Clemson, S.C. — For the first time since 2014, the Clemson men’s tennis team (5-3, 1-0 ACC) downed Florida State (3-4, 0-1 ACC) in a 4-3 thriller in the conference opener on Friday night. Freshman Ryuhei Azuma earned his first career win over a ranked opponent in his first match of the kind.
After falling to the Seminoles on Court 3 in doubles, Yizhou Liu and Teodor Giusca picked up a win on Court 1, 6-4. Spencer Whitaker and Azuma followed with a 7-5 win at line two to clinch the point for Clemson. Carlos Kelaidis earned the first singles victory of the match for Tigers, a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 4. Azuma followed closely behind defeating No. 77 Alex Knaff on Court 2, 6-3, 6-1. Despite Clemson picking up three-straight points, Florida State rallied to tie the match at three-all. However, Whitaker sealed the Tiger victory fending off Andreja Petrovic 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 on Court 6.
“I am so proud of the boys tonight,” said Head Coach Robbie Weiss. “They competed their hearts out and played as a team. The doubles point is always a pivotal point and it was the difference tonight. We changed our doubles lineup and it worked out for us. Carlos stepped up big tonight for us as did Ryuhei and Spencer. Spencer, with the deciding point on the line, did not not back down and played fearlessly to close out the match. It is a great feeling being 1-0 in the ACC heading to Miami. We will enjoy this win tonight and then set our sights on a tough Miami team who we play Sunday.”
The Tigers finish out their weekend road trip in Coral Gables, Fla. where they take on Miami on Sunday at noon.
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