The Alabama men’s tennis team began its 2020 season with two wins over UAB, 6-1, and then against Chattanooga, 6-1, on Saturday inside the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Indoor Tennis Facility.

The Crimson Tide improves to 2-0, while dropping the Blazers to 0-2 and the Mocs to 0-1.

“I felt like physically we held up today with it being a doubleheader,” said Alabama head coach George Husack. “Mentally there were a few lapses, especially in doubles in both matches. I think we were more passive in doubles versus UAB but came out laser-focused in singles. Against Chattanooga, I thought we were a bit up and down, but in singles they ramped back up.”

Senior Edson Ortiz and junior Patrick Kaukovalta started the doubles season off on the right foot with a 6-2 victory over Lusovsky/Postolka of UAB. Junior Jeremy Gschwendtner and senior partner Zhe Zhou dropped their match on court two forcing the doubles point to come down to court three. Junior Riccardo Roberto and freshman Marcelo Sepulveda Garza fell 7-6(5) as UAB took the 1-0 advantage to start.

The Crimson Tide dominated singles play against UAB by winning all six of its matches. Zhou impressed at the No. 3 spot after he blanked Nikolai Manchev, 6-0, 6-0, to tie things up at 1-1. Sepulveda earned his first dual match victory of his career after the freshman disposed of Tom El Safadi, 6-1, 6-1, to put the Tide on top, 2-1. A few minutes later, Kaukovalta finished his straight set win over Giovani Pasini and then Gschwendtner clinched the win for Alabama, 6-2, 6-2, against Daniel Janko.

The final two matches were played out with No. 96 Roberto winning 6-2, 6-4, against Michael Lusovsky and Ortiz fending off Roman Postolka, 6-4, 6-4, to make the final, 6-1.

Against Chattanooga, the duo of Zhou/Kaukovalta gave the Tide the early advantage with their 6-4 victory to start off doubles action. The Mocs fought back after picking up a win on court two, once again making the doubles point come down to the third court. Junior Sam Fischer and Sepulveda Garza edged Dewald/Plaisted, 7-5, to give Alabama the 1-0 lead to begin the match.

In singles action against the Mocs, the Crimson Tide dominated by winning the first five matches to go up 6-0. Kaukovalta started things off with an easy 6-2, 6-1 win over Kerim Hyatt, while freshman Avi Shugar quickly followed with his 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Kaisei Kuroki, for his first career dual match singles win. With UA up 3-0 Sepulveda Garza clinched the match with his second singles victory of the day, this time 6-3, 6-2 over Jacob Marshall.

The last three matches were played out with Gschwendtner and Zhou improving to 2-0 in singles on the day, while No. 96 dropped to Niklas Gerdes in the No. 1 spot.

The Crimson Tide is back in action on Monday for another doubleheader versus Samford (1 p.m.) and North Alabama (6 p.m.) inside the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Indoor Tennis Facility.