Heaven and Thomas-Smith Win Their First Singles Matches at ITA Atlantic Regional
Zion Heaven and Deji Thomas-Smith of the Liberty men’s tennis team won their respective matches on day two of the ITA Atlantic Regional, hosted by Virginia, Thursday.
The Flames finished with a 2-1 singles mark collectively and are 3-2 through two days of action at the tournament. No doubles matches have been contested yet. Doubles will begin on Saturday.
Heaven and Thomas Smith’s triumphs came in the Silver singles (qualifying) draw. Both players will need to win two more matches tomorrow to advance to the Gold singles (main) draw.
Key Stats & Notes
• Heaven competed against Temple’s Hussein El Tawil for the second time this year. The Flames senior had faced El Tawil on Sept. 17 at the Penn Invitational, winning that match in straight sets (6-4, 6-2). Today, Heaven topped El Tawil in a three-set result, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 at the Snyder Tennis Courts.
• Heaven, a native of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, improves to 5-1 in singles this fall. He will face Old Dominion’s Brandon Perez in his first match, Friday at 11:15 a.m.
• Thomas-Smith met Ismail Saadi of Penn State in his opening round match today at noon (Virginia Tennis Facility at Boar’s Head Resort). The Liberty junior prevailed in three sets (6-2, 4-6, 6-1). Thomas-Smith (5-3 fall singles mark) will square off with Delaware’s Luis Molina on Friday morning at 9:45 a.m. That match will be held at the Virginia Tennis Facility at Boar’s Head Resort.
• The Flames’ Thando Longwe-Smit suffered his first loss of the fall today. The redshirt junior was edged in three sets (5-7, 6-2, 6-3) by Ryan Morgan of Virginia Tech. Longwe-Smit was the only Liberty player unbeaten in singles (7-0) heading into the day.
• Liberty’s Omar El Kadi competed in pre-qualifying (Bronze draw) yesterday. El Kadi finished 1-1 on the day.
Day three of the ITA Atlantic Regional will commence at 9:45 a.m.
Friday – 9 or 10 a.m. start – Round of 32 and 16 Silver Main Draw Singles, one round of Consolation for first match losers of Silver Draw (played indoors), Rounds of 16 and 8 Silver Doubles, one round of Doubles Consolation for first match losers of Silver Doubles
Saturday – 9 or 10 a.m. start – Round of 32 Gold Singles, Rounds of 32 and 16 Gold Doubles and one round of Doubles Consolation for first match losers of Gold Doubles
Sunday – 9 or 10 a.m. start – Round of 16 and Quarterfinals of Gold Singles, one round of Consolation for first match losers of Gold Draw (played indoors), Quarterfinal and Semifinal Rounds of Gold Doubles
Monday – 9 or 10 a.m. start – Semifinals and Final Rounds of Gold Singles, Final Round of Gold Doubles