TEMPE – Sun Devil men's tennis (1-0) opened its season with a 4-3 home victory over Florida Atlantic (1-2) Thursday evening at the Whiteman Tennis Center. ASU notched the doubles point from senior pair Andrea Bolla/Makey Rakotomalala and sophomore/freshman duo George Stoupe/Moritz Hoffmann, both winning their matches 6-3. Bolla and senior Nathan Ponwith also won their singles matches, with Stoupe bringing in the final point in a three-set nailbiter to secure the Sun Devils' win.
"First win of the season feels amazing, it's great to be back on the tennis courts," head coach Matt Hill said. "I'm super happy with the team's energy today. Their chemistry was good, they were pushing each other and working together as team."
Hill had nothing but praise for Stoupe's match-clinching victory at No. 6.
"We feel really comfortable with George in huge situations. Every since he joined us last January he's always performed well in pressure moments so I felt really comfortable with him. He's been serving really well and it was great to see him get back to his tactics and staying in control. He did really well in the third set in that high-pressure situation and that's when he performs at his best."
How it happened
The evening began with Bolla/Rakotomalala on court two and Stoupe/Hoffmann on court three winning their doubles matches, 6-3, and putting the Sun Devils ahead 1-0. Both pairs took early leads and never looked back.
Bolla secured the first singles win for the Sun Devils, winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-2. Ponwith followed at No.2 , winning 7-6, 6-2. Stoupe looked ready to clinch the victory for the Sun Devils early in singles play after winning his first set 6-2 and having a 6-5 lead in the second, but FAU's Finn Stodder clawed back and won the second set 7-6, forcing a third set that would decide the entire match after the Owls swept courts one, four and five. Stoupe stayed calm and collected as he fought through the third frame, and ASU rushed the court following his victory.
The Sun Devils will travel to Austin, Texas to take on No. 4 Texas Sunday at 11:00 a.m. MST. A four-match homestand will follow for the Sun Devils, starting on Feb. 3 against Grand Canyon. No public attendance is permitted at this time at ASU home matches.