LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech men’s tennis team moved to 3-0 on the season with a pair of wins on Monday, including a 7-0 sweep of UTRGV and a 4-3 triumph over Abilene Christian.
“When you move indoors, things move fast and you have to go out and execute,” head coach Daniel Whitehead said. “We got the doubles point early and I think the guys did a good job of sticking with our process and separating themselves as the match went on.”
In the morning match against the Vaqueros, Tech took an early 1-0 match lead with doubles wins by the pairings of Ilgiz Valiev/Jackson Cobb and Franco Ribero/Connor Johnson at 6-4 and 7-5, respectively.
Singles scoring was kicked off by sophomore Francisco Vittar who, in his second match as a Red Raider and first in Lubbock, was credited with a 6-0, 2-4 win after Williams of UTRGV was forced to retire due to an injury.
Tech collected their following two points from a pair of freshmen who arrived on campus less than a week ago in Issac Arevalo and Johnson. Arevalo took down his opponent in straight sets at a 6-1, 7-5 clip and Johnson battled his way to a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 victory on court four. Fellow freshman Reed Collier, who is ranked as the No. 114 player in the nation, also won his match with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 comeback effort.
Cobb jumped out to an early 6-2 advantage in his match before eventually sweeping the second set at 6-0 to give Tech their sixth match point. The final point would be provided by Justin Bloss, who served up an electrifying victory in a winner-take-all superset to close his match at 4-6, 6-1, 1-0(9).
In their first match of the 2020 campaign at the McLeod Tennis Center, the Red Raiders fell behind early by dropping the doubles point on courts one and three.
“I think we were outplayed by our opponent in the afternoon match,” Whitehead said. “We found a way to win the match, again, by sticking to our process and continuing to fight. We need to do a better job in the early stages of the match, and that’s on me as the head coach.”
The Wildcats kept their momentum with a pair of singles wins, including a victory by No. 77 Sheehy over No. 69 Valiev on court one.
Arevalo would provide the Red Raiders with their first points of the evening, winning in consecutive sets at 6-3, 6-2.
With the Red Raiders down 1-3 in the match, Johnson delivered once again with a 7-5, 6-2 triumph on court six. The match would then be tied courtesy of Vittar, who collected his second singles win of the day at a 6-3, 7-6(2) clip.
Ribero once again found himself in a must-win situation less than a week after he provided the match-clinching victory in Iowa City. After falling behind 5-7 in the first set, Ribero bounced back to take a 7-6(2) advantage in the second. Ribero would go on to break serve three times en route to a dominant 6-0 match-clinching third set.
Ribero’s match-determining win was the second of the young season and the fourth of his career.
The Red Raiders will return to action with a trip to Champaign, Illinois for the annual ITA Kick-Off event, a four-team tournament determined by an annual draw before the season. Tech will begin the ITA Kick-Off with a match against Michigan on Friday at 2 p.m. CT before taking on either Ole Miss or Illinois on Saturday.