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    SEC Tennis Central - Friday

    Kentucky Men Earn 4-2 Win In ITA Kick-Off Semi
    LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 9 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team advanced to the championship match in the Lexington, Ky., regional of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Kick-Off Weekend with a thrilling 4-2 win over No. 47 Michigan State on Friday afternoon at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center.
    “Overall, we had a really good performance,” UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. “Michigan State is a very good team, and even though they may be ranked around 50 in the country, they play better than that. With that being said, we know that we will have to play better tomorrow if we want to beat Texas or South Carolina.”
    UK improved to 4-0 on the season in the doubles competition, once again clinching the two matches necessary to earn the point in the match. Friday’s doubles’ wins came on courts one and three, as No. 35 Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai continued their great play earning an 8-5 win on court No. 1. In addition, senior captain Anthony Rossi and Grant Roberts paired up to clinch the point with an 8-5 win on court No. 3 to give UK the 1-0 lead in the match.
    “The doubles point is always important,” Kauffmann said. “When you win it, you get a lot of momentum, it’s a point on the board and we know how difficult it is to win four out of the six singles matches. We know that if we want to be the team we know we can become, we are going to have to win some matches when we don’t win the doubles point, but it always helps.”
    Junior Tom Jomby got singles started off the right way for Kentucky, earning a 6-0, 6-1 win over the Spartans Drew Lied in less than an hour to give Kentucky the quick 2-0 overall lead in the match. Jomby played a splendid match, crushing his serve for the duration of the match, and playing solid tennis while on defense. Jomby did not drop serve the entire match and was solid throughout the course of the afternoon.
    Kentucky would up its lead to 3-0 when Rossi would deliver a great performance in the second-set tiebreaker and clinch yet another straight-set win for the senior. Rossi took his match on court No. 1 over the Spartan’s ace Aaron Pfister 6-2, 7-6 (4). The win for the No. 94-ranked player in the country upped his record to 4-0 on the young season and he is also undefeated in doubles on the 2013 season as well.
    “I really liked what I saw out of my captain today,” Kauffmann said. “I am proud of the way he was able to play today and get the win for us. That match was a big win for us and he is really playing well.”
    Michigan State would earn its first point on the afternoon when Gijs Linders of Michigan State knocked off Alejandro Gomez in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. The point made the overall score in the match 3-1 before Sparty would climb back in it.
    MSU condensed UK’s lead to 3-2 when true freshman John Patrick Mulland of Michigan State claimed a three-set win over Juan Pablo Murra for Kentucky 6-2, 2-6, 6-4. The final set was a back-and-forth affair, with many long rallies and counterpunching points, as Mulland and Murra held serve for the final set up until 5-4 in the third. Mulland served first in the final frame and broke at 5-4 to claim the match.
    The two points would be all Michigan State could muster on the afternoon, as Kentucky took control of the No. 5 and 6 matches from the beginning. In the third wave of matches, sophomore transfer Charlie Minc clinched the match for UK with a 6-3, 6-0 win and Grant Roberts was ahead in his match a set and a break when the match was abandoned.
    Minc, who just joined the team days ago after transferring, clinched the match on court No. 5 and improved to 2-0 on the season in singles after picking up a win in Bloomington in UK’s road win at No. 22 Indiana on Wednesday.
    “I was really proud of the way Charlie played today,” Kauffmann said. I thought he came out ready to play and was very businesslike from the start of the match. He is a very good player with a lot of potential for us, so it was good to see him perform like thatagain in the match.”
    Roberts was ahead in his match 6-4, 2-0 when the match was called and was serving very well for the Wildcats and was solid in the defensive court.

    Arkansas Women fall to No. 14 Northwestern at ITA Kickoff Weekend

    EVANSTON, Ill. – The University of Arkansas women’s tennis team dropped a tough battle to the host team in their opening match of ITA Kickoff Weekend. The Razorbacks’ young talent performed well, but the team fell to No. 14 Northwestern 5-2. The loss drops Arkansas to 3-1 on the season.
    Arkansas dropped the doubles point to start the match, as UA lost at number two and number three doubles. The number 1 doubles duo of Claudine Paulson and Segou Jonker was tied at 7-7 with the No. 42 duo of Linda Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton, which went unfinished when the Wildcats clinched the point.

    Northwestern clinched the victory when No. 67 Kate Turvy defeated Yang Pang 6-1, 6-2.  After falling behind in the match 5-0, both Paulson and Ana Lorena Belmar Hernandez took their matches into a third set and each earned victories. Paulson earned the first Razorback victory of the day with a 10-8 win in a super tiebreak over Veronica Corning, defeating her 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-8). Belmar Hernandez also earned a three set victory by rallying to defeat Nida Hamilton 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7-3). 

    "Full credit to Northwestern for the victory,” head coach Michael Hegarty said. “I thought we showed a good amount of toughness out there today and more than enough ability. That being said, Northwestern was a bit too experienced in the big moments. We take plenty of positives out of such a good quality match this early in the spring season."

    Georgia Men Edge Vanderbilt 4-3 In Opener

    ATHENS, Ga. --- The No. 6 Georgia men’s tennis team opened its dual match season Friday, defeating 37th Vanderbilt by a 4-3 score at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility on day one of the ITA Kickoff in Athens.

    The Bulldogs won the doubles point, then snagged wins on court Nos. 1, 4, and 5 to pull out the win and improve to 1-0 on the early season. Georgia will take on 32nd-ranked Virginia Commonwealth at 2 p.m. on Saturday with the winner advancing to the prestigious ITA National Team Indoor Championships next month in Seattle.

    “It was a tough match,” said 25th-year head coach Manuel Diaz. “We expected Vanderbilt to be very good. They have as good a 1-2 punch at the top of their lineup as anybody. KU [Singh] played a great match vs. Ryan Lipman at No. 1, and A.J. [Gonzales Austin] got off to an amazing start at No. 2 and won the first set 6-1, before Nathan [Pasha] made some adjustments. I’m proud of our freshmen on the court with the match on the line – it was tremendous for Austin Smith to clinch it for us.”

    Georgia picked up the early 1-0 lead with the doubles point. The Bulldogs got an 8-3 win for the team of Singh and Pasha over Austin and Suresh Eswaran, 8-3, at the second spot, before Vandy rebounded with an 8-4 win for Jeff Offerdahl and Rhys Johnson over Georgia’s Eric Diaz and Garrett Brasseaux. The Bulldogs clinched the point with the win at court one, as the No. 5 pair of Ben Wagland and Hernus Pieters defeated the Commodores’ Lipman and Marc van der Merwe, 8-4.

    Georgia went up 2-0 when the freshman Wagland cruised to a 6-3, 6-0 win over van der Merwe, but Vanderbilt got on the board at No. 3 when Johnson downed 16th-ranked Pieters 6-3, 6-3 to cut it to 2-1. Georgia took a 3-1 lead when No. 8 Singh rolled to a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 17 Lipman, but Vandy again came back to make it 3-2 with a tough three-set win for 20th-ranked Austin, going 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 over No. 19 Pasha at No. 2.

    That left just Georgia’s freshman duo of Smith and Nick Wood on court in their dual match debuts, and Smith pulled out the clincher for the Bulldogs with his 6-3, 7-5 victory over Offerdahl to seal the win for Georgia at No. 5. On the remaining court, Wood surged to a quick 6-1 win in the first set over 114th-ranked Yee at No. 6, but Yee came back to collect the 1-6, 7-6(3), 1-0(7) tiebreak victory to make the final score 4-3.

    Ole Miss Men Defeat Columbia In Season Opener

    OXFORD, Miss. – The No. 13 ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team defeated 44th-ranked Columbia 4-1 Friday afternoon at the Gillom Sports Center in the team’s season opener and first round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.

    The Rebels will meet NC State, a 4-2 winner over Louisville earlier in the day, at 1 p.m. Saturday.  The winner of that match will advance to the National Team Indoor Final 16 in Seattle Feb. 15-18.

    Ole Miss got the doubles point and then secured the top three singles matches for the win, two of which went three sets.

    "I thought we played well to get the doubles point, and then played exceptional, fought hard at one, two and three,” head coach Billy Chadwick said.  “We had to get two of them in three sets.  This was a very good Columbia team, and we knew that coming in. They’re ranked 44th in the country and that’s very good for an Ivy League team. They don’t get to play the same teams we do throughout the season, so that tells you they win a lot of their matches.”

    The All-American tandem of Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen won comfortably at No. 1 doubles defeating Columbia’s 17th-ranked duo of Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur 8-4.    Johan Backstrom and Stefan Lindmark beat Dragos Ignat and Eric Rubin 8-7(2) to clinch the point.

    Sophomore William Kallberg, ranked No. 95 in the nation, downed Ignat 6-2, 6-4 at No. 3 singles to make it 2-0 Ole Miss. 

    It took a little longer to get the final two points, but the All-Americans came through in three-setters to deliver the win.   Both did it differently.   Lutjen won his first set 6-2 and served for the match at 5-4 in the second, against Narayana.  Four games later, Columbia was back in business winning the set 7-5.

    Meanwhile, Scholtz, who had lost his first set 6-4 to Winston Lin, played a great tiebreaker to win the second set 7-6(1). 

    The final two sets for both however, went the Rebels way.  Scholtz won his 6-2 to make it 3-0, and then Lutjen got his 6-1 to finish off the Lions. 

    “Nik didn’t play as well as he’s capable of playing, but a lot of that had to do with his opponent,” Chadwick said.  “He was putting a lot of pressure on Nik, because he was making no errors. Nik actually picked it up and started creating the action.  He was kind of getting the cobwebs out since he didn’t go to California with us.  He had not been able to play much the last couple of weeks, and it showed.  It was good for him to get this match under his belt.”

    Gamecock Men Fall to Longhorns, 4-1

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – No. 40 South Carolina struck first with the doubles point, but could not hold off No. 17 Texas in singles action, falling to the Longhorns 4-1 in men’s tennis action at Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in ITA Kickoff Weekend. The Gamecocks will now take on No. 47 Michigan State at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the consolation match of the event.

    The Gamecocks (4-1) were in just the “dog fight” head coach Josh Goffi predicted right out of the gate. Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov were efficient in an 8-5 win over Nick Naumann and Chris Camillone at No. 1 doubles. The Longhorns leveled the match with an 8-4 win in the No. 3 spot. The doubles point was in the hands of Kyle Koch and Harry Menzies, who rallied back from trailing David Hollner and Daniel Whitehead by an early service break to level the set at 7-7. In the tiebreak, the two foes traded points through 9-9 with each winning in his serve. The Longhorns surged ahead 10-9, but with the match on the line, Koch and Menzies dug deep and powered through to win the next three points and clinch the doubles point with the 8-7 (10) victory.

    Singles got off to a good start for the Gamecocks in two of the four matches on court, but the Longhorns enjoyed early service breaks in the other two contests. In the No. 3 match, Cox fell behind three games into his set against Whitehead and could not recover, falling 6-3, 6-1. In his first spring outing of the season, Andrew Adams fell behind 2-3 when No. 43 Sundanwa Sitaram scored the first service break of the No. 2 match. The Gamecocks’ top returner answered immediately to get back on serve a 3-3. The Longhorns’ junior from India kept the pressure on, finally breaking through to go up 5-4 and closed the set 6-4. Adams dropped his serve three games into the second set and could not recover, falling 6-1 as the Longhorns claimed a 2-1 lead in the match.

    Mihov, facing a former Big 12 rival, picked up where he left off his career at Oklahoma. Now playing in the No. 1 position for the Garnet and Black, he pressed No. 31 Soren Hess-Olesen throughout the match. The two were on serve through six games before Hess-Olesen managed to break Mihov’s serve to take a 4-3 lead that he held to a 6-4 first set. The Gamecock junior dropped serve to open the second set, but continued to hammer away at Hess-Olesen, breaking back to level the set a 5-5. The Longhorns’ top player responded by winning the next two games for the 7-5 victory, putting his team within a point of the win.

    The fate of the match rested on the No. 4 match with Koch, who shrugged off a 6-2 first-set loss and an early service break in the second to stretch Lloyd Glasspool to his limit. Trailing 4-3, Koch gutted out the next three games for a 6-4 victory that sent the match to a third set. Glasspool seized the momentum back with a break to open the third set and held off Koch to win the match 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 and deliver the team victory for Texas.

    Arkansas Men Defeat Georgia State

    Charlottesville, Va. - The No. 55 Arkansas Razorbacks defeated No. 62 Georgia State in the opening round of the ITA Kickoff 4-2 on Friday afternoon. Arkansas improves to 3-0 this season while Georgia State falls to 2-1.

    Sophomore Jovan Parlic clinched the match for the Razorbacks with his thrilling victory over Lucas Santa Ana taking both sets 7-6, 7-6.

    “I was very proud of our guys and how they rebounded after doubles,” Head Coach Robert Cox said. “All six of our guys came out in singles with the winning mindset and got the job done.”   

    Freshman Santiago Munoz collected the first point for the Razorbacks with a victory over Paul Schuette 6-4, 6-4 in the third position. Munoz is now 2-0 in dual play as a Razorback. Junior Mike Nott gave Arkansas the lead with his two-set victory over Sofiane Chevellier 6-4, 6-3.

    After winning his first set 6-4, Ward showed his experience taking down Robert Schulze 7-6 in the second set and collecting the third point for Arkansas. Ward is now 3-0 for his senior season.  

    Lehmann showed a solid comeback to No. 55 Victor Valente after he dropped his first set 6-4. The senior rebounded taking the second set 6-3 and was tied 5-5 when the match was concluded.

    Georgia State took an early lead claiming the doubles point by winning two of the three matches. Seniors Mike Ward and Gregoire Lehmann recorded their second victory for the Razorbacks this season 8-3.

    Texas A&M upsets No. 10 Stanford, 4-0
    PALO ALTO, Calif. –After a delayed start, freshmen Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant captured three of four points to help the No. 26 Texas A&M men’s tennis team upset No. 10 and host school Stanford, 4-0. The Aggies advance to the championship match against No. 27 San Diego tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. (CT) at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif.. Texas A&M improves to 3-0 on the year while Stanford falls to 1-1.
    "The guys really competed very well tonight,” said Texas A&M Head Coach Steve Denton. “We had a delay due to weather but they came out ready to play. This is an exciting win for this young team, but we have to regroup and get ready to play another excellent team in San Diego tomorrow for the right to go to Seattle. That was our goal when we left Aggieland was to get to Seattle and that takes winning two matches."
    Texas A&M claimed the doubles point with wins from the tandems of Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant as well as sophomore Jackson Withrow and junior Junior Ore. The No. 6 ranked duo of Adams and Vinsant, playing from the No. 2 position, defeated Denis Lin and Daniel Ho, 8-5, to improve to 3-0 on the spring and 14-4 overall. Withrow and Ore, playing from the No. 1 spot, rallied by winning five consecutive games to defeat John Morrissey and Matt Kandath, 8-6, to clinch the point and improve their record to 2-0 on the young season.
    “We were down a break at the No. 1 doubles late and were able to come back and take the doubles point and with a young team a fast start is crucial. I thought we needed a little cushion,” said Denton.
    In singles, Jackson Withrow wasted no time in claiming the first point by defeating Robert Stineman 6-0, 6-1. Shortly after, Shane Vinsant pushed the Aggie lead to 3-0 after downing Maciek Romanowicz 6-4, 6-3. Finally, Harrison Adams clinched the match in dramatic fashion by overwhelming Nolan Paige, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).
    “We talked about the importance of taking the first sets in singles and we won five of the first sets.
    Jackson (Withrow) played the best that we have seen him play against a quality opponent in Stineman and then to have our two freshmen step up and play well was very encouraging. Shane (Vinsant) was able to get a straight sets win and then Harry (Harrison Adams) was able to clinch the match with a great battle in the second set winning the tiebreaker.”