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Men’s tennis finishes strong, brings titles back to Hilltop

After struggling to start the season, the men’s tennis team returned to the Hilltop boasting four titles claimed at last weekend’s Western Illinois Invite.
In singles play, the Braves went 16-5 and had two individual champions, and the winning didn’t stop there.
Bradley went on to pick up seven wins in doubles play and take home another two titles.
“It was a very successful weekend,” coach Jesse Plote said. “A lot of guys went very deep. It was great to have two singles [and] two doubles to win flights.”
Four players found themselves in championship matches after the conclusion of the first day of play, and seniors Evgeny Samoylov and Michel Macara-chvili were able to cash in.
After defeating opponents from Missouri Valley College and Graceland in the opening round, Samoylov squared off against Barry Young of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
The match didn’t start out well for  the Bradley competitor and he dropped the first set, 3-6.
Samoylov didn’t give up and rebounded to win the next two sets, 7-5, 10-8, to take home the Flight B singles championship.

Macara-chvili followed in his teammate’s footsteps.
After winning his first match over a Truman State opponent on Friday, Macara-chvili found himself down, 9-6, in the third set of his semi-final match. 
He then battled back to win the match, 11-9, and reach the Flight D championship.
Macara-chvili said he never had doubts about reaching the finals.
“I never thought I would lose,” he said. “I played with a lot of confidence because I wanted to win and that’s what happened.”
He then took advantage of his shot at the title, defeating Alvar Tibalta of Missouri Valley College in straight sets, 6-0, 7-5, to win the flight.
“You learn that you have downs, and you have to be very persistent and mentally stable to overcome the situation,” Macara-chvili said.
Junior Callen Fraychineaud and sophomore Trevor McGrath both fell in their championship matches.
“We all competed really well and it showed in our results,” Fraychineaud said. “I’m happy with the way I played as a whole on the weekend. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t do better in the finals.”
Fraychineaud lost 6-2, 6-0, to Graceland’s Remy Caffardo in the Flight A championship, and McGrath fell to Alan Christiensen of SIUE in Flight F’s final match.
Bradley also had two third-place finishers in freshman Mitch Osborne and junior Richard Robertson, and junior Milos Romic finished fifth.
Plote was proud of how his team finished.
“I was happy to see the guys’ composure and competitiveness,” Plote said. “The great thing was to see how they hung in there and they did it in a classy fashion.”
After going 3-0 to open doubles play, the Braves found themselves with chances to bring home more titles.
Romic and Macara-chvili won their opening match and then defeated a SIUE pairing, 8-5, to claim the Flight B doubles title.
The pairing of Robertson and Osborne defeated a Missouri Valley College pairing in the semifinals before taking down a Truman State team, 8-2, to win the Flight C double championship.
“I changed the doubles teams,” Plote said. “It was good to see how the guys responded to those challenges.”
The Braves don’t return to action until they open the Vredevelt tournament in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Oct. 31.