WILLIAMSVILLE, NY – A third-set tiebreaker victory by George Tibilgave the University at Buffalo men's tennis team a 4-3 victory over visiting Toledo in the Mid-American Conference opener for both squads on Saturday afternoon at the Miller Tennis Center.
Playing fourth singles, Tibil, a freshman, defeated Toledo's Leo Sarria in the tiebreaker, 7-4, to claim a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) win and give the Bulls (7-4, 1-0 MAC) their third straight win and remain undefeated at home. Tibil had fallen behind, 4-2, in the third set before taking a 5-4 lead. The two then held serve to force the tiebreaker.
The Bulls needed to win two of the final three matches, as all three went into a third set, to rally past the Rockets (8-11, 0-1 MAC). Prior to Tibil's win, sophomore Alex Kalinin scored an incredible rally at number six to down Gursher Harika. After dropping the opening set, 6-2, and trailing in the second, 2-0, Kalinin won the next six games to force a third set. In the third set, Kalinin and Harika repeatedly broke each other's serves before Kalinin held serve and then took the set, 6-4.
The Bulls needed the four singles wins to pull out the match after they were unable to claim the opening doubles point. Toledo won the second and third doubles matches, although UB's number one duo of Starakiewicz and Marcelo Mazzetto defeated Burus and Aleksandar Elezovic, 8-5.
"It was a very strong fighting performance for our guys. We showed great resiliency to come back. Our energy seemed to rise as the game went on and that's what put us over a good Toledo team, said head coach Lee Nickell. "Alex Kalinin really battled out there. It was a great win for George Tibil after being down a break in the third set."
The Bulls return to the Miller Tennis Center on Sunday for a nonleague contest with local rival St. Bonaventure. Match time is 1:00 pm.
Buffalo 4, Toledo 3
1 Kirill Kolomyts/Marcelo Mazzetto (UB) d. Sven Burus/Aleksandar Elezovic (UT), 8-5
2 Nutthavit Likitkumchorn/Leo Sarria (UT) d. Wojciech Starakiewicz/George Tibil (UB), 8-5
3 Bryant Dudzik/Terence Weigand (UT) d. Mitch Zenaty/Vusa Hove (UB), 9-7
Order of finish: 2, 1, 3
1 Wojciech Starakiewicz (UB) d. Sven Burus (UT), 6-1, 6-4
2 Aleksandar Elezovic (UT) d. Marcelo Mazzetto (UB), 6-3, 6-2
3 Nutthavit Likitkumchorn (UT) d. Kirill Kolomyts (UB), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
4 George Tibil (UB) d. Leo Sarria (UT), 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4)
5 Vusa Hove (UB) d. Bryant Dudzik (UT), 6-2, 6-3
6 Alex Kalinin (UB) d. Gursher Harika (UT), 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
Order of finish: 2, 1, 5, 6, 3, 4