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Men’s tennis starts season undefeated

By+Kallie+Chablas-Amador+
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Back to Article

Men’s tennis starts season undefeated

By Kallie Chablas-Amador

By Kallie Chablas-Amador

By Kallie Chablas-Amador

By Kallie Chablas-Amador

Jack Kennedy, Staff Writer

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The Alabama men’s tennis team started its season 2-0 with a doubleheader victory over 23rd ranked Michigan and Chattanooga.

In the first dual against Michigan, the Crimson Tide, ranked no. 22 in the first poll of the season, started slow in doubles play. Losing the first doubles match quickly and the other two matches going down to the wire, momentum was shifting away from Alabama, but as both matches went it into a tiebreak, the two Alabama pairings prevailed and secured wins, taking the doubles point away from Michigan to head into singles play. It was juniors Edson Ortiz and Zhe Zhou that put the doubles point in the hands of the Crimson Tide.

“We kept swinging, made them win their points and did not give them anything,” junior Edson Ortiz said. “There were one or two key points that turned the table for us. That doubles point was important because we had the momentum on our side against a very tough team in Michigan.”

Similarly to doubles play, the singles matches did not disappoint the fans in the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility. Senior Mazen Osama, the no. 24 ranked singles player in the country, continued his dominant form from last season by winning his first match of the season in straight sets. Also, Ortiz won his match in straight sets to put the Crimson Tide at a 3-0 advantage and needing only more singles victory to beat Michigan.

After two quick single victories from Michigan, once again, the momentum was turning in the favor of the Wolverines. With Michigan taking control of one of the two matches left, it was Zhou who needed to save the Crimson Tide. Zhou won the first set of his match 7-6 and then brought the second set to a tiebreak. He fell behind 1-6 in the tiebreak, but battled back to win the tiebreak and the match in straight sets, which sealed a 4-3 Alabama victory over Michigan.

“It is a testament to Zhe because no matter the score, he just kept playing the same way,” coach George Husack said. “His opponent was pushing Zhe, but he did not let his guard down at all.”

The Crimson Tide did not slow down against Chattanooga, sweeping the doubles matches and winning all of its singles matches in straight sets. Despite the 7-0 victory, Chattanooga pushed Alabama to the brink in some matches, which is what Husack expected from the Mocs.

“There are no layups,” he said. “I schedule these on purpose because the tougher we have it now, the thicker the team’s skin will grow and they will become more confident in their ability.”

Alabama will look to stay undefeated on Jan. 20 against Charlotte and North Alabama.

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Men’s tennis starts season undefeated