By Griffin O’Hara
The U.S. Tennis Team saw mixed results on its first day of competition at the Sofia Deaflympics, with two wins and three losses.
Turkey’s Enes Unver defeated the U.S.’s Richard Noel, 6-0, 6-1, in Noel’s first match of his second Deaflympics. Henning Zambrano of Ecuador beat American Javier Molinar, 7-6, 2-6, 6-1.
After losing his first set due to nerves, Molinar staged a comeback in the second set but suffered an injury and struggled in the third set.
Daniel Hangstefer won, 6-0, 6-0, against Turkey’s Mahmut Aydin. Hangstefer’s next match may be more difficult, though, as he next faces No. 2 Gabor Mathe of Hungary.
On the women’s team, Laura Chapman won 6-0, 6-2 against Susanna Ricci-Bitti of Italy.
Ho Chiu-Hsiang of Taiwan defeated Jennifer Woyhan, 6-0, 6-1.
Woyann had hoped her opponent would be slow by the heat, much as when Ho defaulted in the semifinal of the 2010 USA Deaf Tennis Open in Las Vegas, held in triple-degree heat, said Howard Gorrell, chair of the U.S. Deaf Sports Federation’s tennis committee.