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    Today In SEC Tennis: February 8

    Vanderbilt Falls To UCLA

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – No. 21 Vanderbilt saw its four-match win streak come to an end Friday afternoon to the hands of No. 2 UCLA, 4-1, in the first round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship hosted by the University of Virginia at the Boar’s Head Sports Club.

    The Commodores (4-1) will play in the consolation bracket Saturday, while UCLA moves on to play the winner of Miami (Fla.) and Nebraska. In No. 1 doubles, Courtney Colton and Lauren Mira teamed up to take down the 16th-ranked duo Robin Anderson and Skylar Morton, 8-7(7-3). The Vandy duo improved to 9-4 overall on the season and 4-1 in dual play.

    UCLA would go on to win doubles at No. 2 and No. 3 to take a 1-0 lead into singles competition.

    Ashleigh Antal delivered the lone win in singles for Vanderbilt at the No. 6 position. Antal defeated Courtney Dolehide in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1.
    In No. 1 singles, Mira lost for the first time in her last six matches, as she fell to No. 6 Robin Anderson, 6-0, 6-0.

    The Bruins then wrapped up the match with wins in No. 2 and No. 3 singles. No. 47 Kyle McPhillips bested Colton in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-0, while No. 96 Pamela Montez knocked off No. 91 Marie Casares, 6-4, 6-2.


    Tide Falls to 14th-ranked Northwestern, 4-1, at ITA Team Indoor Championships

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The ninth-ranked Alabama women’s tennis team suffered its first loss of the season, dropping a 4-1 decision to No. 14 Northwestern in the round of 16 at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Friday. With the loss, the Crimson Tide dips to 4-1 while the Wildcats improve to 3-2.

    Northwestern grabbed the early edge after claiming the doubles point with wins on courts two and three. Alabama senior Alexa Guarachi and junior Mary Anne Macfarlane downed Wildcat senior Linda Abu Mushrefova and junior Nida Hamilton, 8-1, on court one before Northwestern took the 8-2 win on two and 8-4 victory on three for the point.

    In singles, the Wildcats would win at No. 3 and No. 2 to take a 3-0 advantage in the match. From there, Guarachi got the Tide on the board with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, victory over junior Veronica Corning; however Northwestern would seal the win on court five with Mushrefova taking a 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 victory.


    Lady Bulldog Tennis Advances To 3-0 With 6-1 Win Over UNO
    STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State’s Lady Bulldogs tennis squad lifted its record to 3-0 for the first time since 2009 with a 6-1 victory against the Lady Privateers of the University of New Orleans Friday afternoon at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
    State kicked off its third consecutive win by taking the doubles point with shutout triumphs on courts 1 and 3. The No. 54-ranked MSU duo of Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran posted an 8-0 victory at the No. 1 position against Soledad Arroyo and Kristina Martin of New Orleans. Petra Ferancova and Georgiana Patrasc paired up at the No. 3 position to secure the doubles point, defeating Paula Sanchez and Victoria Svennson of UNO, also in an 8-0 decision. Lien Van Geel and Sarai Flores held a 6-2 lead against the Lady Privateers’ Fanny Benincasa and Marta Sans before play was suspended on court 2.
    Singles competition began with a default on court two by MSU’s Patrasc due to an ankle injury at the end of the first set, which she lost 6-4 to UNO's Martin, tying the overall score at 1-1. But that would be the only point MSU would surrender on the afternoon.
    Competition continued as Perper and Tran posted two quick wins for the Lady Bulldogs. Perper notched a 6-4, 6-1 triumph against UNO’s Sans at the top spot. Flores raised MSU to a 3-1 lead, defeating Svennson of the Lady Privateers in a 6-2, 6-4 decision on court 6.
    Freshman Lien Van Geel clinched MSU’s third win of the season with a three-set win at the No. 4 position. Van Geel took the first set 6-2, but dropped the second set to UNO’s Benincasa 7-5. The native of Tessenderlo, Belgium, secured the Lady Bulldog win by breezing in the third set 6-1.
    Ferancova raised the MSU lead to 5-1 with a 6-3, 7-5 win against Lady Privateers freshman Sanchez at the No. 5 position. Tran completed the successful MSU day, defeating Arroyo of UNO on court 3 6-4, 4-6, 1-0(6).
    “We started off with excellent energy and did a great job earning the 1-0 lead in what seemed like record time. I felt like we lost our concentration and let them in the match in singles,” said head coach Daryl Greenan. “I give UNO credit for battling hard, but our girls did a nice job keeping their composure and closing out their matches with wins.”


    Georgia Men’s Tennis Rolls Tech, 5-2

    ATLANTA --- The No. 5 Georgia men’s tennis team rebounded from a lost doubles point, winning five of six first sets in singles en route to a commanding 5-2 win over 65th-ranked Georgia Tech Friday afternoon at the brand new Ken Byers Tennis Complex in Atlanta.

    With the win the Bulldogs improve to 4-1 on the season, dropping their in-state rival to 2-4. Georgia is now 59-9 all-time against the Yellow Jackets, good for its highest win total against any opponent in history. The win also avenged the Bulldogs’ 4-3 loss to Tech in Atlanta in 2011, a setback that snapped a 24-match winning streak for UGA in the rivalry series.

    “I’m really proud of the way we competed,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “Georgia Tech played an outstanding doubles point, and their coach told me afterward that was the best doubles they’ve played this year. They really just seized momentum right off the bat. They won three 3-all points in each of those, and out of those nine points they won eight. It was tough for us, and we have to do better in those situations. I know we will. But I was so encouraged coming out to singles with the great competitive desire from the guys – they were ready to compete. They stepped up and took control of their matches on all courts. It’s a great victory for us. We’re continuing to grow as a team and this is a great match to have going into National Indoors.”

    Georgia got off to a slow start in doubles and the Yellow Jackets came away with the early point, snagging wins at Nos. 1 and 2 to take a 1-0 lead. The No. 3-ranked team of Juan Spir and Vikram Hundal emerged with an 8-4 win over No. 5 Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland at No. 1, while Tech got the clinching decision via an 8-5 win for Juan Melian and Nathan Rakitt at No. 2 over Nathan Pasha and Marco Nunez. The doubles match on court three went unfinished with Georgia’s Eric Diaz and Garrett Brasseaux trailing Eduardo Segura and Colin Edwards, 7-6.

    The Bulldogs quickly evened things up at 1-1 as freshman Ben Wagland cruised to a speedy 6-1, 6-1 win over Hundal at No. 3, the freshman’s 12th win of the season and fourth in dual match play. Georgia took a 2-1 lead when Brasseaux posted a 6-1, 6-1 win over Anish Sharma at No. 6, and rookie Nick Wood increased the lead to 3-1 with his 6-3, 6-2 win over Rakitt at No. 4.

    The Bulldogs got their fourth straight point of the day and the match clincher on court one, where 19th-ranked Pasha posted a 6-2, 6-3 win over Melian to make it 4-1 and secure the road victory.

    Georgia Tech earned its lone singles win at No. 2 as 32nd-ranked Spir downed No. 16 Pieters, 6-3, 5-4, but Austin Smith provided Georgia with another point as he went 6-2, 6-3 over Segura at No. 5, sealing the 5-2 win.


    Vanderbilt Men Defeat Northwestern

    CHICAGO – No. 40 Vanderbilt won its fourth-consecutive match, as the Commodores held off No. 33 Northwestern, 4-3, Friday evening at the Combe Tennis Center.

    Vanderbilt upped its record to 5-2 on the season, while Northwestern lost for just the second time this season (8-2).

    With the match tied, 3-3, Vanderbilt turned to freshman Marc van der Merwe to bring home the victory. Playing in the No. 5 position, van der Merwe clinched the win, 6-3, 7-5. The Stellenbosch, South Africa, native is 5-2 on the season, having only been on campus for a little over a month.
    The Commodores began the afternoon with wins in No. 2 and No. 3 doubles to take a 1-0 lead into singles.

    Gonzales Austin and Suresh Eswaran were able to hold off Spencer Wolf and Fedor Baev to win, 8-6, while van der Merwe and Jeff Offerdahl took down Mihir Kumar and Alex Pasareanu, 8-5.

    Northwestern’s Sidarth Balaji and Raleigh Smith recorded the win on court No. 1 over Ryan Lipman and Rhys Johnson, 8-5.

    Vanderbilt received victories in No. 2 and No. 6 singles in addition to van der Merwe’s match-clinching win at No. 5. Lipman won his 16th match of the season after defeating (Raleigh) Smith, 6-4, 6-4.

    Kris Yee continued his hot streak with his straight sets win, 6-3, 6-3, over (Fedor) Baev. Yee has won his last five singles matches.

    The Wildcats were able to pick up their three points in singles at the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 positions. Austin lost for just the second time in dual play, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, to Wolf, while (Rhys) Johnson lost, 6-4, 6-3, to Balaji. Offerdahl fell to Pasareanu, 6-2, 7-6.


    Gamecocks Fall to No. 36 Wake Forest 5-2

    COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 49 South Carolina dropped a 5-2 decision to No. 36 Wake Forest in men’s tennis action at Carolina Tennis Center Friday evening. The Gamecocks (6-3) got off to a strong start in doubles, but the Demon Deacons rallied to win the doubles point and carried that momentum into singles play. Junior Tsvetan Mihov posted the first point for South Carolina with a pair of tiebreakers in the No. 1 match, while Thiago Pinheiro was the last Gamecock on court and delivered the victory in a third-set super-tiebreak.

    “I give credit to Wake Forest,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “They withstood the storm early in doubles, and we didn’t take care of business in closing out those matches. We were up two breaks in the No. 2 match and had match point in the No. 1 match, in complete control of the point and didn’t shut the door. Wake took the momentum into singles and got early leads in most. Overall, it was a level match, but the fact that we missed the opportunity in doubles affected singles play. Wake gets credit for taking advantage of that.”

    Tiebreaks were the order of the day as the teams combined to play nine of them over the nine matches that started. South Carolina was in command of doubles, looking as if the Gamecocks would keep their streak of doubles victories alive. Kyle Koch and Harry Menzies leapt out to a 4-0 lead over Danny Kreyman and Adam Lee in the No. 2 match, but the Demon Deacon tandem clawed its way back, winning four of the next five games to get back on serve at 5-4. Tied at 6-6, Wake pressed the Gamecocks on their serve, eventually breaking through and consolidating with a hold to win the match 8-6. Meanwhile, in the No. 1 match, Mihov and Chip Cox got a break on David Hopkins and Amogh Prabhakar midway through and were solid down the stretch. Serving with a 7-5 lead, Mihov’s service winner up the line set up match point, which would have left the team point to the No. 3 match, which was on serve late. Wake drove a forehand up the line for a winner to get to deuce and took the game on a great return that left Mihov to volley from his shoestrings and into the net. After the Demon Deacons held serve, the tiebreak was equally back-and-forth. Again, it was a service return that made the difference for a 5-3 Wake Forest lead, and the Demon Deacons closed out the win with an ace to go up 1-0.

    The Gamecocks looked to regroup in singles, but Wake Forest kept the pressure up, going up a service break early in three of the six matches. Sam Bloom tallied the Demon Deacons’ second point of the match with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Harry Menzies in the No. 6 match, capitalizing on breaks in Menzies’ first service game of each set to post the victory. Cox battled with No. 59 Prabhakar in the No. 2 match, but could not overcome an opening-game service break to drop the first set 6-2. In the second set, Cox struck first with a break for a 3-1 lead, but Prabhakar answered by winning the next four games and holding on for a 6-4 win to make it a 3-0 Wake Forest lead.

    Andrew Adams leapt out to a 4-1 lead in the No. 3 match against Kreyman, but the nation’s 90th-ranked player got back on serve at 4-3 and sent the set to a tiebreak. Adams fought off three set points in the tiebreak before falling 7-6 (4). In the second set, the two traded service breaks midway through, and Kreyman pounced as Adams served to stay in the match, closing out the set to seal the team victory for Wake Forest.

    On Court 1, Mihov and Hopkins were locked in the tightest match of the six with both sets ending in a tiebreak. Mihov fell behind at 2-3 in the first set, but continued his steady movement of Hopkins to level the set at 4-4. In the tiebreak, Mihov sprinted out to a 5-2 lead and claimed a 7-6 (3) victory. The setback had Hopkins on his heels, and Mihov opened the second set with a pair of service breaks to go up 3-0. Hopkins quickly got one back, but Mihov kept him at bay in a lengthy eighth game to stay up 5-3. Two games later, Hopkins broke through to even the set at 5-5. The second-set tiebreak was, again, all Mihov early, staking out a 5-2 lead, but with three match points in his pocket, the Gamecock junior put a pair of backhands into the net. In the end, Hopkins committed a pair of errors that cost him the match as his forehand sailed wide to give Mihov an 8-7 advantage, and Hopkins double-faulted on match point.

    Koch shook off a slow start against Lee in the No. 5 match, dropping the first set 6-4 and falling behind 3-0 in the second before forcing a second-set tiebreak. The Gamecock sophomore got back on serve with a great return that handcuffed Lee into sending a forehand long to level the set at 4-4. The two traded service breaks and holds before opening the tiebreak. Koch jumped out to a 6-2 lead and Lee held off a pair of match points before a forehand in the net delivered the set to Koch 7-6 (4). The Demon Deacon turned the page quickly in the third-set super-tiebreak, grinding out a 10-6 win by erasing a 4-6 deficit midway through.

    For the second time in as many matches against Wake Forest, Pinheiro was the last Gamecock on the court. He opened the first set against Ho in the No. 4 match with a service break, only to see Ho stick with it and level the set at 4-4. Pinheiro got the break back at 6-5 and scorched an unreturnable serve on set point to collect the 7-5 victory. The two players held serve throughout the second set and the tiebreak was just as even until a double fault cost Pinheiro the set 7-6 (8). The Brazilian burst through the first seven points of the third-set super-tiebreak for a 6-1 lead, capped by a great return of serve. But, Ho would not relent, battling his way back to a 9-8 advantage behind a series of crisp forehands. Pinheiro tied it a 9-9 with a well crafted point that yielded an easy overhead, but a long return on Ho’s next serve again set up match point for the Demon Deacon. Tied again at 10-10, Pinheiro showed solid defense to earn match point when Ho’s cross-court forehand sailed long. With the match on his racket, Ho double faulted to give Pinheiro the 12-10 victory.

    A&M Falls to UNC in Opener of ITA National Indoors

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 13th-ranked Texas A&M women’s tennis team fell to eighth-ranked and No. 6 seed North Carolina, 4-0, today in the opening round of the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championship, hosted by the University of Virginia at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va.

    A match-up between two top-10 doubles teams highlighted the match as A&M’s seventh-ranked duo of Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu were pitted against the Tar Heels’ eighth-ranked team of Ashley Dai and Whitney Kay at the No. 1 line. There were eight service breaks in the match with the Aggies being first to go up a break to take a 2-1 lead. A&M never trailed the remainder of the match and later tallied its fourth break to take a 6-5 lead. The Aggies then held serve to go up, 7-5, and closed out the 8-5 victory with their fifth service break to improve to 3-0 in dual matches.

    “That would be the highlight of the match,” A&M head coach Howard Joffe said. I don’t know that they played the best that I’ve seen them play, and yet they had a very workman-like performance. That goes down as a very good win for them.”

    The Tar Heels (6-0) evened the race for the doubles point with an 8-5 victory at the No. 2 line. The Aggies, who had a total of four freshmen competing in doubles, were forced to make changes to the lineup at the No. 2 and 3 lines after Wen Sun was held out with an illness. UNC took advantage as Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and freshman Anna Mamalat were teaming together for the first time this spring. Zoe De Bruycker and Gina Suarez-Malaguti went on to win the match, 8-5.

    Aggie freshmen twins Ines and Paula Deheza were locked in a battle with 51st-ranked Tessa Lyons and Lauren McHale at the No. 3 line but came up just short of an upset. The Aggies broke to go up 7-6 and were serving for the match, but the UNC duo broke back to tie the match at 7-7 and force a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker was tied at 2-2 before the Tar Heels took the lead for good en route to a 7-5 win to clinch the point and give UNC a 1-0 lead.

    “I’m not that disappointed at all with the effort,” Joffe said. “We had two match points to win the doubles point, and playing against North Carolina, an obviously very good team, that represents a huge improvement from losing the doubles point two weeks ago to North Texas. I thought Ines and Paula Deheza did an awesome job for us and came within a point of winning.”

    The Tar Heels fielded a singles lineup loaded top to bottom with nationally ranked players, including four who are listed in the top 40. No. 101-ranked Lyons put the Tar Heels ahead, 2-0, with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Mamalat at the No. 6 line. Ines Deheza, playing up at No. 4 singles in place of 82nd-ranked Sun, then fell to 111th-ranked McHale, 6-4, 6-0, to give UNC a 3-0 lead.

    No. 36-ranked Caroline Price then closed out the win for the Tar Heels with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Hristov at No. 5.

    The other three matches were being tightly contested before Price clinched the match. No. 3 Sanchez-Quintanar, the highest ranked singles player in the 16-team tournament, and No. 11 Suarez-Malaguti had split sets, 6-4, 1-6, at the top of the lineup. Kay, ranked 21st, took the first set against No. 45 Stancu, 6-4, at the No. 2 line, but Stancu led 5-4 in the second set. And at No. 3 singles, 28th-ranked De Bruycker narrowly edged Nazari Urbina, 7-6, in the first set and had a 1-0 lead in the second set.

    “In the singles, we were dead even with them at Nos. 1, 2 and 3,” Joffe said. “We missed having Sunny in the lineup, which hurt us a little bit down in the lineup, but our kids our playing better tennis than what they were two weeks ago.

    “It obviously doesn’t feel very good to lose the match and to lose the match by that score line. So on the one hand, the loss is terribly disappointing, and on the other hand we have to recognize that it is a very good team, that we do have four freshmen playing and that they will get better as they can get a little bit more experience. All in all it was not a bad day for us.”

    Georgia Advance with 4-2 win over No. 11 Texas
    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—The No. 6 Georgia women’s tennis team punched its ticket to the Quarterfinals with a 4-2 Round of 16 win over No. 11 Texas Friday night at the Boars Head Tennis Center in Charlottesville, Va.
    Georgia won the doubles point and then three singles matches to win the match.
    “I felt like it was a really well played match by both teams,” said head coach Jeff Wallace. “Texas played a really great match. For us, it was a great match all the way around. The fight of all the players was amazing. Everyone was playing really hard and it’s great to come out with a win.”
    Georgia clinched the doubles point with wins on courts one and three. Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia beat Texas’ Breaunna Addison and Noel Scott, 8-1. It’s the pair’s fifth win of the season. Shortly after, Mia King and Lauren Herring topped the Longhorns’ Lina Padegimaite and Annat Rabinovich, 8-5 to clinch the point. Lilly Kimbell and Maho Kowase, ranked 22nd in the country, were leading 6-5 win the point was clinched.
    In singles, No. 18 Maho Kowase started things off with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Breaunna Addison. Kowase improves to 22-5 on the year. Texas got on the board when Padegimaite beat Georgia’s King, 6-4, 6-2. The loss is King’s first of the season. Texas evened the score when No. 8 Herring fell to the Longhorns’ Texas, 4-6, 6-0, 6-2. The loss is just Herring’s third of the year. Freshman Makenzie Craft put Georgia ahead 3-2 with her first career dual match win, beating Lana Groenvynck 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Silvia Garcia beat Elizabeth Begley, 7-5, 6-4 to clinch the win for Georgia. The win is Garcia’s first career clinch. When the match was suspended, No. 54 Fuller trailed Texas’ No. 79 Scott, 6-7, 6-3, 4-1.
    Georgia will face No. 7 California Saturday at 3:30 in the quarterfinal round. The Bulldogs are 9-6 all-time against the Bears, with their last meeting resulting in a 4-2 loss in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 ITA National Team Indoors. In 2011, Georgia topped the Bears 4-3 in the Round of 16 at the 2012 NCAA Championships.


    Hogs drop match to Ducks

    Eugene, Ore. - The No. 51 University of Arkansas men’s tennis team dropped its second match of the year to Oregon 6-1 on Friday evening at the UO Student Tennis Center. Arkansas drops to 7-2 for the season as Oregon moves to 7-0.

    “Oregon came out quick on us in doubles,” head coach Robert Cox said. “We just couldn’t turn any of the matches around.”

    The Razorbacks could just not get going Friday evening dropping the doubles point. No.1 duo of Manfred Jeske and Mike Nott dropped their match to Jeff Mullin and Robin Cambiar 8-5. Hall Fess and Santiago Munoz as well dropped their match 8-5. Seniors Mike Ward and Gregoire Lehmann were tied at six but did not finish their match.

    Nott was the only Razorback to come away with a win taking down Bret Chin in a three-set match. After dropping the first set to Chin 6-1, Nott recovered winning the next two 6-3, 6-2. Nott remains undefeated this season with five quality victories.