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After dropping two-straight matches to highly ranked opponents (Michigan State and Georgia), the Commodores (4-2) have reeled off wins in their last three duals. With the loss, Tulane dropped to 2-2 on the season.
The Commodores opened the day with wins in No. 1 and No. 2 doubles to take a 1-0 lead into singles. Ryan Lipman and Rhys Johnson had to hold a off the pesky duo from Tulane, Idan Mark and Dominik Koepfer, to win 8-6. This is the second-straight match Lipman and Johnson have paired up in doubles.
Gonzales Austin and Suresh Eswaran also had a tough time in their doubles match, but were able to hang on to win, 8-6, over Rodrigo Rappaccioli and Alex Van Cott. Austin and Eswaran improved to 4-1 when playing together in doubles.
Tulane’s Joe Young and Ian Van Cott defeated Jeff Offerdahl and Marc van der Merwe, 8-4 in the No. 3 spot.
The Green Wave tied the match at 1-1 after a win in No. 3 singles. (Dominik) Koepfer defeated Johnson, 6-3, 6-3. However, the Commodores would immediately go back in front after van der Merwe recorded a win in the No. 5 position. The Stellenbosch, South Africa, native beat Adam Bernstein, 6-1, 6-1.
Lipman would then give Vanderbilt a 3-1 lead with his win in No. 1 singles. The redshirt junior defeated Tulane’s (Idan) Mark, 6-2, 6-1, to improve to 5-1 in dual play this season and 15-5 overall.
Offerdahl secured the win for Vanderbilt in No. 4 singles over Alex Van Cott, 6-1, 6-1. Offerdahl finished off an impressive weekend of singles play, as he was nearly unbeatable on Sunday.
To put the finishing touches on the win, Austin took down (Joe) Young, 6-4, 7-5. The win for the 20th-ranked player in the country didn’t come easy, as he received a tough match from Young. Kris Yee then tacked on another point with his win in No. 6 singles. Yee defeated Ian Van Cott, 7-6(8-6), 6-3.
Vanderbilt travels to Chicago to take on Northwestern (Feb. 8) and Harvard (Feb. 10), who are both ranked in the top 35 in the ITA Rankings.
Kentucky Outlasts Oklahoma in Marathon Match
LEXINGTON, Ky. - In a match that lasted upwards of six hours on a bitter Sunday afternoon in Lexington, Ky., the No. 9 University of Kentucky men's tennis team outlasted No. 8 Oklahoma by a score of 4-3, as the Wildcats improved to 6-0 on the season with the win.
"It's a big win for the boys," UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. "I told them in the locker room that I thought we could do great things and beat some teams in the top-10 later on in the year, or maybe mid-year, but I didn't think it could happen this early. I am very pleased and I am really happy for the players."
Kentucky (6-0, 0-0 SEC) has been stressing the importance of the doubles point all season long, as yet again, Kentucky claimed the all-important point with two wins in tiebreakers to claim the early 1-0 lead in the match.
The first court to go final was court two as Oklahoma's No. 32 Guillermo Alcorta/Axel Alvarez Llamas defeated Ryuji Hirooka and Alejandro Gomez 8-7 (6). The match went all 14 games without a break of serve as the Wildcats' tandem was unable to come up with the decisive point in the tiebreak as OU took the early lead in the doubles point.
After falling behind 5-2 in the match on court three, Anthony Rossi and Grant Roberts fought their way back from a double-break deficit to get the match back on serve at 5-5 and later force a tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Rossi and Roberts stood strong as the Sooners never led in the extra session and the Wildcats took the 8-7 (4) win, as the doubles point would end up being decided on court one.
On court one, No. 35 Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai were able to get ahead early with a break of serve at 2-1 to give the duo from France and Taiwan the early lead. The Wildcats kept the break in the match up until the Sooners pair of Costin Paval and Dane Webb, who are ranked 12th in the nation broke back at 5-4 to get the match leveled at 5-5. The teams would exchange service games down the stretch, as the match would come to form with the others and go to a decisive tiebreak at 7-7. In the tiebreak, OU led 4-3 before Kentucky rattled off three-consecutive points to gain the mini-break to win the tiebreaker 7-5 and clinch the doubles point for UK.
"The doubles point was big for us," Kauffmann said. "For Oklahoma or us to take four singles matches from each other, we knew would be really tough. Not impossible, but very tough. It kind of gives us momentum. We tell the boys that when we take the doubles point, it is going to be very, very tough to take four singles from us."
With the win in the doubles point, UK is now 6-0 on the season in the doubles point and has won 16 of the 18 matches played in doubles this season.
In singles, Oklahoma (4-1, 0-0 Big XII) would strike first and even the match up at 1-1 as on court three, No. 71 Dane Webb outlasted No. 97 Alejandro Gomez in a three-set match 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Gomez struggled in the opening set, and was down 0-3 in the second set before rallying and winning six of the last nine games of the second set to force the match to a decisive third frame. In the final set, Gomez served first and it was 2-2 before Webb broke to make it 4-2 and take the lead in the final frame. As the final set closed, Webb broke Gomez out to close the third set at 6-3.
No. 15 Tom Jomby would quickly give Kentucky the lead back with a straight-set 6-4, 7-5 win over the top-ranked Sooner on court today, No. 36 Guillermo Alcorta. Jomby was up 3-0 early in the opening set, and even 4-1 before Alcorta took back a break to level the set at 4-4. Jomby held serve at four all before capturing double break point a 5-4 and clinching the opening set 6-4. In the second set, Jomby again picked up the early break of serve to go up 2-0 and the two exchanges service games up until Jomby broke Webb at 6-5 and took the second set 7-5.
Jomby is currently ranked No. 15 in the nation, and with the win today hoists a record of 5-0 on the season with wins over two ranked players.
Oklahoma struck back again to equal the match and make it 2-2 as Axel Alvarez Llamas defeated Juan Pablo Murra 7-6 (2), 6-3. Murra was down 5-4 in the opening set before coming back to force a tiebreak. Llamas took the tiebreak 7-2 and rolled in the second set 6-3 to give the Sooners their second point of the afternoon and square the match at two all.
The Sooners would take their first lead of the afternoon as No. 103 Costin Poval knocked off Anthony Rossi 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a three setter that took 2:35 to play. Rossi came out of the gates strong, breaking Poval twice in the opening set to pick up a 6-2 win in the frame. Poval then climbed back into the match picking up a 6-4 win in the second stanza to send the match to a decisive third set. In the final frame, Rossi picked up a break at 1-0, and raced out to a 4-1 lead in the set with the break. OU's Paval would then rattle off the final five games of the match, breaking Rossi three times to claim the final set 6-4 and give OU the momentary 3-2 lead in the match.
As the match grew older, Kentucky sent two players out that Kauffmann has confidence in, as Charles Minc and Grant Roberts took the stage in the third wave of players as UK needed two wins to clinch the match out of the No. 5 and No. 6 courts.
Minc easily won his match 6-2, 6-2 in just 1:17 minutes to level the score at three all in the match overall. Minc and Peerakit Siributwong of Oklahoma were knotted at two in the opening set before Minc broke at 3-2 and then won the final three games of the set to take the opening frame 6-2. The second set saw more of the same as Minc broke at 3-2 and won the last few games to easily shut down any chance of Siributwong getting back into the match.
"Charles has been a really good surprise for us," Kauffmann said. "He is just playing really, really well and its kind of a nerve-racking situation to just throw them out on the third wave of players. He is handling that as a champ."
The win for UK on court five set the stage for Lexington, Ky., native Grant Roberts to give the Wildcats the come-from-behind 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over Leonard Stakhovsky.
"My mindset walking on was to just go out there and play," Roberts said. "I didn't really want to think about the score and off of that stuff. I love the pressure situation, and that's why I play the No. 6 slot. I just kind of went out there and did it."
The first set in the match went to Stakhovsky after he trailed Roberts 3-0 to start. The opening frame stayed on serve up until 5-4 when Stakhovsky broke Roberts after six deuces to capitalize and take the set 6-4.
In the second frame, everything was on serve at 2-2 before Roberts picked up the break to lead 4-2 in the set and was looking to force a decisive frame. Stakhovsky broke Roberts at 5-3 to get the match back on serve for the time being at 5-4, but Roberts stayed in every point and didn't buckle, as Stakhovsky dropped his serve to Roberts to end the set and the Tates Creek High School alum forced a decisive frame that would not only decide his match, but the match overall.
In the final frame, Roberts served first and dropped his serve right off the bat and was behind the eight ball. At 1-3, with Stakhovsky for OU leading, Roberts had a massive hold after four deuces and battled his way to get the match back on serve with a break at 3-3.
"I just wanted to get the bulldog mentality after I got things back on serve," Roberts said. "I wanted to have that fight and will to win. I saw he was getting a little tired and was putting his hands on his knees and bending over. I just wanted to battle and give everything I had."
After Roberts made it 4-3 with a hold, the two would exchange holds up until Roberts held at 6-5 and made Stakhovsky serve to stay in the match. Roberts forced Stakhovsky into a deuce and picked up the advantage right off the bat in the deuce game. At match point, Roberts watched a Stakhovsky forehand sail wide of the volley and the junior clinched the point for the Wildcats as Roberts won in an epic three-set affair, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.
"This is a huge win for us," Roberts said. "This is going to help our ranking with other teams losing, but it's a really good win for us. That was a big win today and I am proud of the way we fought for it."
"Grant has made some sacrifices to be where he is at," Kauffmann said. "Plain and simple. That is why we put him at court six and in these situations. We believe he can handle the nerves. I am really proud of the sacrifices he has given."
"We had some guys really step up in this match who we hadn't really called upon in those pressure situations like they faced in today's match," UK assistant coach Matt Emery said. "Our freshman did a good job again of in a big match, coming out and playing really well. Grant has been rock solid at six, and that is why we trust him so much at that six spot."
Kentucky with the win improves to 6-0, and will next take a trip to the site of the 2013 NCAA Championships as the Wildcats will take on No. 25 Illinois in a match on Sunday Feb. 9 at 6:00 p.m. ET.
Crimson Tide Rolls Over SMU
DALLAS - The ninth-ranked women's tennis team earned a 6-1 victory over SMU on Sunday at the Northwood Country Club. With the win, the Crimson Tide moves to 4-0 on the season while the loss drops the Mustangs to 1-3.
"It was good to be battle tested on the road this weekend," said Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz. "Both TCU and SMU were good teams and the matches were competitive. We keep talking about finding our way back into matches when we are down, and we did a good job of that all weekend. We had to work for today's win. I thought we competed well and fought in every spot. It was a good test for us, and we got some good quality matches under our belts."
Alabama got wins in doubles from court two and three to claim the first point of the match. From the No. 2 spot, senior Antonia Foehse and freshman Maya Jansen topped SMU senior Edyta Cieplucha and freshman Elena Fayner, 8-3, while the win on court three went in favor of Tide sophomores Yasmeen Ebada and Emily Zabor, 8-2, over sophomore Holly Verner and freshman Hristina Dishkova.
In singles, Alabama posted victories on courts two through six to seal the team win. Tide senior Alexa Guarachi, playing on court two, came back from a first-set loss to beat Malyarchikova, 4-6, 6-3, 10-7 while Jansen downed freshman Vaszilisza Bulgakova, 6-3, 6-3, on court three. On court four, Foehse collected a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Fayner while Zabor notched a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Verner at the No. 5 spot. Wrapping play up on court six was freshman Natalia Maynetto, who topped Dishkova, 6-4, 6-0.
Next up, Alabama travels to Charlottesville, Va., for the 2013 ITA National Team Indoor Championships, which will begin on Friday, Feb. 8.
Arkansas Barely Falls at Yale
NEW HAVEN, CONN. – The No. 37 University of Arkansas women’s tennis team dropped a tough battle on the road to the No. 24 Yale Bulldogs. The Razorbacks opened the day by clinching the doubles point, and earned two singles victories in a hard-fought match.
“Hats off to Yale for a great all-around performance,” Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty said. “I thought we did some really good things today on most courts. Our doubles play was excellent and we put ourselves in position to be successful, which is encouraging. We are growing more with each match and look forward to more tough non-conference matches.”
Arkansas opened the day by winning two of three doubles matches to earn the doubles point. The duo of senior Claudine Paulson and Segou Jonker continued their undefeated streak, winning their fifth doubles match of the season with a 8-5 victory. Yang Pang and Brittany Huxley also won, defeating the Bulldog duo 8-0.
Yale earned the first three singles victories. Flavia Araujo and Kimberley – Ann Surin each dropped straight set matches. Araujo dropped her match to Amber Li 6-3, 6-1, while Surin fell to No. 90 Sullivan 6-1, 6-0. Paulson battled with No. 42 E. Epstein, but fell 6-3, 6-4.
The Razorbacks started to mount a comeback with a victory by Sarah McLean. The sophomore defeated Sarah Guzick in straight sets 6-2, 6-2. The win meant that the match would be determined by the No. 1 and No. 6 singles matches, which each went three sets.
After coming back to take the second set, Ana Lorena Belmar Hernandez dropped the third set. The victory for Amos clinched the victory for Yale. Pang finished the match on a strong note for the Razorbacks. She defeated No. 90 Madeleiene Hamilton in a long match 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 to bring the final score to 4-3 in favor of Yale.
The Razorbacks are back on the road next weekend. They travel to Stillwater, Okla. next Sunday to face the Oklahoma State.
Mississippi State Ousts Houston
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Lady Bulldog tennis squad remained undefeated on the young 2013 season Sunday after taking down No. 75 ranked Houston in a thrilling 4-3 decision.
After the teams battled to a 3-3 tie, Georgiana Patrasc for the Lady Bulldogs and Houston's Celia Fraser went head-to-head in the deciding match on court 2, with the almost the entire final set being played with no other matches on court. Patrasc took the first set 6-4. Fraser answered with the same result in the second set. The overall team win then came down to a grueling third set. The evenly matched opponents battled back and forth and were tied at 4-4 after Patrasc overcame an early break by Fraser. After Patrasc held serve to 5-4, she earned two match points and won the first on a big forehand that Fraser was unable to return. That clinched a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory and the MSU team win.
That stage was set for that fantastic finish after State took a 3-0 lead only to see Houston rally back to tie things at 3-3.
The Lady Bulldogs took the early 1-0 lead, taking the doubles point with wins on courts 1 and 3. Patrasc and Petra Ferancova paired up to post an 8-5 win on court 3 against Fraser and Maja Kazimieruk of Houston. Houston's Elena Kordolaimi and Jo Garvey responded with an 8-5 victory on court 2 against Lien Van Geel and Sarai Flores.
MSU's Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran, nationally ranked at No. 54, secured the doubles win by taking down Charlotte Phillips and Rocio Martin Fernandez of the Lady Cougars in an 8-5 decision and the No. 1 position.
Singles play began with two solid wins for the Lady Bulldogs. Perper was the first to claim a singles victory, defeating Houston's Kordolaimi 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 1 position. Flores then handed the Lady Bulldogs a 3-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-3 win against Dionne Sanders on court 6.
Houston charged back with three consecutive wins in some close decisions. Rocio Martin Fernandez posted a 7-5, 6-2 win against MSU's Tran at the No. 3 position. Houston's Phillips executed a tough 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 victory on court 4 against the MSU freshman Van Geel. Lady Cougar Kazimieruk tied the score at 3-all, winning a first-set tiebreaker against Ferancova to eventually take the match 7-6(5), 6-4 on court 5.
"We expected a battle today, and we got it. I am happy with the energy that the girls brought. They did a great job getting the doubles point, which proved to be critical. We did not play our best in singles, but the fighting spirit was always there. Our freshmen did a good job today which is important this early in the season," said head coach Daryl Greenan. "Georgiana's effort to win in three sets in the deciding match was huge!'
Auburn Sweeps Georgia Southern
AUBURN – Auburn women’s tennis opened its home 2013 dual match season with a pair of victories Sunday, defeating Georgia Southern 7-0 and Alabama A&M 7-0 in a doubleheader at the Yarbrough Tennis Center to move to 3-1 for the season.
“I was happy with our performance today,” Auburn women’s tennis head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. “It was an opportunity to give our four freshmen a chance to step up and see what they can do. They all did great. I think we got the job done as a team. We worked on some things that we have needed to work on. We are continuing to improve and I’m looking forward to a great week of practice before a tough test next weekend.”
Auburn opened the day with a sweep of Georgia Southern in doubles. The dynamic duo of Jackie Kasler and Emily Flickinger defeated Georgia Southern's Natalie Maffett and Stephanie Woods, 8-2, on court two. At number one, the freshman twosome of Pleun Burgmans and Michala Kucharova clinched the doubles point with an, 8-2, victory over Mary Phillips Smith and Paola Garrido.
Also winning 8-2 were Burgmans and Kucharova over the GSU duo of Mary Phillips Smith and Paola Garrido.
In singles, the Tigers put together several dominating performances to sweep the first three matches and clinch the win.
Freshman Maria Cardenas Conti kicked off singles on court five beating out Natalie Maffett, 6-1, 6-0. Fellow freshman Burgmans continued her success from doubles defeating Paola Garrido, 6-1, 6-1, at the top spot. Senior Paulina Schippers clinched the match for the Tigers with a decisive 6-1, 6-1 victory over Francisca Norregard.
Auburn came back in the evening to post a dominant 7-0 win over Alabama A&M.
In doubles, Kucharova and Kurteva started off the night defeating Qwanda Jarret and Kara Kennemore on court three, 8-0. The tandem of Cardenas Conti and Schippers clinched the doubles point with an 8-0 win over Denise Cherry and Shannon Warner on court one.
Also winning 8-1 were Burgmans and Ashley Kitchen over the Alabama A&M duo of Morgan Shaw and Jessica Taylor.
In singles, the Tigers continued their success sweeping the first three matches and clinching the win. Kitchen started off singles with a dominating 6-0, 6-0 win over Kara Kennemore. Cardenas Conti maintained the momentum with a 6-0, 6-0 victory of her own.
Pfeifler clinched the match with a 6-1, 6-1 defeat of Morgan Shaw.
Auburn will return to action Saturday, Feb. 9, with a doubleheader home match against Georgia State at 12 p.m. CT and Samford at 6 p.m. at the Yarbrough Tennis Center. Admission is free.
For the latest on Auburn women's tennis follow @AUWomensTennis on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AUWomensTennis.
Auburn Men Down UAB
BIRMINGHAM - Auburn's 21st-ranked men's tennis team got back on the winning track Sunday, earning a 6-1 win on the road over UAB at George Ward Park in Birmingham.
The Tigers (5-1) bounced back after falling in a tough match at Mississippi State last Sunday, while UAB (2-3) lost to a Southeastern Conference team for the second straight match after falling at Arkansas on Wednesday.
Auburn earned the doubles point for the sixth time in six matches this season, but not without a fight. The team of senior Lucas Lopasso and junior Dennis Lengsfeld fell for the first time all season, dropping an 8-4 decision to UAB's Lucas Dirube and Chris Helliar at the No. 2 spot. But the nation's second-ranked team of junior Daniel Cochrane and senior Andreas Mies came through with an 8-4 win over Tom Puetz and David Zimmerman, and the Tigers took a 1-0 lead when Lukas Ollert and Joseph Van Dooren downed Luiz Felipe Pinto and Rafael Rondino on court 3, 8-6.
Van Dooren snapped a three-match singles skid to give Auburn a 2-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Dirube at the No. 5 spot, and 74th-ranked Mies pushed the Tiger advantage to 3-0 with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Zimmerman at No. 1 singles. And a win from senior Michael Wardell clinched the victory for Auburn as he downed Pinto at the No. 6 spot, 6-2, 6-3.
Ollert had a tough fight with Puetz at the third singles position but remained unbeaten for the spring with a 1-6, 7-6 (6), 1-0 (10-8) win to make it 5-0 Auburn. Cochrane made it 6-0 with a 7-5, 6-4 win over former teammate Rondino at the No. 2 singles spot. UAB's Helliar prevented the shutout with a three-set win over Lopasso, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, handing Lopasso his first loss of the spring.
Auburn will hit the road again next weekend for a pair of matches on the West Coast. The Tigers travel to Fresno, Calif., to face San Diego State next Saturday and Fresno State on Sunday.
For the latest on Auburn men's tennis, visit AuburnTigers.com, follow @MensTennisAU on Twitter and visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/AUMensTennis.