By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Tennessee Tech tennis team felt the challenges of facing another nationally ranked foe, as the Golden Eagles were upended 7-0 by No. 7 Wake Forest in Saturday night's get-together in Winston-Salem.
Having already faced No. 21 Mississippi State, the defending SEC Tournament champion, in back-to-back affairs to unwrap the 2020 campaign, Tech's third "Power 5" opponent featured a meeting with the defending national runner-up and ACC Tournament champion. The Golden Eagles (0-3) were unable to secure a point in Saturday's clash, but sophomore Rafael Tosetto nearly pulled off the upset in the No. 1 singles battle.
Having to contend with nationally ranked Bar Botzer, the No. 43rd-ranked player in the country, Tosetto bounced back after a tough start in the top singles matchup. The Tech sophomore was tripped up with a 6-1 loss in the initial set, but displayed resiliency en route to a second set 7-6 (7-5) victory to even the tilt at 1-1. Instead of a traditional final set, the two played one last lengthy game that was ultimately captured by Botzer with a slim 15-13 victory.
The meeting with Botzer was one of three get-togethers against nationally ranked foes during singles action for the Golden Eagles. No. 56 Rrezart Cungu took down Riku Kubota with a 6-4, 6-3 win in the No. 5 spot, while No. 67 Siddhant Banthia secured a 6-2, 6-1 nod over Lucca Silva in the No. 6 position.
Wake Forest (2-0) took care of business toward the top of the lineup as well thanks to a Melios Efstathiou 6-3, 6-0 victory against Carlos Vicente in the No. 2 battle, a Henri Squire 7-5, 6-3 triumph over Evzen Holis in the No. 3 slot and an Eduardo Nava 6-1, 6-1 win against Elias Grubert in the No. 4 clash.
The Deacs started the match by seizing all three doubles matchups to take the initial 1-0 in the contest. Henri Squire and Eduardo Nava notched a 6-3 nod over Carlos Vicente and Evzen Holis in the top spot, one of three 6-3 triumphs for Wake during tandem play. Morgan Dill and Melios Efstathiou picked up a 6-3 win against Lucca Silva and Riku Kubota in the No. 2 meeting and Bar Botzer and Siddhant Banthia collected a 6-3 victory over Marc Mila and Elias Grubert in the No. 3 duel.
The Golden Eagles will prepare for a lengthy layoff, before traveling to Appalachian State for the club's next match on Sunday, Feb. 9. First serve in Boone, N.C. is scheduled for 9 a.m. CT.
Photo by Tony Marable