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Kilani leads USF to victory

It’s been a big week for Wael Kilani.

The USF freshman earned the first singles ranking of his college career Tuesday, when Kilani — in the No. 1 position for the first time — led the No. 50 South Florida men’s tennis team in a 4-1 defeat of No. 48 Radford at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.

Kilani defeated Radford’s No. 115 Martin Sayer 7-6, 6-4.

“This is (Kilani’s) biggest win in match play for sure,” said coach Don Barr.

Sayer played on Hong Kong’s Davis Cup team last weekend and returned Monday night after an 18-hour flight. The airline lost his luggage and had to borrow tennis rackets to play in Tuesday’s match.

“I got three hours of sleep last night,” Sayer said. “I’m so jet-lagged … I tried my best. That guy is a good player. He played really well — he deserved to win.”

Tension arose between Kilani and Sayer when the match was 5-0. The two had a brief argument about an official’s call.

“This guy is playing out of his freaking face,” Sayer said under his breath.

Playing in 80-degree weather, Kilani clinched the Bulls’ victory and freshmen Mark Oljaca and Romain Deridder’s singles match went unfinished.

“The spirit of the team is the best thing we can have … when you play for the team, you have 10 guys cheering for you, you have your coaches, you have all the school for you,” Kilani said.

Thomas Estrada and Mahmoud Hamed had the only USF doubles victory, 8-4.

The Bulls’ No. 3 doubles position has continued to struggle this season. Barr has rotated three teams in the position. Jamal Adderley and Arzhang Derakshani lost 8-4.

“I wasn’t pleased,” Barr said. “We didn’t do a good job today in our doubles … I’m going to maybe look at one more rotation of a doubles team.”

He said Tuesday’s win was important for the team.

“It’s a very good step to know that we had to come out with that intensity … If we learn to bring it out right in the beginning, then we’re on track,” Barr said.

Kilani replaced No. 62 Lucas Jovita, who was unable to play because of tendonitis in his wrist. Jovita is expected to play in three matches later this week.

“We’re getting into the meat of the season and we’re going to have to have him,” Barr said. “We’re trying to give him as much rest as we can. It was very risky (Tuesday), but like I told Lucas, we want him at the end and the peak of the season for the conference