NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State men’s tennis team fought to the very end in a 7-0 loss to Belmont at Hadley Park in Thursday’s season finale that featured a number of close matches.
“The guys battled today,” TSU Head Coach Monroe Walker III said. “Shashank (Nautiyal) and Jorge (Rodriguez) pulled out No. 3 doubles, and we were very close in the other doubles matches. Three singles matches went three sets and could have gone either way. We were right there.”
The Tigers finish the season with a 9-14 overall record including fall matches and a 1-7 Ohio Valley Conference record. TSU fell behind as Belmont (9-9, 5-4 OVC) won the doubles point and ended up winning the six singles matches.
TSU’s No. 3 doubles team of Jorge Rodriguez (Bogota, Colombia) and Shashank Nautiyal (Delhi, India) improved to 8-4 on the year thanks to a 6-4 win over Bruno Russo and Adam Rudowski.
In his final collegiate match, senior Daniel Bernal (Bogota, Colombia) battled in a three-set loss in No. 1 singles. After falling in the first set, Bernal won the second set, 6-3, to force the third. His opponent, Cedric Dujacquier, secured a 6-4 win in the third to take the match. Bernal, who won 22 singles matches during his TSU career, was honored with a Senior Day ceremony prior to Thursday’s match.
“Great career for Daniel,” Walker III commented. “He will leave as the all-time singles leader at TSU. It was a pleasure to see his growth this past year. I look forward to his growth after graduation.”
Nautiyal and Kyle Burton (Madison, Tenn.) also played three-set matches with Nautiyal falling at No. 2 singles and Burton dropping his No. 4 singles match.
“Our core group will be back next year and with new recruits, I’m excited about the future,” Walker III said. “We accomplished a lot of program first this year and won a lot of matches. We have to use this to grow and be better next year. I’m proud of this team, and the work to be better begins now for the guys.”
1. Cedric Dujacquier/Robin Demasse (BEL) def. BERNAL, Daniel/DANIEL, Amir (TSU) 7-5
2. Zak Khan/Stephen Goldman (BEL) def. BURTON, Kyle/MADDOX, Grant (TSU) 6-4
3. RODRIGUEZ, Jorge/NAUTIYAL, Shashank (TSU) def. Bruno Russo/Adam Rudowski (BEL) 6-4
1. Cedric Dujacquier (BEL) def. BERNAL, Daniel (TSU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
2. Robin Demasse (BEL) def. NAUTIYAL, Shashank (TSU) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
3. Zak Khan (BEL) def. RODRIGUEZ, Jorge (TSU) 6-2, 6-3
4. Adam Rudowski (BEL) def. BURTON, Kyle (TSU) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6
5. Stephen Goldman (BEL) def. MADDOX, Grant (TSU) 6-0, 6-0
6. Bruno Russo (BEL) def. DANIEL, Amir (TSU) 6-0, 6-1