Sports

Men’s tennis triumphs over ranked opponent

History has a funny way of repeating itself in the sporting world, and for Tarik El Bassiouni, history repeated itself much sooner than he anticipated.

On Monday, El Bassiouni won the deciding match for the second consecutive day, leading the No. 38 Miami Hurricanes to a 4-3 upset over No. 29 Middle Tennessee at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.

El Bassiouni, who on Sunday won in straight sets 6-4, 7-6, defeated Trevor Short 7-6, 7-5, to improve his record to 6-1. More importantly, the win boosted the Hurricanes record to 7-5.

“It feels really good to come out with matches like that,” El Bassiouni said “I’m usually not the last one out there but that’s the way it worked out the last two matches, and I’m glad I was able to come through again.”

Freshman Todd Widom rolled in his No. 1 singles match, defeating Robert Gustafsson in straight sets 6-2, 6-3. Widom said the key to his victory was coming out there with a plan.

“I played a really big server,” Widom said. “I knew he was going to ace me a lot, so I focused on having some solid returns and playing well overall, and I was able to get the breaks I needed.”

Miami lost their No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 singles matches, as Tomas Smid, Andrew Golub, and Joel Berman all fell in straight sets.

Senior Jose Lieberman defeated Kirk Jackson 6-1, 7-5, and the Hurricanes were able to win two of their three doubles matches to earn the victory.

“Today, I’m happy with the way we played,” coach Jay Berger said. “We came out there fighting hard as a team, and when you do that, it means that you’re going to be doing pretty well.”

Before the match, Widom’s ranking improved to No. 12 in the country. Despite the fact a ranking that high is extremely rare for a freshman, Widom doesn’t feel affected.

“I don’t really feel any pressure at all,” Widom said. “You just go out there, try your hardest, and let everything happen.”

Berger, meanwhile, has been very happy with Widom’s play, and believes that the freshman deserves his status.

“His ranking says he’s a pretty darn good player,” Berger said. “For us, he’s been a real team player. He comes out and practices hard and deserves his ranking.”

“He also earned his ranking solely in the dual match season, which means he’s winning a ton of matches, and that has really helped us.”

This weekend the Hurricanes travel to North Carolina, where they will participate in matches against N.C. State and Duke.

Although the team has improved from a slow start, Berger still thinks there are things they need to focus on improving.

“We’re focusing a lot on our doubles,” Berger said. “We want to win more points in our doubles matches, and we’re also continuing to try and come together as a team more.”

March 29, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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