Chief Copy Editor
Troy’s men’s tennis team lost to the two highest-ranked in-state teams this weekend, No. 56 Auburn and No. 63 Alabama.
On Friday, Feb. 5, the Trojans (1-8) traveled to the Yarbrough Tennis Center to take on the Tigers (4-1). Though the visitors played a close doubles set, Auburn ran away with the 6-1 win.
Senior Giovani Samaha and freshman Filip Mansson lost the first doubles set 6-3, but freshman Vaclav Slezak and sophomore Andre Baldo won their set 7-6 (8-4), tying the match. Sophomore Andy Lau and junior Pablo Moreno fought for the doubles point, forcing the Auburn team into a tiebreaker, but the Tigers won 10-8.
In the following singles matches, junior Hassan Ndayishimiye, Slezak and Lau all lost their matches, giving the Tigers a 4-0 lead. It was Ndayishimiye’s first game with Troy since May, and Slezak lost to No. 100 Marko Krickovic.
Samaha lost the next match 6-4, 6-3, but Moreno gave the Trojans their only match point. He beat Brandon Laubser 7-5, 7-5, but Auburn was up 5-1.
In the final match of the day, senior Daniel Bustamante tied No. 96 Maxime Hinnisdaels in two sets, 6-3, 4-6. Hinnisdaels took the last set in a close one though, 6-4.
Two days later, Troy played the Crimson Tide (6-3) in Tuscaloosaw but lost in a close game, 5-2. The Trojans forced six tiebreakers, with four in the last two matches.
Troy lost the doubles point, 2-0. Mansson and Baldo’s match went unfinished, but they were down 5-4.
In the first singles match, Moreno won 6-2, 6-2, giving each team one match point. Slezak then lost to No. 66 Mazen Osama, 6-2, 6-1, Lau lost to No. 106 Korey Lovett, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 and Alabama led 3-1.
Bustamante put Troy back in the game, beating No. 123 Becker O’Shaughnessey 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. The score was 3-2 with two matches to play, and the last two sets were closer than any other Troy played this weekend.
Samaha lost to Grayson Goldin in back-to-back tiebreakers, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2), and in the last match of the day, freshman Tomas Fernandez lost to Nikko Madregallejo the same way, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6).
Troy will visit the Carolinas this weekend, competing with Winthrop on Friday, Feb. 12, and No. 32 N.C. State on Saturday, Feb. 13.