Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's tennis team concluded its regular season on Saturday afternoon by winning the doubles point and five singles matches to earn a 6-1 victory over the NJIT Highlanders at the USC Upstate Tennis Complex.
Upstate improves to 6-15 overall and 2-4 in the conference, while NJIT falls to 7-14 on the season and 1-5 in league play.
"We had to have our best effort of the year in order to make the tournament and the guys responded in a big way," said assistant coach Tim McLane. "The doubles were tight but we trusted our games and pulled it out. Then to come out and take five first sets was a big boost and we were able to finish off four in straight sets. Overall, we played our most complete match of the year when our backs were against the wall, and now we are heading into the ASUN Tournament with some good momentum and playing some high-level tennis."
The Spartans won two of the three doubles matches over the Highlanders at No. 1 and No. 2 to take a 1-0 lead heading into singles play. The No. 1 doubles combination of Fernando Bernardes and Ignacio Garrido got things started for Upstate with a 6-1 win over Jan Cimrman and Aleksa Petrovic. Following an NJIT win at No. 3, the Spartans secured the doubles point in the No. 2 match as Felix Ewers and Lenhard Haupt topped Richard Rangga and Pablo Arrutia 7-5.
Upstate continued to roll in singles play, winning five of the six matches, with four coming in straight sets. Ankush Arora dropped just four games in a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 3 singles over Lukas Zvikas, while Francisco Neto was equally impressive with a 7-5, 6-1 victory against Arrutia in the No. 6 match.
Haupt secured the win with a straight set victory at No. 2 singles, defeating Cimrman 7-6(4), 6-3. Ewers followed with a 7-6(2), 6-1 triumph over Petrovic at No. 1. Garrido's No. 5 singles match against Rangga went three sets with the junior holding on for the 7-6, 4-6, 11-9 victory.
The Spartans have earned the fifth seed in next week's ASUN Men's Tennis Championships and will face No. 4 seed, and tournament host, Florida Gulf Coast on Friday, April 21 at 5 p.m. from the FGCU Tennis Complex.
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Tennis Match Results
1. Felix Ewers (UPST) def. Aleksa Petrovic (NJIT) 7-6 (2-0), 6-1
2. Lenhard Haupt (UPST) def. Jan Cimrman (NJIT) 7-6 (4-0), 6-3
3. Ankush Arora (UPST) def. Lukas Zvikas (NJIT) 6-1, 6-3
4. Zac Castagna (NJIT) def. Fernando Bernardes (UPST) 7-6 (4-0), 6-4
5. Ignacio Garrido (UPST) def. Richard Rangga (NJIT) 7-6, 4-6, 11-9
6. Francisco Neto (UPST) def. Pablo Arrutia (NJIT) 7-5, 6-1
1. Fernando Bernardes/Ignacio Garrido (UPST) def. Jan Cimrman/Aleksa Petrovic (NJIT) 6-1
2. Felix Ewers/Lenhard Haupt (UPST) def. Richard Rangga/Pablo Arrutia (NJIT) 7-5
3. Zac Castagna/Lukas Zvikas (NJIT) def. Ankush Arora/Francisco Neto (UPST) 6-4
NJIT 7-14, 1-5 ASUN
USC Upstate 6-15, 2-4 ASUN
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (3,6,2,1,4,5)