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Rao advances to round of 16 at ITA East Regional

Philadelphia, Pa.--Binghamton sophomore Akshay Rao (New Delhi, India) continued his successful season by advancing to the round of 16 at the men's ITA East Regional this past weekend.

Rao, who was seeded 32nd out of 96 competitors, earned a first round bye. He then opened up his weekend with a second-round win over Nick Gravagna of Manhattan, 6-2, 6-2.

In the third round, Rao upset Harvard's Mark Riddell, the tournament's No. 6 seed, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). Before pulling off the win, Rao had to fight off a match point.

UMBC's Joseph Novotny ended Rao's run in the round of 16 but not without a fight. Rao lost 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a match that lasted three hours. He withstood seven match points before Novotny was able to pull off the win.

Despite the loss, Rao ended the fall portion of the season with a sparkling 13-1 record.

"For a sophomore to come into this weekend and do what he did was great," head coach Michael Starke said. "He was gritty in fighting off all those match points."

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