 20th as a pairing during their Liberty careers.
• FGCU's No. 3 doubles team, Lourdes Ramalle and Alba Retortillo, handed Grace Hashiguchi and Marina Davtyan their first loss of the year by a 6-3 score.
• The doubles point came down to the No. 1 doubles contest between Liberty's Alexandra Almborg and Eloise Saraty and FGCU's Maja Ornberg and Emma Bardet. The FGCU duo trailed 5-4 but fought back to win 7-5 for an early 1-0 advantage for the hosts.
• The Eagles' top singles player, Ornberg, gave FGCU a two-point cushion (2-0) when she won in straight sets (6-2, 6-4) against Almborg.
• Liberty's No. 4 singles player, Lovato, bolstered her singles record to 6-0 with a 6-4, 6-3 decision over Norin. Lovato's win gave the Lady Flames their first point of the day and made it 2-1.
• Liberty's Davtyan evened the match at 2-all with a two-set (6-3, 6-3) triumph versus Perez on court three. Davtyan is 6-1 in singles in her first season with the Lady Flames.
• The final three matches all needed three sets to determine a winner. Ida Ferding of the Eagles overcame a first-set loss to Ode Mitre at No. 6 singles to win 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 and bring FGCU within a point of victory (3-2).
• FGCU's Bardet also fell in her opening set to Nguyen (No. 2 singles) but bounced back for a 6-7, 6-2, 7-5 come-from-behind win for the Eagles' match-clinching fourth point.
• Liberty's Hashiguchi and Retortillo (No. 5 singles) split the first two sets before Retortillo claimed the third set 6-2 and the match, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2. FGCU took four of the six singles matches.
• Prior to Friday's setback, the Lady Flames' last loss was against No. 39 Furman by a 4-3 score on Feb. 22, 2020.

Next Up
• Liberty will head to Tampa, Fla., for a showdown against the South Florida Bulls (2-5). Match time is set for Noon on Sunday at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts. 
• USF topped Liberty 7-0 in the only previous meeting on March 14, 2017.