Men’s tennis takes down local rivals en route to 6-1 stretch
The team improves to 17-6 with 10 regular-season matches remaining
March 13, 2023
Demon Deacons escape VCU, sweep Belmont Abbey
In a doubleheader on Feb. 28, the Wake Forest men’s tennis team defeated No. 27 Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) as well as in-state rival Belmont Abbey.
The Demon Deacons began the afternoon on a rough note, losing two of the three doubles matches against VCU. Court three was the first to finish, where VCU’s Romain Gales (6-3) and Joaquim Almeida defeated Wake Forest seniors Matt Thomson and Melios Efstathiou. Wake Forest managed to neutralize this on court two when junior Filippo Moroni and senior Juan Lopez de Azcona — ranked the 40th best Division I doubles team — defeated VCU’s Rayane Stable and Matisse Bobichon (6-3). However, VCU’s Charles Bertimon and Macence Bertimon defeated junior Luciano Tacchi and graduate Jurabek Karimov (6-2) to put VCU ahead 1-0 in the overall match score.
While VCU’s Bertimon defeated Moroni on Court 2 (6-1, 6-3), back-to-back wins from Karimov on court four (6-3, 6-3) and Efstathiou on Court 1 (6-4, 6-2) leveled the overall match score to 2-2.
Although Gales would defeat Thomson on Court 5 (6-2, 6-4) to put VCU in arm’s reach of a victory, the Demon Deacons came out on top with a win from Azcona over Almeida (6-4, 6-4) and a thrilling comeback from Tacchi over M. Bertimon (5-7, 6-4, 7-5) that sealed the team’s third top-30 win of the season.
Shortly thereafter, Belmont Abbey’s men’s tennis team took the court. The Demon Deacons got off to a hot start, as freshman Božo Barun and Saud Alhogbani defeated Belmont Abbey’s Jai Rowe and Gabriel Martin (6-2) on court three. Efstathiou and Thomson defeated Nelson Stafford and Nicholas Cary 6-2, putting Wake Forest up 1-0 at the conclusion of the doubles matches.
In singles, Moroni, Barun, Thomson and Alhogbani returned to their courts to play singles moments after doubles concluded. Each of these players would go on to win his matches, winning 49 out of the 66 games played during this time. On court one, Moroni defeated Van Wijk (6-1, 6-2), and court two saw Barun defeat Stafford (6-1, 6-2). On courts three and four, Thomson defeated Cary (6-2, 6-2), and Alhogbani defeated Turner (7-5, 6-2), the latter match securing an undefeated day for Alhogabani.
Sophomore Vikas Deo and freshman Ernesto Requena made their first appearances of the day late in the contest versus Belmont Abbey. Deo defeated Kai Lloveras (6-4, 7-6), and Requena defeated Jai Rowe (7-6, 6-4).
The Demon Deacons won all eight matches against their in-state rival.
These two matches were the first two of the season played outdoors at the Wake Forest Tennis Center. In the coming weeks, Wake Forest would fall to Florida State (4-3) at home on March 10, but defeat Miami and Coastal Carolina on March 12 indoors. Coming up, Wake Forest will be on the road in Waco, Texas, to play Baylor on Sunday, March 19. They will face Louisville in their next home match on March 24.
Demon Deacons sweep indoor doubleheader
The Demon Deacons moved indoors for a double-header at the Wake Forest Tennis Center this past Sunday, March 12. They squared off against No. 60 Miami — including a top-100 ranked singles player — to start the day and emerged with a 4-1 victory. Shortly after, they returned to the courts to claim a 4-0 victory over the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
The Hurricanes got off to a quick start in doubles, swiftly winning on Courts 1 and 3. Miami’s No. 1 doubles team, Juan Jalif and Martin Vergara, defeated junior Filippo Moroni and senior Juan Lopez de Azcona (6-1).
On Court 3, Miami’s Martin Katz and Antonio Prat defeated seniors Melios Efstathiou and Matthew Thomson (6-1). This brought an early end to graduate Jurabek Karimov and junior Luciano Tacchi’s doubles match on Court 2, where the score was tied at three games apiece.
After the rough start in doubles, Wake Forest stormed ahead in singles, with six of seven Demon Deacons winning their first sets. Tacchi was the first man to finish his match, defeating Leo Bierbaum in straight sets (6-4, 6-2) on Court 4.
Moroni was the next man to win, defeating Prat (6-4, 7-5) in a back-and-forth battle on Court 2. Moroni started the day with a Division I singles ranking of 122, which should improve after his performance against Miami.
Although Lopez de Azcona suffered a tough loss in his first doubles match, he was the third man to finish his singles match. He defeated Nacho Serra Sanchez (6-3, 6-3) on Court 6, putting Wake Forest ahead 3-1 in a first-to-four match.
Wake Forest’s top singles player, Melios Efstathiou, played a hotly contested match against Miami’s No. 44-ranked Dan Martin. After Martin double-faulted on match point, Efstathiou sealed the match for Wake Forest with a victory, (6-4, 6-3). No. 21 ranked singles player Mefstathiou should see his placement rise as he has won five-straight singles matches against top-100 opponents in March.
Immediately after the Hurricanes left the courts, Coastal Carolina’s team started to warm up. Less than 90 minutes after Efstathiou won the clincher against Miami, the next set of doubles matches began.
The Demon Deacons on Court 3 got off to a hot start, with sophomore Vikas Deo and freshman Božo Barun defeating Guilherme Toresan and Ryuya Ata (6-2) to put Coastal Carolina behind in the doubles.
While Deo and Barun had already put their opponents away in the first 30 minutes, the Demon Deacons and Chanticleers were tied at 5-5 in the other two matches. Coastal Carolina’s Lucas Wayenburg and Steve Mundt came out victorious on Court 2, where they defeated Thomson and Tacchi (7-5).
With the doubles series on the line, Lopez de Azcona and Moroni fought, going down a break to win a close match against Carlos Berna and Mac Tomac (7-6) and put Wake Forest ahead 1-0 going into singles. This was the partnership’s 13th win of the season.
In the singles, Lopez de Azcona wasted no time, winning the first 11 games of his match. His opponent, Toresan, fought back to win three games, but Lopez de Azcona was still the first man to win. His victory over Toresan (6-0, 6-3) put the Demon Deacons two matches away from a sweep. A few minutes later, Moroni defeated Berna Ruiz (6-2, 6-2) to finish his Sunday with three wins.
To end the day, Barun won the clincher on Court 4, defeating Ryuya Ata (6-2, 6-2) to complete the sweep over the Chanticleers. The freshman from Croatia finished his day undefeated, giving him his fourth-straight win. With Wake Forest ahead 4-0, matches were abandoned on Courts 2, 3 and 6. However, the Demon Deacons — Thomas, Tacchi and Deo — were ahead in each of their remaining contests.
The men’s tennis team’s next competition will be Sunday, March 19 in Waco, Texas, where the Demon Deacons will face Baylor University. The Bears boast an impressive roster, with two top-20 doubles teams and two top-100 singles players starring in their lineup.