It was a victorious day for the Owls on the second day of competition of the ITAs at Virginia Tech on Friday.
After an action packed day, all the Temple men emerged winners, following their doubles and singles matches, advancing them to the next round on Saturday.
In doubles action, three teams were active and solidified their spot in the third day of competition of the ITAs by defeating their opponents on Friday.
Sophomores Sam Rundle and Vineet Naran started the winning streak by beating Duquesne’s Mehdi Mekaoui and Harry Walshe in an 8-5 decision. The pair will go head to head against the duo from Liberty, Shea Thomas and Jorge Azuero, beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
The pair of junior Kristian Marquart and sophomore Hicham Belkssir followed suit but had a much more difficult time with their Longwood opponents, Dan Elston and Edward Becker. The match was down to the wire as neither team folded until the last moments of the game. The Owls came out on top in an 8-7(5) decision.
“We came up with a game plan half-way through the match,” Mauro said. “They adhered to the game play about coming up to the net more and that seemed to have made the difference.”
The duo again will be looking for another win on Saturday, as they will square off against the guys from George Washington, Fancisco Dias and Viktor Svensson at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Finally, Canete and sophomore Nicolas Paulus paired up and found themselves in the same situation as Belkssir and Marquart, as they ended their match with an identical score of 8-7(5) as their teammates, defeating UMBC’s Eliot Loubatie and Biyik Akinshemovin. The doubles team will face Harrison Richmond and Justin Shane of Virginia at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday.
In singles play, Canete was the lone Owl competing in the singles main draw on Friday. Canete took on Richmond’s Dylan Trent and by the score, Canete showed no signs of a snag as Canete defeated Trent in straight-sets, 6-2, 6-1.
“He played well today,” coach Steve Mauro said. “He didn’t play great because his thigh muscle was bothering him a little bit but he persevered.”
Mauro is confident that Canete’s thigh muscle will not be an issue for Saturday’s match because he visited the trainer after his match and is scheduled to check in with the trainer before his match begins on Saturday.
Canete will go up against Nick Sayer of Radford at noon on Saturday. Although Canete might not be a 100% entering into Saturday’s match, Mauro says he will not change his style of play and come away a winner after his match.
“He pretty much plays the same type of game,” Mauro said. “He is just really consistent from the baseline and he is very fit. Those two things make him a hard person to beat.”
Marquart will be the other singles player, who will be competing on Saturday. Marquart is one of the seeded players of the main draw and will begin his singles campaign.
Prior to the ITAs, Marquart did not compete on a competitive level since mid-September because of a shoulder problem that was still bothering him this past week. Nevertheless, Mauro remains confident that he will perform at a high level.
“He already won his doubles match,” Mauro said. “It got him used to playing on a different surface and a different court at Virginia Tech, so doubles was a good warm up for his singles match tomorrow.”
The men’s tennis team has faced Delaware on multiple occasions throughout the fall season, so it only helps the Owls when Marquart will face the Blue Hens’ Troy Beneck on Saturday. The Owls seemed to have another advantage.
“[Beneck] is a good player,” Mauro said. “I have known him since he was probably 12 years old. So I have been following tennis and him for a while. He is actually from Delaware area but he has played in our section called Middle State. He is a solid college player and has had a great college career.”
Mauro is confident in Marquart’s chances.
“I think it is going to be a good match but I feel as though Kristian is a bit more solid than him,” Mauro said.