Men’s tennis weathers the storm

By Tyler Dixon

Tyler Dixon

Daily Egyptian

A Saturday morning storm couldn’t dampen the spirits of the Salukis as they finished the tournament with impressive wins over South Dakota State and Eastern Illinois.

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The Jackrabbits and Panthers visited Carbondale on Saturday for the 2013 SIU Fall Classic. The Salukis faced off against the SDSU during the morning session and the EIU in the nightcap.

The matches began at University Courts but were moved to Sportsblast after a storm moved in.

SIU started the morning sweeping all three doubles matches against SDSU. Senior Jorge Cavero and junior Szymon Opieczonek won their match 8-6. The team of freshman Filip Aleksic and senior Rafael Cuadrillero finished with an 8-4 win.

Sophomore Jonny Rigby and freshman Michal Kianicka had a big lead in their number one doubles match but the Jackrabbits wouldn’t go down without a fight and SIU won the match 8-6.

Rigby said his opponents in the doubles match kept hitting shots to continue the match.

“I was playing well, I know I was enjoying it, that’s always a plus,” he said. “I like to have good competitive matches.”

The singles portion against SDSU finished with the Salukis on top. They won four singles matches with Rigby and Cavero winning in straight sets and Kianicka and Opieczonek winning in tiebreakers.

Cavero said despite losing some matches this season, winning these helped.

“It makes me feel good, more confident in my game,” Cavero said. “I haven’t been having the best season so far.”

The Saluki’s final challenge of the day had them back at their home court. They continued the day’s dominance in doubles by winning all three matches against the Panthers.

SIU wrapped up the evening winning four singles matches against EIU. Three Salukis finished the day with four wins. Cavero, Opieczonek and Kianicka all won their singles and doubles matches against the Jackrabbits and the Panthers.

Coach Dann Nelson said Kianicki has improved in some areas since he arrived at SIU.

“His last two tournaments, he’s done really we’ll,” Nelson said. “I think he’s getting comfortable here.”

The team only has two days off as they travel to Oklahoma for the ITA Regionals Oct 17-21.

“Tulsa’s a very tough tournament, several nationally ranked teams will be there,” Nelson said. “We just want to be able to compete like we belong with those teams.”

Tyler Dixon can be reached at [email protected] or 536-3311 ext. 269.

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