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Karim Al-Amin shines for Blue Raider tennis in Alabama Four-In-The-Fall

By MTN Sports Reporter: Dixon Riggins

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders men’s tennis team sent four players to compete in the Alabama Four-In-The-Fall Tournament last weekend. The tournament took place at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL. The Blue Raiders competed against the hosting Crimson Tide, as well as Louisville and Tulane.

MTSU sent four players grouping them each in two pairs. Sophomores Shu Matsuoka and Karim Al-Amin (In his first season at MTSU after transferring from the University of New Orleans) made up the blue team, while freshmen Igor Mandou Berranger and Kristian Thomas were grouped together in the white team.

The white team (Berranger and Thomas) struggled but did pick up a 6-4 victory over Louisville’s black team. Berranger continued his singles dominance in his early Blue Raider career posting another 2-1 record this weekend with both singles wins also coming against the Cardinals. He went 2-1 in singles at his previous tournament outing at the Battle of the Beach in September.

The blue team (Al-Amin and Matsuoka) dominated the tournament, going undefeated in their doubles matches. The duo picked up a 6-3 win over Tulane’s green team on Friday, edged out a 7-6 (0) win over Alabama’s crimson team on Saturday, and notched another 6-3 win over Tulane knocking off their blue team on Sunday.

Al-Amin’s dominance over Tulane translated to singles as well, picking up both of his victories against the Green Wave. His one defeat was competitive as well, taking the first game against Alabama’s Roan Jones by a score of 7-5, before losing the next two and the match.

“Here he’s surrounded by a lot more players, us coaches are truly trying to push him on the court and off the court,” head coach Jimmy Borendame said on Al-Amin’s transition into a new program and early success with the team. “He came out and had a couple good wins, actually almost could’ve gone undefeated on the whole weekend. He made some nice strides.”

“Overall, I was more happy than two weeks before but still, you know, lots of stuff to work on.” Coach Borendame said of the entire team’s performance this weekend.

Coach Borendame also highlighted the doubles teams’ improvements saying, “I think our record was 4-2 in doubles overall, but could’ve easily been 5-1, so that’s good considering three out of four of those guys are new guys.”

The Blue Raiders also had players competing at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, OK this past week. They have two more tournaments before wrapping up the fall season. Their next matchup takes place at the ITA Regional Championships in Chattanooga, TN starting October 12.


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