By (Mike Schwartz)

For the first time in the spring season, the Alabama men’s tennis team stepped out onto the court and got the job done. The squad saw its first day of action of the season against not one, but two separate teams during the doubleheader on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In the opening match of the season, Alabama took on the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers.

With each team having won a doubles match it was up to the showdown on court two to determine who came away with the 1-0 doubles victory. ETSU’s Max Rebol and Eduardo Sanchez found themselves up 5-3 late in the set with victory in their sight but Alexey Nesterov and Edison Ortiz had other plans. The Alabama pair showed real grit and resolve and fought back to tie it up and ultimately win the set 7-6 (7-2) in what was eventually an overall 5-2 victory in favor of the Crimson Tide.

Prior to Alabama Nesteriv and Ortiz’s victory, Mazen Osama and Spencer Richey battled it out with Hugo Moreira and Jake Faundez. Ultimately, Moreira and Faundez would prevail for ETSU 7-5, as the crimson duo could not overcome their unforced errors. After trading off the first four games of the set, Zhe Zhou and Thibault Cancel won four of the next five games and seize the set in favor of Alabama.

Alabama claimed four victories in singles play starting with Spencer Richey defeating Miguel Este 6-4, 7-5. Then No. 78 ranked Cancel took out No. 65 Diego Nunez 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. Ortiz handled Wenceslao Albin with ease and finished him 6-1, 6-4, and Mazen Osama clinched his victory 6-2, 5-7, 1-3 (unfinished). The Buccaneers were able to salvage the afternoon with two wins in singles play by Robert Herrera over Nesterov 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. David Gonzalez defeated Ritchie Kruunenberg of Alabama 6-3, 6-4.

The Crimson Tide kicked off the second leg of the doubleheader against the Samford Bulldogs with doubles play and were able to handle its business. After losing their first doubles match of the season, Osama and Richey prevailed against Samford’s Hugo Moreira and Jake Faundez 6-4. Osama and Richey’s late run led to them winning the last three games of the match and gave Alabama their first doubles victory of the night.

Down on court three, Zhou and Cancel continued their dominance and beat their counterparts effortlessly, 6-1. Justin Ghavami and Curran Verma gave their best efforts but it would be the keen footwork and communication between Alabama’s duo that would lead them to victory. Nesterov and Ortiz would not finish their match against Max Rebol and Eduardo Sanchez due to Alabama clinching the doubles match after the two early victories.

Later in the night, singles play would begin against Samford and that was where the Crimson Tide truly flexed its muscles. Thanks to wins by Osama, Cancel, and Ortiz, the men’s team clinched the victory in singles play fairly quickly.

Osama defeated Ghavami 6-2, 6-4, Cancel took out Faundez 6-1, 6-1 and Ortiz would knock out Verma 6-3, 6-0. Nesterov was leading Sanchez 6-4, 2-0, Richey was up 6-4 on Rebol, 4-4 and Langford Hills was up 7-5, 2-1 on Moreira when Alabama clinched the win.

The team came out big winners after today’s doubleheader and now have begun the year with a 2-0 record. Alabama will return to action on Saturday night at 5 p.m. in Orlando, Florida against the Michigan Wolverines.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports