Siim Tuus and Jorge Azuero
The Liberty men's tennis team participated in the 45th edition of the Southern Intercollegiate Invitational this past weekend and came away with nine wins, including a victory by Siim Tuus over a nationally-ranked opponent.
The oldest fall collegiate tournament in the nation was hosted by the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. and featured some of the nation's top talent from 24 different schools.
Tuus headlined the tournament for Liberty by defeating Andrew Mellow of Furman, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the opening round of the Division I draw on Friday. Mellow entered the tournament as the No. 78 ranked player in the country. Tuus went on to defeat Jesus Bandres of East Tennessee State in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the round of 16, where he fell to Andreas Bjerrehus of Virginia Tech, 6-3, 6-1.
Shea Thomas, participating in the Division II draw, also advanced to the round of 16. In a play-in match, Thomas defeated Alex Christ of Furman, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 and then rolled past Fernando Amon of ETSU in straight-sets, 6-1, 6-1. In the second round, Thomas beat Julien Belair of UNF in a three-set match, 1-6, 7-5, 6-0, before dropping the round of 16 match to David Orces of The Citadel, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
Also picking up wins in singles action for the Flames were Sergio Mourelo and Dillon Segur.
In doubles action, the duo of Jorge Azuero and Tuus nearly pulled off the upset of the No. 1 seeded pair from Georgia Tech, Eduardo Segura and Juan Spir, falling 9-8 (3). Segura and Spir entered the tournament as the No. 10 ranked doubles pair in the nation.
Egon Samaai and Thomas earned the Flames their lone doubles victory of the tournament, defeating Roger Ordeig and Ricardo Pabon of ETSU.
"We are very excited to start the fall with our best showing ever in Athens," commented head coach Chris Johnson. "I think this was a real eye opener to our guys about our potential this year."
The Flames will next compete at the 2012 ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla. beginning Sept. 29.