Varapongsittikul sends UNCG past Winthrop 4-3 in dual opener
For post-match video of coach Thomas Mozur, click here.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG freshman Chanon Varapongsittikul won a three-set epic at No. 5 singles as the Spartans rallied past defending Big South champion Winthrop in their dual opener at the Starmount Forest Country Club Indoor Courts on Saturday, 4-3.
With UNCG trailing 3-2 in singles play, freshman Ahmet Sarioglu picked up a 6-4, 6-4 win over Nestor Vargas at No. 6 singles to knot the match at 3. All eyes then turned to the Court 4, where Varapongsittikul and Winthrop's Guy Kubi were locked in a tight duel.
Varapongsittikul picked up the first set 7-6, winning the tiebreaker 7-4. After Kubi took the second set 7-5, Varapongsittikul raced out to a 4-1 lead and hung on for the 6-4 win in the decisive third set to bring the 5 1/2 hour marathon match against the Eagles to an end.
"Wow, I'm stressed out," UNCG coach Thomas Mozur said. "But we got a good win. It came down to a couple of freshman players, first time out, and we had 3-all and a freshman to win the match, and he came through under extreme pressure. That's a good start. Winthrop's a very good team. They won the Big South last year. I knew it was going to be a battle. They're talented. I feel good where we're at, and it's always nice to get that first victory of the year. It helps a lot."
The Spartans (1-0) picked up the doubles point on the strength of wins at Nos. 1 and 2. At No. 1, Orcun Seyrek and Sarioglu downed Sergey Belov and Yuta Hirokawa, 8-6. After Nadav Ruppin and Dejon Bivens topped Jacob Wright and Yaroslav Litus at No. 3, 8-6, UNCG got an 8-5 win from Timion Meijs and Varapongsittikul over Kubi and Liran Levy at No. 2 to secure the doubles point.
Litus made it a 2-0 UNCG advantage with a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 4 singles, but the Eagles (1-2) took the next three singles matches to charge into the lead.
Levy downed Wright at No. 3, 6-3, 6-2. Belov followed suit at No. 1, edging Seyrek 7-6 (9-7), 7-5. Seyrek entered the match ranked No. 11 in the Carolina Regional by the ITA.
Bivens picked up a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Meijs at No. 2, giving Winthrop a 3-2 lead and putting the pressure on the pair of freshmen at the bottom of the UNCG order.
Varaponsittikul and Sarioglu delivered as the defending SoCon champion Spartans opened their season with a win for the third straight year.
The Spartans return to action Saturday, Feb. 5, for a 3 p.m. contest at UNC Asheville.
UNCG 4, Winthrop 3
1. BELOV, Sergey (WU) def. Orcun Seyrek (UNCG) 7-6 (9-7), 7-5
2. BIVENS, Dejon (WU) def. Timion Meijs (UNCG) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
3. LEVY, Liran (WU) def. Jacob Wright (UNCG) 6-3, 6-2
4. Yaroslav Litus (UNCG) def. RUPPIN, Nadav (WU) 6-3, 6-4
5. Ch. Varapongsittikul (UNCG) def. KUBI, Guy (WU) 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-4
6. Ahmet Sarioglu (UNCG) def. VARGAS, Nestor (WU) 6-4, 6-4
1. Orcun Seyrek/Ahmet Sarioglu (UNCG) def. BELOV, Sergey/HIROKAWA, Yuta (WU) 8-6
2. Timion Meijs/Ch. Varapongsittikul (UNCG) def. LEVY, Liran/KUBI, Guy (WU) 8-5
3. RUPPIN, Nadav/BIVENS, Dejon (WU) def. Jacob Wright/Yaroslav Litus (UNCG) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (4,3,1,2,6,5)
- UNCG -