CHARLESTON, Ill. – For the first time since the 2002 season, the Tennessee State men’s tennis team won a match versus an Ohio Valley Conference opponent, as the Tigers earned a 4-3 road victory over Eastern Illinois at Darling Courts on Saturday.
For TSU (8-11, 1-5 OVC), it is the program’s first victory over an OVC opponent since a 4-2 victory in the OVC Tournament in the seventh place match versus Austin Peay on April 21, 2002. The last regular season OVC win for TSU came on April 17, 2002 against Austin Peay.
The Tigers dropped the doubles point as the Panthers (3-12, 1-4 OVC) took a 1-0 lead. TSU was able to battle back with victories at No. 1, 3, 4 and 5 singles.
“This was a great win for the guys,” TSU Head Coach Monroe Walker III said. “It’s been over 14 years (since winning an OVC match) and our first time ever beating EIU. We fought hard after losing the doubles point but didn’t give up. I’m happy for the guys that their hard work paid off.”
Daniel Bernal (Bogota, Colombia) improved to 3-2 in OVC matches with a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 1 singles on the day. At No. 3 singles, Jorge Rodriguez (Bogota, Colombia) played his way to a three-set victory, winning by a score of 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-3.
In his No. 4 singles match, Kyle Burton (Madison, Tenn.) also used three sets to pick up a victory, finishing off Rui Silva, 6-0, 4-6, 6-2. For the match-clinching point, Grant Maddox (Greenbrier, Tenn.) defeated Trent Reiman in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 5 singles.
Next up, the Tigers will travel to Murray State on April 9 and Alabama A&M on April 10.
1. SKOLIK, Robert/SILVA, Rui (EIU) def. BERNAL, Daniel/DANIEL, Amir (TSU) 6-3
2. HENDERSON, Ryan/JEVTIC, Ognjen (EIU) vs. MADDOX, Grant/BURTON, Kyle (TSU) 5-3, unfinished
3. REIMAN, Grant/REIMAN, Trent (EIU) def. NAUTIYAL, Shashank/RODRIGUEZ, Jorge (TSU) 6-3
1. BERNAL, Daniel (TSU) def. HENDERSON, Ryan (EIU) 6-1, 6-4
2. SKOLIK, Robert (EIU) def. NAUTIYAL, Shashank (TSU) 6-3, 6-2
3. RODRIGUEZ, Jorge (TSU) def. REIMAN, Grant (EIU) 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-3
4. BURTON, Kyle (TSU) def. SILVA, Rui (EIU) 6-0, 4-6, 6-2
5. MADDOX, Grant (TSU) def. REIMAN, Trent (EIU) 6-3, 6-4
6. JEVTIC, Ognjen (EIU) def. DANIEL, Amir (TSU) 6-2, 6-2