Feb. 20, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - After spending last week training at this alma mater, former Seminole Vahid Mirzadeh took a chance on with a last minute entry into the Delray Beach Open by the Venetian Las Vegas. The chance paid dividends as Mirzadeh would later take down the No. 2 doubles team in the world.
After showing up on Tuesday without a guarantee to play, he and partner Sekou Bangoura, a former collegiate tennis player from the University of Florida, took to the courts to get in a warm-up. At that moment, Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan retired from his singles match with a neck injury.
Moments later, officials walked up to the duo and said to get ready because they would be playing the very next day in their first 250 ATP Doubles Main Draw. Just moments later Mirzadeh and Bangoura realized they would be playing the second best doubles team in the world in the opening round.
In the first round on Wednesday, Mirzadeh and Bangoura were up against Eric Butorac (USA) and Raven Klaasen (RSA), who just reach the finals of the Australian Open.
In the first set, the two teams battled back and forth until Mirzadeh and Bangoura broke back twice to win it 7-5. Butorac and Klaasen took control of the second set to easily win that to force a third set tiebreaker.
Playing on center court, the fans and TV cameras were focused on Mirzadeh and Bangoura as they controlled the tiebreaker to win the match 7-5, 3-6, 10-5 and gain 45 ATP points with the win. What made the moment just a bit more special was the fact his family was in the stands cheering.
"This was just an unbelievable experience and moment for me," said Mirzadeh. It shows I can play with the top 10 teams in the world and it just definitely gives me a confidence boost. We just wanted to compete and attack at the net. We knew this team was very good having just been finalist at the Australian Open. We just stay strong with our tactics."
On Thursday, the duo returned to the court to take on Samuel Groth (AUS) and Max Mirnyi (BLR). Once again, the two teams battled back in forth in the first set and needed to play a tiebreaker but Mirzadeh and Bangoura lost it. In the second set, Groth and Mirnyi used their momentum and closed out the match as they beat Mirzadeh 7-6 (5), 6-4.
"We knew we were going up against another tough team with Max a former number one doubles player in the world," continued Mirzadeh. "They are both big and tall and we watched them play Wednesday and saw they returned very well. We had many chances to close the first set by serving five set points, but they just came up with good returns. Any loss always stings, but I have no regrets."
The Delray Beach Open played host to world renowned players like John Isner, Tommy Haas, Lleyton Hewitt, Sam Querrey and the Bryan Brothers this week.
Next week Mirzadeh will join former Seminole Jean-Yves Aubone at a Futures event in Sunrise, Fla.
Check back to Seminoles.com for all your information on the men's tennis team and follow the team at @FSU_MTennis.