Waco - The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's tennis team had quite a day at the Baylor HEB Invitational on Friday. Playing in one of the toughest individual tournaments in the nation, the Islanders downed teams from Texas and Texas A&M in the A draw, the top flight of the tournament.
In singles action, Dmitry Novikov beat Marcus Lunt from Texas A&M. Lunt is a senior for the Aggies and one of the top returning players from an Aggies team that made it to the round of 16 at the NCAA Tennis Championships last season. The Aggies ended the season ranked #14 in the nation.
In a three-set match that saw Novikov fight through dehydration and cramping as the match wore on, the Islanders top player took down the Lunt in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 final that gave TAMUCC its second big victory of the day.
"The top flight at this tournament is the toughest fall draw in the country so I'm very proud of these guys," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "I think it is a result of their hard work and practice."
In the other match, it was Novikov once again, teaming up with James Langford in the doubles A draw to take on Alex Hilliard and Chris Camillone of Texas, a team that finished #9 in the nation last year and reached the Final Four of the NCAA Championships before losing to eventual National Champion Southern California.
Novikov and Langford won the doubles A draw last week at the Islander Open and continued the momentum by downing the team from Texas by a 8-1 final.
"Dmitry Novikov really showed what he is capable of today in singles and doubles," said Moore. "I think our team represented the Islanders pretty well at this tournament."
In other action, Nathan Robinson won his first round match against Brett Proctor of Abilene Christian by a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 final to advance to the second round of the singles B draw. Alex Pavlov also played in the singles B draw, losing a match to James Seagraves of Tulsa by a 6-3, 7-5 final. Andrew Maingot received a bye in the first round of the B draw and was scheduled to take on Brievo Hamon of UT Arlington in the second round.
Langford also came close to another huge upset as he took Atilla Bucko of Baylor to the full three sets before falling by a 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 final. Bucko plays for the host Bears that is consistently one of the top teams in the country and finished the season ranked #7 in the nation last season. The Bears lost in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championships to national runner-up Ohio State who finished the season ranked #2 in the nation.
This tournament will be the final fall event the Islander men's team competes in until they conclude the fall season late next month as they take part in the NCAA Region VI Regional in College Station on the campus of Texas A&M. The Aggies host the regional from October 24-27.
For full results, fans can visit the tournament website at: HEB Baylor Men's Invitational