Leading 3-1 but even in all three of the remaining matches, Chattanooga needed one more singles win to grab the team victory. Junior Ankit Chopra (Chandigrah, India) battled to force a third set in his bout with Alejandro Bueno at No. 3, but quickly found himself down 5-2 in the final frame. He responded by running off five straight games to take the (2-6, 6-4, 7-5) victory.
With the outcome decided, juniors Jackson Tresnan (Apopka, Fla.) and Chris Smith (Johnson City, Tenn.) closed out the day with wins in their matches. Tresnan defeated Artem Taraspy (6-3, 7-6 (4)) at No. 4 and on the very next serve, Smith bested Alex Chen (3-6, 6-4, 6-2) at No. 2.
"We have matured a lot during the offseason," stated head coach Carlos Garcia. "It was nice to see us display that maturity on the court today. We closed out a lot of close matches and had guys come back from big deficits."
Smith, Chopra and freshman Pavels Grigorjevs (Riga, Latvia) all won three-set matches today. Grigorjevs won his first set, but was down 5-3 in his third before winning in a tiebreaker over Justin Kirstein (6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (4)).
Chattanooga set the tone early by winning the all-important doubles point. Chopra and junior Stephen Crofford (Franklin, Tenn.) won their match at No. 2 (8-3) over Taraspy and Vasily Eremeev. Grigorjevs and Tresnan teamed up to take the point with an 8-4 win against Bueno and Kirstein at No. 3.
Junior Roberto Vieira (Bedfordview, South Africa) had an impressive (7-6 (3), 6-2) win over Syrym Abdukhailikov at No. 1. Abdukhailikov was once ranked as high and No. 548 in the world and has competed in the Davis Cup in his native Kazakhstan.
Chattanooga hits the road this weekend for a pair of matches at Murray State and Middle Tennessee. The Mocs face the Racers on Friday, Jan. 27 at 12:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) and the Blue Raiders on Sunday, Jan. 29 at Noon.
Chattanooga 6 - Tennessee Tech 1
1. ABDUKHAILIKOV, Syrym/CHEN, Alex (TTU) def. Chris Smith/Roberto Vieira (UTC) - 8-6
2. Ankit Chopra/Stephen Crofford (UTC) def. EREMEEV, Vasily/TARASPY, Artem (TTU) - 8-3
3. Pavels Grigorjevs/Jackson Tresnan (UTC) def. BUENO, Alejandro/KIRSTEIN, Justin (TTU) - 8-4
1. Roberto Vieira (UTC) def. ABDUKHAILIKOV, Syrym (TTU) - 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
2. Chris Smith (UTC) def. CHEN, Alex (TTU) - 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
3. Ankit Chopra (UTC) def. BUENO, Alejandro (TTU) - 2-6, 6-4, 7-5
4. Jackson Tresnan (UTC) def. TARASPY, Artem (TTU) - 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
5. Pavels Grigorjevs (UTC) def. KIRSTEIN, Justin (TTU) - 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (7-4)
6. EREMEEV, Vasily (TTU) def. Stephen Crofford (UTC) - 7-5, 6-2