Demon Deacons escape VCU, sweep Belmont Abbey

The Demon Deacons took out a top-30 opponent in VCU and went undefeated versus Belmont Abbey


Courtesy of WFU Athletics

Wake Forest earned the doubles point against Belmont Abbey after ceding the point against VCU.

Alex Mojica, Contributing Writer

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.