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Tigers take down Owls in Tennessee

SEWANEE, Tennessee — The Kenyon College men’s tennis team ended their second of two days down south at the Tiger Den Invitational with an 8-1 defeat at the hands of the hosting Sewanee University Tigers (1-1).

The Owls will have a week to regroup after opening their grueling schedule with a 1-4 record. Kenyon has a huge test on hand after a brief break when the Owls head to Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 4 to take on the University of Chicago, the No. 1 team in the ITA rankings. The Owls will then fly south to Orlando, Florida, for spring break to kick off a stretch of seven duals in seven days, including matchups against five Top-25 teams.

Despite the loss, Kenyon will carry its No. 20 spot in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) rankings into their spring break schedule. The first ITA poll was released on January 17, with the second iteration of the rankings set to debut on March 17.

Sewanee, ranked 33rd in the ITA poll, set the tone by sweeping the doubles matches, but Kenyon refused to go quietly. The No. 1 match went to a tiebreak after the duos were even throughout, but Luis Andres Platas and Eric Zhang fell 7-4 in the tiebreaker of the 8-7 Tigers win. The home team increased its margin in each subsequent doubles match, winning 8-5 against Paulo Pocasangre Kreling and Eliezer Gonzalez at No. 2 and 8-4 over Evan Dean and Thomas Kallarakal in the No. 3 match.

The Owls secured a singles win in the No. 5 match, but the Tigers clinched the dual by winning the Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 bouts. Despite the decisive victory, the first five singles matches needed to be decided in three sets as both teams traded blows.

Rakkan Audeh delivered Kenyon a singles win for the second day in a row. The sophomore dropped set one 6-2, but he bounced back with a 6-4 victory in set two to force a deciding third set. In the tiebreaker, Audeh gutted out a 10-7 win to clinch the match and put a point on the board for the Owls.

Playing at No. 1, Kondapaneni picked up the first set before falling 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. At No. 2, Platas hung tight in the tiebreaker after winning set two before going down 6-3, 4-6, 7-6. Kallarakal came up a game short in two 7-6 sets, falling 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 in the No. 3 match. At No. 4, Pocasangre Kreling won set two 6-4 but was upended 6-3, 4-6, 7-6. In the No. 6 match, Gonzalez fell 7-5, 6-4.

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