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Alex Smolokoff

Alex Smolokoff

The Tulane men’s tennis team split two matches this week, falling to Middle Tennessee State 4-3 Saturday afternoon but bouncing back to defeat Xavier (La.) 6-1 on Tuesday. The split left Tulane’s record at 11-9.

On Saturday, No. 56 Middle Tennessee proved too much for the Wave, and the Lightning won four of six singles matches. Green Wave senior Shaye Wali and junior Rodrigo Rappaccioli, however, won their matches. Wali defeated Middle Tennessee’s Christoph Lang in three sets. Rappaccioli had a slightly easier time, beating Forrest Edwards in two sets, though the first set did require a tiebreaker. In Middle Tennessee’s singles victories, Ben Davis defeated Tulane junior Idan Mark in three sets, Matthew Langley defeated junior Joe Young, Ettore Zito downed junior Adam Bernstein, and Dimitri Pippos beat freshman Cedric Rutsaert. All four matches were close; Mark’s, Bernstein’s and Rutsaert’s matches all involved tiebreakers.

Tulane fared better in doubles play, winning two of three matches. Mark and Young defeated Marlon Brand and Yannick Born of Middle Tennessee 8-6. Wali and Rappaccioli were also successful and defeated Langley and Zito 9-7. In the third match, Bernstein and sophomore Takuma Ohashi lost to Davis and Lang 8-3.

The Wave performed better in its next match, easily defeating Xavier 6-1 at home. Tulane nearly swept the singles matches, earning victories in five of six. Mark defeated Loic Didavi by rallying to win the final two sets after dropping the first. Shaye Wali also rallied after losing the first match to defeat Viktor Svoboda, and Rappaccioli and Ohashi each won in two sets. In the final singles match, freshman Iain Sneddon outlasted Corey Huggins in three sets, including a 12-10 tiebreaker to cement the win. In doubles play, Mark and Young defeated Didavi and Zach Taylor 8-3. Bernstein and Ohashi also won their match 8-2. Xavier, however, won the final doubles match with Svoboda and Huggins, defeating Rappaccioli and Wali.

Coach Mark Booras was impressed with his team’s play.

“I’m proud of the way our guys fought through to get the win,” Booras said. “I would’ve liked to have breathed a bit easier by having us execute and play our games earlier on to set a better tone to the match, but that ability comes with experience, As long as we are constantly learning and growing through these experiences we will continue to improve and come closer to reaching our goals.”

Tulane closes out the regular season at home with matches against University of Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday and Tulsa Sunday. The team will honor Wali, the team’s only senior, before the match.