Ben Barad had an important singles win for Tufts
MIDDLEBURY, VT - With the team score tied 4-4, Tufts' Nick Telkedzhiev (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) and Middlebury's Alex Johnston played the #1 singles match into a third-set tie-breaker won by Johnston to ultimately give the Panthers a 5-4 victory in exciting NESCAC men's tennis action on Sunday.
Johnston had won the first set 6-4, but Telkedzhiev stayed alive with a 6-3 win in the second set. They needed a tie-breaker to decide it in the third set and Johnston was a 7-6 (5) winner. With that, the Panthers improved to 15-2 overall and 5-1 in the league. Tufts is now 8-5 and 2-4.
Upstart Tufts gave ninth-ranked Middlebury all they could handle. The Panthers came out of doubles with a 2-1 lead. After the third doubles match finished 8-6 in favor of the Panthers, Johnson and Andrew Lebovitz combined for an 8-4 Panthers win at #1 doubles making it 2-0. Telkedzhiev and senior tri-captain Mark Westerfield (Menlo Park, CA) put Tufts on the board with an 8-4 victory at #2.
In singles, the Jumbos were down 3-1 before wins by freshman Jay Glickman (Chappaqua, NY) at #3, senior Ben Barad (San Rafael, CA) at #2 and by sophomore Brian Tan (Orinda, CA) at #6 helped make it a 4-4 tie. Barad and Glickman rolled through their matches, but Tan earned a 7-5 third-set win to keep Tufts in it tied at 4-4.
Fighting for a berth into the competitive six-team NESCAC Championship, Tufts plays a key match at Colby on Wednesday at 4 pm. The Panters are at Skidmore on Tuesday at 4.