Men’s tennis wins big in ITA kickoff


Christina Denovio, Sports Editor

Two wins during ITA Kickoff Weekend propelled No. 10 Wake Forest men’s tennis to an impressive 9-1 (0-0 ACC) record in the season.

On Friday, a large crowd turned out to see the Demon Deacons play No. 16 Michigan (2-1, 0-0 B1G). 

After Wake Forest lost the doubles point for the first time of the season, the pressure was on the singles players. 

Junior Taha Baadi finished first and got the win at No. 6 singles in two sets (6-3, 6-3).  Soon thereafter, graduate student Jurabek Karimov lost the No. 1 singles match to Michigan’s Andrew Fenty in two sets (6-3, 6-3). 

Graduate student Jakob Schnaitter once again tied up the scores by winning at No. 5 singles in three sets (6-2, 4-6, 6-1).

At No. 2 singles, redshirt senior Eduardo Nava lost to his Michigan opponent in three hard-fought sets (4-6, 6-3, 6-2). 

With the Demon Deacons down by one match, senior Melios Efstathiou pulled out the win in three sets to keep his team alive (7-5, 3-6, 6-1).

With the match tied at 3-3, the rest of the team and fans watched as sophomore Filippo Moroni played Michigan’s Gavin Young on court No. 4. Moroni had won the first set in a tie-breaker but had lost the second 6-3. In the third set, the Valenza, Italy native pulled ahead of his opponent to win 6-3. 

“It was a big battle,” head coach Tony Bresky said. “I thought we played good doubles but it didn’t go our way, we lost a couple of tiebreakers. It was better for us to lose because it challenged us to come back.”

Last week’s match at No. 1 Tennessee had also come down to Moroni at No. 4 singles, but the Demon Deacon had lost in a third-set tiebreaker. This time, the scores flipped, as Wake Forest beat Michigan 4-3.

“It was awesome to see Filippo in the last match again. He handled like a champ and learned from last time against Tennessee,” Bresky said.

One day after Wake Forest’s match against Michigan, the team came out on top against Notre Dame in a score of 4-1. 

Wake Forest took the doubles point over the Fighting Irish with wins on courts one and two. 

Turning to singles, Baadi once again finished first in a quick, two-set victory at court No. 6 (6-3, 6-1).

Next, Karimov dropped the only match of the day at No. 1 singles in two sets (6-2, 6-2). Schnaitter gave Wake Forest back some momentum, winning at No. 5 singles in two sets (6-4, 6-2). 

Nava clinched the win at No. 2 singles after losing the first set (1-6, 6-3, 1-6). 

With the win, the Demon Deacons are set to travel to Seattle, Washington for the ITA National Indoor Championships starting on Feb. 18. 

“We’re pumped to go to Seattle. We missed out last year which wasn’t the most ideal situation where we played our first match at the kickoff after COVID-19,” Bresky said. “The team was motivated to get back, especially at home … We were battling there with three third sets and I am happy for Eduardo Nava to clinch it at the end.”

This Friday, the Demon Deacons have a doubleheader at the Wake Forest Tennis Center. First, they play No. 20 University of Central Florida at 5 p.m. before an 8 p.m. match against NC Wesleyan.