Flames Open Home Slate With 5-2 Victory Over Elon, Monday
The Flames men's tennis team erased an early two-point deficit and prevailed 5-2 over visiting Elon in its home opener, Monday at Crosswhite Athletic Club.
Liberty dropped the doubles point and fell into a 2-0 hole after losing the No. 3 singles match, but all five remaining Flames singles players delivered victories. Liberty's Nicaise Muamba (No. 1), Josh Wilson (No. 2), Rafael Marques Da Silva (No. 4), Christiaan Worst (No. 5) and Deji Thomas-Smith (No. 6) each picked up wins to secure the team victory.
Liberty improves to 1-1 on the young season and has now defeated Elon in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. The Flames have now won three straight home openers. The Phoenix fall to 0-1 after dropping their third straight season opener.
Liberty 5, Elon 2
1. Nicaise Muamba (LIBERTYM) def. Nicholas Condos (ELON) 6-3, 6-3
2. Josh Wilson (LIBERTYM) def. Akram El Sallaly (ELON) 6-3, 6-4
3. Kyle Frankel (ELON) def. Goncalo Ferreira (LIBERTYM) 6-2, 6-2
4. R. Marques Da Silva (LIBERTYM) def. Camilo Ponce (ELON) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
5. Christiaan Worst (LIBERTYM) def. Chung-Han Tsai (ELON) 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-4)
6. Deji Thomas-Smith (LIBERTYM) def. Jacob Bicknell (ELON) 6-0, 6-2
1. Akram El Sallaly/Chung-Han Tsai (ELON) def. Josh Wilson/Goncalo Ferreira (LIBERTYM) 6-4
2. Kyle Frankel/Nicholas Condos (ELON) def. Christiaan Worst/Deji Thomas-Smith (LIBERTYM) 7-6 (7-1)
3. Nicaise Muamba/Thando Longwe-Smit (LIBERTYM) def. Sam Dively/Camilo Ponce (ELON) 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (3,2,1,5,4,6)
Official: J Conley/M Mayrosh T-3:43
How It Happened
• The Phoenix won the doubles point to stake claim to an early 1-0 lead. It came down to a tiebreaker on court two, with Elon's Kyle Frankel and Nicholas Condos besting the Flames' Worst and Thomas-Smith 7-6 (1). Frankel and Condos won a deuce point when trailing 6-5 to even it at 6-all and force the tiebreaker.
• Elon's top pairing, Akram El Sallaly and Chung-Han Tsai, got past the Flames' Wilson and Goncalo Ferreira 6-4. Liberty's Nicaise Muamba and Thando Longwe-Smit picked up their first win as a duo in the No. 3 slot, a 6-3 decision over Sam Dively and Camilo Ponce of the Phoenix.
• The Phoenix went up 2-0 following a 6-2, 6-2 decision from Frankel over Ferreira on court three.
• The Flames' Wilson (No. 2 singles) took the first set from El Sallaly by a 6-3 count but trailed 3-0 in the second. The Liberty sophomore battled back to win the match, taking six of the final seven games for a 6-3, 6-4 triumph. One court over, Muamba (No. 1 singles) led for most of his match with Condos on the way to a two-set win (6-3, 6-3).
• With Muamba's win evening the match at 2-all, Liberty's Christiaan Worst needed two lengthy sets to secure his first victory as a Flame. The sophomore topped Tsai on court five, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (4).
• Leading 3-2, Liberty needed a victory in either the No. 4 or No. 6 singles contest to claim the match. Marques Da Silva, playing his second straight three-set match, upended Ponce 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 for the match-clinching fourth point on court four and a 4-2 Flames advantage.
• Thomas-Smith of the Flames closed out the evening and settled the final score at 5-2 with a convincing 6-0, 6-2 win versus Elon senior Jacob Bicknell.
• Monday's home match marked the Flames' first at home in 317 days. Liberty is 16-2 at home over the last four seasons under head coach Derek Schwandt. It was also the Flames' first dual match win since March 7, 2020 (7-0 victory over Bellarmine), also a span of 317 days.
• Liberty will head to Charlotte, N.C., for a match against the Charlotte 49ers (1-0) on Saturday afternoon. First serve is pegged for 1 p.m. at Lifetime Fitness.
• The Flames and 49ers will be meeting for the first time since 2013. Charlotte defeated Liberty 6-1 in that match.