The Liberty men's tennis team opened its spring slate with a 5-2 victory over visiting King at the Crosswhite Athletic Club.
With the win, the Flames improve to 1-0 on the season and 3-0 in the all-time series against King, while the Tornado falls to 2-2 on the year.
Liberty took the doubles point to start the day by winning two of three matches. Vince Salas and Diego Castano dropped a 6-3 decision to Alejandro Feliciano and Lennard Keswani at No. 2 doubles, but the remaining two Flames doubles teams won in narrow fashion to capture the match's first overall point.
The No. 1 doubles squad of Eddie Gutierrez and Ryker Heller played a tight match against the pairing of Moritz Poswiat and Lennard Neumann and came out on top. The pair of sophomores led 6-5 before King knotted the match up at 6-6 to force a tiebreaker. Gutierrez and Heller prevailed in the tiebreaker to win, 7-6 (7-3).
Shortly thereafter, Liberty's No. 3 team of Chase Burton and Samuel Brown topped the Tornado's Kyle Logue and Charles Jabaley, breaking their serve to earn a 7-5 victory.
In singles play, Gutierrez jumped out to a 4-1 edge in both sets en route to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Feliciano at No. 3 singles. In the No. 2 spot, Salas led throughout most of his match on the way to a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Keswani to put Liberty up 3-0.
Gutierrez teamed up with Heller for a doubles victory and also won in singles against King on Saturday.
Burton clinched the overall match for the Flames with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Poswiat at No. 1 singles. The Naples, Fla., native led 4-3 in set one before taking two of the final three games. In the second set, the freshman led 6-5 and broke serve to capture the match.
After sitting out of doubles play, Max Borcuti was slotted in the No. 5 singles spot to face King's Arturo Alcaro. Trailing 4-3 in set one, the sophomore took the final three games to win the first set. Using the momentum, Borcuti cruised to a 6-1 second set victory to win, 6-4, 6-1.
In the final match of the afternoon, Heller dropped his match to Jabaley, 6-4, 0-6, 1-0 (10-5) to settle the final outcome at 5-2. The final set was played as a tiebreaker up to 10 points.
Liberty plays its second match of the day at 6 p.m. against Bluefield State.