The men’s tennis team ended its five-game losing streak Sunday against Florida Atlantic University. The 5-2 victory was not only significant for a team looking to find its groove, but also was coach Don Barr’s 200th career victory as head coach.
“The monkey is off my back,” Barr said. “We’ve been struggling to get it. Now I’m just thinking of all the teams that have helped me get here.”
The weekend wasn’t a complete success for the Bulls (2-5). Before they ended their losing streak Sunday, it was extended on Saturday with a difficult 4-3 loss to Georgia State University (5-2). GSU’s losses have come at the hands of two teams ranked No. 12 and above nationally, and had already upset the then-top ranked team in the nation.
Thomas Estrada and Mahmoud Hamed won their doubles match with ease against GSU’s Andres Arango and Daniel Balog 8-2, but USF dropped the other two matches to lose the doubles point.
GSU jumped out to early leads in five of six singles matches, but the Bulls nearly escaped with the victory thanks to a couple of spectacular comebacks. Estrada carried his success in doubles over to his singles match with a 6-0, 7-5 win against Balog. The Bulls’ Diego Toledo, who is 6-1 for the year in singles play, posted the first of two comebacks against Augusto Alvarado with a 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-2) win. Ales Svigeli struggled with his hitting, dropping his first set, but battled back against Anze Cevka for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory. Junior Mark Jaeger saw his comeback attempt fall short in the second set during a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Mattias Skold.
Sunday brought two new opponents for the Bulls: FAU (2-7) and a strong wind. Barr made some adjustments to the lineup, moving Hamed and Estrada – who usually play in the No. 2 slot – to play FAU’s No. 1 team. The results were impressive as the Bulls swept the doubles matches. Estrada and Hamed showed they were ready to step up by defeating Eddie Majcher and Daniel Vardag 8-2. Henning Hipp and Daniel Daudt earned the team the point by suppressing a comeback effort by FAU’s Olivier Sajous and Lawrence Harradine with an 8-4 victory.
“I don’t remember when we last won a doubles point,” Hipp joked. “We had to beat the wind, and winning is good for your confidence.”
The confidence was obvious in singles play. Hipp, playing in the third position instead of playing in the familiar No. 1, he finished the day with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Vardag. Estrada finished the weekend perfect in both singles and doubles action by controlling J. P. Bounassar 6-3, 6-3.”During our first meeting this morning, we knew we had to win today,” Estrada said.