Strong doubles play paces Troy tennis

Michael Shipma

Sports Editor

The Troy men’s tennis team split its final two matches of the 2018 regular season in the Big Easy, falling 5-4 to Xavier University of Louisiana before bouncing back with a 4-1 win over New Orleans.

Saturday, the Trojans won the doubles point but conceded the narrow victory to the Gold Rush, dropping four of six singles matches. The following day, Troy finished its regular-season schedule on a high note with a dominant win over the hosting Privateers thanks to an unfinished doubles match and two more unfinished matchups in the singles phase.

Following these two matches, Troy is now sitting at an overall record of 11-10 going into the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, which starts on April 19.

In the Trojans’ first contest of the weekend, Andy Lau and teammate Amer Bedwan got Troy on the board first with an 8-1 win over XULA’s Samir Chikhaoui and Gabriel Niculescu.

Gold Rush duo Antoine Richard and Shaikh Abdullah responded with an 8-2 win of their own, but it was Troy’s Pelayo Antuna and Jiaqi Duan who secured the doubles point for their team following an 8-6 victory over Chris Anders and Catalin Fifea.

The ensuing singles portion of the match didn’t go in Troy’s favor, however, as XULA claimed four of the six singles matches. Those results didn’t tell the whole story, though, as three of the Gold Rush’s wins came in three sets with close score lines.

Troy’s Antonio Selma and Oskar Michalek were the lone bright spots in the singles phase with Selma defeating XULA’s Pierre Andrieu 6-1, 6-2, and Michalek beating Antoine Richard in three sets, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Now facing a .500 overall record and the potential for its first regular season with a losing record since 2014, Troy responded with a spoiling of New Orleans’ Senior Day.

Trojan duos Bedwan/Mustapha Belcora and Duan/Lau both won their doubles matches to secure the doubles point, while Michalek and Antuna’s match against the Privateers’ Federico Boscarino and Alexis Guedy went unfinished.

Michalek, Bedwan and Lau all won their respective singles matches, with Selma being the only Trojan to lose a completed match.

Antuna and freshman Jorge Poyatos both played to unfinished results after each of their matches were called off midway through the third and final set.

Troy will have some time to rest and prepare before a big week starting next Thursday with the four-day conference championship tournament.

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