Boiling Springs, N.C. - Gardner-Webb men's tennis fought in a competitive affair with Big South counterpart Winthrop, but ultimately came out on the losing end of a 5-2 contest at home on Thursday afternoon.
Gardner-Webb (5-10, 0-3) got a doubles win at No. 2 from the duo of Matthew Parker/Ernest Alberch. The Runnin' Bulldog pair outlasted Winthrop's tandem of Comerford/Meade, whose comeback effort was stopped at the final margin of 8-6. The doubles point would come down to the match at No. 1 doubles after GWU dropped the decision at No. 3.
Despite being down 6-3 early in the match, Korhan Ates/Adam Knutsson-Sundblad battled back to make things interesting, forcing a tiebreak against Winthrop's Ruppin/Kubi. The Eagles' No. 1 doubles tandem rallied to take that match 9-8 (7-2) to give Winthrop an early 1-0 lead.
GWU responded strongly, taking the first set in four of the six singles matches to stay in contention. GWU's No. 5 position was solidified by freshman Joao Poli (Londrina, Brazil), whose 6-4, 6-4 win over Meade evened the score at 1-1.
After dropping set one at No. 4 singles, junior Roman Piftor (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) fought back to win the second, but could not complete the comeback and fell 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 to Comerford.
Sophomore Korhan Ates (Istanbul, Turkey) took a tough loss after jumping out to a one set advantage, dropping a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 decision at the hands of Ruppin.
After the Eagles sealed the match with a win at the No. 3 singles slot, freshman Brendan Dempsey (Dublin, Ireland) grabbed a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 triumph at No. 6 singles, outlasting Stanic for the win.
The Runnin' Bulldogs return to action this Sunday, hosting Big South foe Coastal Carolina. The March 25 match is slated for a 1:00 p.m. start time.
1. Ruppin/Kubi def. Adam Knutsson-Sundblad/Korhan Ates 9-8 (7-2)
2. Matt Parker/Ernest Alberch def. Comerford/Meade 8-6
3. Hirokawa/Stanic def. Joao Poli/Brendan Dempsey 8-3
1. Ruppin def. Ates 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
2. Kubi def. Knutsson-Sundblad 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 6-1
3. Hirokawa def. Alberch 3-6, 6-0, 6-2
4. Comerford def. Roman Piftor 6-1, 1-6, 6-2
5. Poli def. Meade 6-4, 6-4
6. Dempsey def. Stanic 6-2, 2-6, 6-4
Order of finish: DOUBLES - 3, 2, 1 SINGLES - 5, 4, 1, 3, 6, 2