NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On the opening day of the spring season, the Vanderbilt men’s tennis team earned a sweep over Tennessee Tech and Lipscomb.
The Commodores kicked off the day with a 7-0 victory over the Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech. Vanderbilt won all three doubles matches by at least four points. Bryant Salcedo and Alex DiValerio took no time posting an 8-1 win over Alex Chen and Justin Kirstein in the No. 3 match. Charlie Jones and Alex Zotov clinched the doubles point for the ’Dores just minutes later with an 8-2 decision over Llyod Harris and James Crawford. TTU’s Vasily Emereev and Josh Girling gave Ryan Lipman and Adam Baker a tougher match on court one, but Vanderbilt again prevailed with an 8-4 score.
In singles play, Salcedo and Lipman cruised to victories over their Golden Eagle opponents to bring the Commodore lead to 3-0. After battling it out in the first set, Jones clinched the match for Vanderbilt with a 7-6, 6-1 win over Emereev in the No. 3 match. Shortly after, freshman Blake Bazarnik picked up his first collegiate dual victory with a 6-3, 6-3 win on court four. Baker won his first set, 7-5, but fell to Alex Chen, 4-6, in the second set. He won his match with a 10-4 score in the tiebreaker set. Zotov closed out the match with a 6-4, 6-3 win in the No. 6 match.
The ’Dores picked up their second win of the day with a 7-0 decision over Lipscomb. Again, Vanderbilt won each doubles match by at least four points. Jones and Zotov set the tone of the match with an 8-1 win on court two, while the duos of Lipman and Baker and Salcedo and DiValerio each notched 8-4 victories over their opponents.
Five of the six singles matches were decided in two sets, by a margin of 6-3 or better. In the No. 6 match, Andy Pulido battled with Lipscomb’s Mario Hernandez for each point. Pulido came out on top in the first set, with a 7-6 (7-5) decision. Hernandez prevailed with a 3-6 second set, but Pulido regained the lead with a 10-5 score in the tiebreaker.
“I thought it was a good start for us,” commented head coach Ian Duvenhage on Vanderbilt’s two victories. “We haven’t competed in a long time and clearly there was some rust. Even so, I’d rather look like this rusty than look like this feeling like this is as good as we can play. It did exactly what we needed it to do: everybody got a bunch of tennis in today and at least now next weekend we won’t be completely going at it cold turkey. I’m happy with the outcome.”
The Commodores travel to Palo Alto, Calif. on Friday to take on Nebraska in the opening round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Vanderbilt will face either Stanford or Santa Clara on Saturday.