By Ryan Martin–
Men’s tennis dominated Belmont and Tennessee Tech in back-to-back 6-1 matches Saturday at the Bass Rudd Center.
Overall, the match against Belmont went pretty smoothly for the Cards, as the team completely swept the doubles round of the match.
Senior Andrew Carter and freshman Albert Wagner defeated the Belmont duo of Renado Aton and Rafael Matos 8-5. U of L’s Robert Hall and Sebastian Stiefelmeyer defeated Rodrigo Amaral and Fernando Mussolini 8-2. And freshman Van Damrongsri and sophomore Amaury Derogant defeated Enrique Norbiato and Bruno Silvia 8-4.
The singles round wasn’t a sweep, but it was close. The only player on the Cardinals who suffered a defeat was Andrew Carter.
Senior Robert Hall, the MVP of the match, won his first set in an effortless performance beating out Belmont’s Bruno Silva 6-0.
However, the second set did not go that easy for Hall. At one point during the game, Silva was up 4-1. But Hall managed to make a comeback and win 6-4.
“I was pretty concerned when I was down,” says Hall. “I did not want to have to play a third set, and I knew this was crucial in getting a quick win for the team.”
Head coach Rex Ecarma was pretty concerned during this time as well, comparing Hall’s situation to that of a team playing a great first half but a sloppy second half.
“I felt that he might have burned off a little bit of energy to win the first set decisively and really let down,” Ecarma stated. “But once he gathered himself up and started playing a cleaner game and got us that 2-0 lead pretty quickly.”
Ecarma went on to say playing a softer second set was never Hall’s style, describing him as “pretty methodized.”
“I was very surprised to see [Hall] get down 4-1, that’s something you’ll never see him do,” he said.
As expected, the team was pretty satisfied with its effort against Belmont.
“We had an extra two days of training before the match, which helps us play more aggressive rather than defensive and waiting for the opponent to mess up,” Hall said.
When discussing the outcome of this match, Hall went on to state that he very much expected the team to come out ahead.
“We expect ourselves to do well to do well just about every week,” he said. “There is so much talent and capability on this team and I think we have the ability to dominate almost every team in the country.”
French native sophomore Amaury Derogant went on to discuss the importance of freshman participation in these matches.
“It’s so good to see these freshman playing well,” he said. “It’s a new generation for the team, so it is important that they are able to learn the system.”
The team went on to mirror that performance against Tennessee Tech, winning 6-1.
Their next match will be against Wake Forest on Feb. 25 at the Bass Rudd Center.
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal