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    SEC Tennis Report - Friday, 3/1

    Arkansas defeats Kentucky in SEC Opener

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In their SEC opener, the Arkansas women’s tennis team got off to a fast start, and closed strong, defeating Kentucky 4-3. The Razorbacks move to 6-5 on the season, and are 1-0 in the SEC, while Kentucky drops to 8-3, (0-1 SEC).

    The Razorbacks got out to a quick 3-0 lead after winning the doubles point and getting singles victories from senior Claudine Paulson and freshman Ana Lorena Belmar Hernandez. The Wildcats rallied back to 3-2, with the match hinging on two three-set matches, with Arkansas sophomore Sarah McLean and freshman Yang Pang. Arkansas clinched the match with a victory by Pang at No. 1 singles, as she defeated No. 51 Nadia Ravita 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

    “I was very happy to have Pang and Sarah out there in that situation at the end,” Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty said. “There are both amazing competitors. I knew at least one would pull through, and probably both.”

    In doubles, Arkansas got out to an early lead with the freshman duo of Pang and Brittany Huxley winning 8-4. The No. 1 pair of senior Claudine Paulson and freshman Segou Jonker was in a battle for their match, entering a tiebreak at 8-8 against the Wildcats’ Caitlin McGraw and Nadia Ravita. Soon after Pang and Huxley put the Razorbacks ahead, Paulson and Jonker took the tiebreak 8-5, clinching the doubles point for Arkansas for the eighth time this season. The duo of Kimberley – Ann Surin and Sarah McLean were trailing 7-4, but did not finish their match.

    In singles, Paulson was first to finish in a very strong performance. Arkansas’ lone senior defeating Kentucky’s Jessica Stiles 6-1, 6-0 to put the Razorbacks ahead 2-0. Ana Lorena Belmar Hernandez was next to finish, defeating UK’s Kirsten Lewis 6-3, 6-3, and giving the Razorbacks a 3-0 lead in the match. Paulson and Belmar Hernandez continue to lead the team in wins, as each is 9-2 on the spring season.

    Stephanie Fox got Kentucky on the board, knocking off Brittany Huxley 7-6, 6-2. Caitlin McGraw continued the Wildcats comeback, defeating Surin in straight sets 7-5, 6-4. That set up a long conclusion to the match, with Pang and McLean each playing deep into the third set. Pang clinched the match with a 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory, shortly before McLean dropped her match.
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    Mississippi State Men Upend Auburn In Road Thriller
     
    AUBURN, Ala. – Battling chilly temperatures at the Yarbrough Tennis Complex, the No. 10 Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (11-2, 1-0 SEC) defeated No. 32 Auburn (8-3, 0-1 SEC) in an exciting 4-3 match to open Southeastern Conference play Friday afternoon. The Bulldogs are looking to claim a third consecutive SEC Western Division title in 2013.
     
    With the win, State is now 24-20 all time against the Tigers, winning the last five meetings. State also claimed a 4-3 victory against Auburn earlier in the year during the ITA Kickoff Weekend at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
     
    In what would prove to be the deciding factor of the match, MSU took the doubles point from the Tigers. State’s Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson defeated Auburn’s Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso 8-3 on court two to give an advantage to MSU. However, Auburn answered back with a 9-7 victory from Lukas Ollert and Joseph Van Dooren against MSU’s Romain Bogaerts and Pedro Dumont on court three, bringing the doubles point down to court one.
     
    MSU’s No. 24 Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp battled back and forth with Auburn’s duo of Daniel Cochrane and Andreas Mies, the top-ranked tandem in the nation. The Tiger duo would go up 3-1 early, but Angus and Stropp would fight back into the match, tying it at 4-4. The two sides would trade games, eventually ending up in a tiebreaker to decide the point. The two sides battled to a 4-4 tie in the tiebreaker, until Angus and Stropp took hold of the match to win 9-8(4), giving the Bulldogs the doubles point for the seventh time this season.
     
    In singles, State took the first sets on courts one, two and five to set up for an overall victory. At the top spot, No. 23 Bogaerts defeated No. 107 Mies 6-3, 6-4 for the MSU rookie's second victory against the senior this spring. Auburn would answer back quickly, as Ollert defeated No. 93 James Chaudry 6-2, 6-4 on court three.
     
    In one of the more crucial matches for State, MSU’s White earned a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Lopasso on court five to give MSU a 3-1 lead.
    Auburn would fire back with a 6-4, 7-5 victory from Van Dooren against MSU’s Dumont on court six, and a 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 win from Lengsfeld on court five, handing MSU’s Angus his first loss of the dual match season.
     
    With the match tied at 3-3, it all came down to a showdown on court two between No. 59 Stropp of MSU and Auburn’s Dan Cochrane. After taking the first 6-4, Stropp found himself down 3-0 in the second set. From there, Stropp roared back to take the match 6-4, 6-4 and clinch the victory for State.
     
    "Our top doubles came up with a huge win today and Zach White pretty much won the match for us on court five,” head coach Per Nilsson said. “Great for our team to have Zach back healthy and to get this win on the road.”
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    Georgia Downs No. 8 Tennessee, 4-1

    ATHENS, Ga ----- The ninth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team beat the eighth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers in their SEC opener 4-1 on a cold Friday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.  

    “Our guys came out and competed very hard and [winning the doubles point] gave us a lot of confidence for singles,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “We had a great start on every court, but Tennessee didn't go away. I'm really proud with how our guys stayed focused. I'm very happy and proud of all of our guys. Tennessee is a very good, young team and I think we're making strides as a very good, young team ourselves.”

    Georgia captured the doubles point for the ninth time in 11 attempts this season.  Tennessee struck first when Hunter Reese and Brandon Fickey beat Eric Diaz and Austin Smith 8-5 at No. 3.  Georgia’s sixth-ranked duo of Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland quickly evened things up at No. 1 as they took down 40th-ranked Mikelis Libietis and Jarryd Chaplin.  With the doubles point all evened up, the 32nd-ranked tandem of Nathan Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux overcame 34th-ranked John Collins and Ed Jones 9-8 (7-4).  Pasha and Brasseaux are currently riding a seven match winning streak, the longest on the team.  

    The Bulldogs carried the momentum into singles by winning the first set in all six matches.  Marco Nunez extended Georgia’s lead to 2-0 when he defeated the Volunteer’s Collins 6-4, 6-1 at No. 6.  Brasseaux was next to strike when he defeated Ed Jones at No. 5 by a score of 7-6(7-3), 6-4.  That win made the score 3-0 in favor of Georgia.  Tennessee continued to fight, and claimed its first point when 13th-ranked Libietis overcame 42nd-ranked Pasha 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1.  With Georgia up 3-1, 95th-ranked Wagland gutted out a 7-6(10-8), 6-4 win against 33rd-ranked Reese.  Wagland’s match clinching victory was his third on the year.  The previous two were against VCU and ETSU.  

    With the outcome of the match decided, the other two matches were left unfinished.  At No. 3, 72nd-ranked Pieters trailed 76th-ranked Fickey 3-6, 6-4, 5-0.  At No. 4 where Smith led Chaplin 7-6(7-3), 6-5.  

    Georgia improves to 48-23 versus Tennessee all-time.
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    Kentucky Men Start SEC Play With Win Over Arkansas

    LEXINGTON, Ky. –Senior Anthony Rossi won his eighth-straight straight-sets match over No. 125 Greg Lehmann and his doubles match with his partner Grant Roberts 8-6 as No. 6 Kentucky downed No. 47 Arkansas 5-2 on Friday afternoon at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky., in the Southeastern Conference season-opening match.

    The doubles point was claimed by Kentucky for the 10th time in 12th time in 15 tries, as the Wildcats picked up wins on courts two and three to win the point. On court two, Alejandro Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka blasted Greg Lehmann and Mike Ward of Arkansas in 40 minutes on court two by a final of 8-2. Gomez and Hirooka picked up an early break at 2-1 and rattled off the next five consecutive games to get to 7-1 before Arkansas took a game to make it 7-2.Gomez served out the final game of the match at love and the Wildcat tandemtook the 8-2 win.

    On court three, Rossi and Roberts held at 1-0 and 2-1 before breaking to go up 3-1 in the match and gain the early edge. The break would be all they needed as the Wildcats picked up a 4-1 lead to start the match. Rossi and Roberts would exchange games the rest of the match as Rossi served out the final game at 7-5 for the 8-5 win and the clincher of the doubles point. With the win, the tandem moves to 6-1 on the year in doubles and is 1-0 in SEC play.

    In singles play, Rossi continued more of his dominating play of late. After jumping up in the rankings by some 70 spots this past week, and jumping into the top-25, Rossi thrashed No. 125 Greg Lehmann of Arkansas 6-2, 6-2. The win was Rossi’s eighth straight, and the senior captain has now won 16 of the last 17 sets he has played on the season. The win was also Rossi’s eighth triumph over a ranked opponent this season.

    Junior Alejandro Gomez from Cali, Colombia, won his second-straight match of the season and picked up his fifth win with a straight set 6-3, 6-4 over Mike Ward of Arkansas. Gomez got off to a blazing start, and led 3-0 in the opening set and a double-break advantage. Ward would close the gap to 4-3 before Gomez broke at 5-3 to win the set 6-3. The second set saw Ward break at 1-0 to go up 2-0 on Gomez before the junior would fire back to get it on serve at 1-2 and held to equal the set at 2-2. Gomez then broke at three all and held his way to the final set, putting the finishing touches on a 6-4 win in the decisive frame.

    The match was clinched on court two as No. 18 Tom Jomby collected a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 win over Manfred Jeskie. Jomby cruised to a first-set win after earning a break at 2-1 to move ahead in the match to 4-1 and the duo exchanged service games to close out the set. In the final set, Jomby broke at love to start the decisive set and got out in front early to a 3-1 lead. After Jeskie got it back to a 3-2 score, Jomby held and broke before serving out the match for a 6-2 win in the third.

    The win advanced Jomby’s record to 9-1 on the season, and further solidified his spot in the top 20 of the national Intercollegiate Tennis Associations’ rankings.

    The win gives Kentucky a 1-0 record in SEC play as the Wildcats further add to their stranglehold on the series with the Hogs as the Wildcats have taken 24 of the 27 all-time meetings with Arkansas.

    Kentucky returns to action for the back end of the SEC weekend with No. 39 LSU on Sunday afternoon at the Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky. Frist serve of that match will be at 12:30 p.m. ET.

    Grant Roberts continued his stellar play on court six as he improved to 8-1 on the season with a 7-6 (3), 6-7 (6), 1-0 (10-8). The match was extremely tight with Hall Fess, as Roberts had a chance to serve the match out at 5-4 in the second set. Roberts fell in the game and then was forced to serve at 5-6 to stay in the set. After holding, Fess then won the tiebreak to force the super tiebreak. Roberts got up the early break at 3-0 and took the match 10-8.
    Beck Pennington competed in an exhibition match on Friday afternoon, knocking off Santiago Munoz 6-2, 7-6 (6). The win for Pennington improves his undefeatedrecord in singles play to 4-0 on the season. Pennington broke serve to begin the match and took a 5-1 lead with double break down the stretch. The Bowling Green, Ky., native served out a 6-2 win in the opening set. Pennington was up 4-2 and served for the match at 5-4 before being broken and ultimately forced into a tiebreak at 6-6. Pennington won the tiebtreak 8-6 and the second set 7-6.
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    Lipman secures win for VU men

    NASHVILLE – Redshirt junior Ryan Lipman secured No. 25 Vanderbilt’s fifth-straight win Friday afternoon over the No. 39 LSU Tigers, 4-3, at the Currey Tennis Center in the 2013 SEC opener.

    Vanderbilt (10-3, 1-0) needed its best effort in singles play to hold off a feisty LSU (5-3, 0-1) team in the conference opener for both squads.

    Leading 3-2, Vanderbilt turned to its leader, Lipman, to bring home the win, and Lipman would not disappoint. Lipman won the first set, 6-4, over Chris Simpson before Simpson battled back to win the second set, 6-3. The third set would go down to the wire, as both players traded wins to get to 4-4.

    With the set tied, 4-4, Lipman would go on to win the final two games and take the set, 6-4.

    Lipman’s win makes the Nashville native 21-5 this season and 11-1 in dual action.

    LSU began the match by winning the all-important doubles point with wins at positions Nos. 2 and 3. At No. 2, Simpson and Stefan Szacinski, who are ranked No. 41 in the country, defeated Gonzales Austin and Suresh Eswaran, 8-4.

    The Tigers clinched the point with a win on court No. 3, as Boris Arias and Olivier Borsos came back to defeat Jeff Offerdahl and Rhys Johnson, 9-7. Offerdahl and Johnson led midway through the match 6-4, but a late rally carried the Tigers to a win.

    Lipman and Marc van der Merwe recorded the lone win for Vanderbilt at No. 1. The Vandy duo defeated Roger Anderson and Tam Trinh, 8-3.
    Vanderbilt was able to put the doubles point behind them quickly, as the Commodores were able to get wins in singles at Nos. 2 and 4 to take the lead, 2-1.

    Austin powered through his opponent, (Tam) Trinh, 6-2, 6-2, in the No. 2 position. With the win, Austin is 17-6 overall this season and 6-1 in the No. 2 spot. In the No. 4 position, Offerdahl defeated (Roger) Anderson in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.

    LSU evened the match at 2-2 with (Olivier) Borsos’ win at No. 3 over van der Merwe, 6-3, 6-4. However, Kris Yee would not let the Tigers keep the match tied for long. Yee recorded his 11th-straight win in singles with his victory over Mark Bowtell in the No. 5 spot, 6-4, 6-2. The Las Vegas, Nev., native continues to find ways to win.

    LSU's Harrison Kennedy closed the match with a win at No. 6 over (Rhys) Johnson, 7-6(2), 7-5.
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    Vandy women push past LSU in SEC opener

    BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 12 Vanderbilt swept the No. 63 LSU Tigers, 7-0, Friday evening in the SEC opener at W.T. “Dub” Robinson Stadium.
    The Commodores (8-4, 1-0) won their conference-opening match for the third-straight year, while the loss dropped LSU to 7-4 overall and 0-1 in SEC play. The sweep is the first complete sweep for Vanderbilt this season. They defeated Belmont, 6-0, on Feb. 22, but did not play doubles.

    Vanderbilt seized control of the match early on by winning the doubles point. The Commodores were able to record wins at Nos. 2 and 3 heading into singles. Ashleigh Antal and Marie Casares were able to pull away from Ebie Wilson and Keri Frankenberger, 8-3. The two sophomores are now 15-6 this season as a duo.

    Frances Altick and Georgina Sellyn needed little time to dispatch of Kaitlin Burns and Ella Taylor, as the Vandy pair won, 8-3.
    In singles play, Vanderbilt used a complete team effort as the Commodores recorded wins at positions 2-6. At the No. 2, Casares defeated Mary Jeremiah, 6-4, 6-1, to run her win streak to five-straight. Antal cruised to a straight sets win in the No. 5 position, 6-1, 6-1.
    Courtney Colton eased her way to a 6-2 first set win over Ella Taylor, but Colton found herself trailing 4-1 in the second set. Down 4-1, Colton mounted a comeback to win the set, 6-4.

    Sellyn received a tough match from Ariel Morton at the No. 4 spot, but the Glasgow, Scotland, native proved to be too much as she won, 7-5, 6-3.
    The two longest matches of the day came at the Nos. 1 and 6 positions. At No. 6, Altick had to regroup after falling in the first set to (Ebie) Wilson, 6-0. The Louisiana native won set two, 6-3 and then won, 2-1 in the third set., as Wilson retired with a foot injury.

    To finish the match, Lauren Mira added on the seventh and final point with her three-set win over (Kaitlin) Burns, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.
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    Florida Women Defeat Missouri in SEC Opener, 6-1

    COLUMBIA, Mo. – The fourth-ranked University of Florida women’s tennis team opened its Southeastern Conference schedule with a 6-1 win against Missouri at the Green Tennis Center on Friday evening.

    The Gators (7-1, 1-0 SEC) secured the doubles point to begin the match and then captured singles victories on courts one, two, three, five and six to earn their 37th consecutive conference win.

    With only four courts inside the Green Tennis Center, courts one through four began action and Florida took charge early.

    Senior Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) won her 24th straight singles dual match with a 6-2, 6-1 decision against Cierra Gaytan-Leach. The win was Embree’s 102nd on the court after she had posted her 104th on the doubles court in the clinching match and moved into a tie with Traci Green and Zerene Reyes for 13th in UF history with a combined 206 wins. Embree also improved her singles record to 30-0 in SEC regular-season dual matches.

    Junior Sofie Oyen (Belgium) earned a 6-2, 6-2 win over Rachel Stuhlmann at the number two position for her 20th-victory of the year.

    Junior Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) was the third Gator off the court and collected the 80th singles win of her career with the 6-2, 6-3 victory over Elisha Gabb and secured the dual match victory in the first-ever meeting between the Gators and Tigers (6-2, 0-1 SEC).

    Missouri avoided the shutout as Maria Christensen knocked off freshman Brianna Morgan (Beverly Hills, Calif.), 6-2, 6-4.

    Freshman Danielle Collins (St. Petersburg, Fla.) kept the success rolling for Florida with a 6-1, 6-1 mark against Alex Clark on court five, before senior Caroline Hitimana (Belgium) earned a 6-4, 6-2 win against Madison Rhyner for the 65th singles win of her career as well as her 27th consecutive dual match singles victory in improving to 40-4 in career dual match singles action.

    On the doubles court, Collins and Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) defeated Maria Christensen and Rachel Stuhlmann, 8-5 for the first individual win of the event, before Embree and Oyen downed Ciera Gaytan-Leach and Elisha Gabb, 8-5 to clinch the doubles point. The doubles win was the 50th of Janowicz’s career.
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    Aggies Get First SEC Win
     
    Columbia, S.C. – Texas A&M got its first win in the Southeastern Conference Friday evening by defeating No. 43 South Carolina, 4-1, at the Carolina Tennis Center. No. 11 Texas A&M improves to 9-4 with a  1-0 mark in conference play while South Carolina falls to 9-5 and 0-1 in conference.
     
    “This was an historic win for us today as we embark in our new conference,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “It was very important for us to get things rolling quickly in the SEC. I’m extremely proud of this team and the way they battled for the victory today.”
    The 21st ranked pair of Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant made quick work of Kyle Koch and Harry Menzies, only dropping one game, to clinch the first doubles match for the Aggies, 8-1, at the No. 2 line. After several tense minutes, the sophomore pair of Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo never trailed in their match, downing Ben Barnette and Thiago Pinheiro, 8-5, from the No. 3 doubles line to clinch the critical doubles point.
     
    “Our No. 2 doubles was able to get us off to a really good start, winning 8-1,” Denton said. “Jeremy and Jordan followed suit in their match, winning 8-5. That really helped us get our momentum rolling into singles.”
    90th ranked Vinsant carried his momentum from doubles into his singles play as he bested Pinheiro, 6-3, 6-1, from the No. 4 line to boost the Aggies lead to 2-0. 105th ranked Tsvetan Mihov narrowed South Carolina’s deficit to 2-1, when he defeated Ore, 6-4, 6-3, from the No. 1 line. That would be the only point the Gamecocks would muster as Behzad Minavi would further A&M’s lead with a victory in straight-sets, 6-1, 7-5, over Menzies at the No. 6 line. Pushed into a second set tiebreaker after cruising to a 6-0 win in the first set, Texas A&M clinched the match behind the racket of Efferding, as he won the tiebreaker in dramatic fashion, 7-5, to give the Aggies their first victory in their new conference.
     
    “Jordan, playing up a position because we had to pull out Jackson because of an injury, won a tiebreaker 12-10 to really change the feel of the match in our favor,” Denton said on singles. “Shane was able to win comfortably to put us up 2-0. With Shane’s win and Jordan’s first set tie-breaking win coming just minutes apart, momentum really swung in our favor and helped carry us through the remainder of the match. Jeremy was able to win his tiebreaker and seal-the-deal for us.”
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    Rebels Win 4-3 Thriller At Bama

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Freshman Stefan Lindmark got his first taste of a Southeastern Conference road match, and he delivered in a big way, winning a third set tiebreaker (12-10) against Alabama's Philippe Tsangarides to clinch a huge 4-3 win for the Rebels here Friday.    

    The match had to be played indoors due to cold temperatures. With the win, the Rebels improved to 7-2 overall and are 1-0 in SEC play. They will face No. 32 Auburn Sunday at 1 p.m. The Tigers lost a tough 4-3 match to Mississippi State.

    At 5-5 in the third, Lindmark was broken, but he broke back to force the tiebreaker.  He led it 3-1 then trailed it 5-3 before evening it up at 5.  Lindmark then held a match point at 6-5. From there it went back and forth until at 10-10 he won the final two points to clinch it 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(10).

    “This was a great college tennis match, that we were fortunate to get,” head coach Billy Chadwick said.  “We played well in doubles, and Alabama really played well in singles, especially at two, three and six.  Nik played well for us at one as did Backy at five.  

    It came down to Stefan. They had five match points on us and Stefan just battled.  It was a big moment for us to have a freshman step up and clinch with all the pressure on him. The crowd was loud and riding him hard letting him know he was a freshman.  He showed great character and good he is in the clutch.”

    The Rebels got on the board first by winning the doubles point, which ended up being the difference.  After Alabama took the No. 2 match 8-3, Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen won 8-4 at No. 1, and then Johan Backstrom and Lindmark took the No. 3 match 8-4 to clinch it.

    Scholtz, ranked No. 12 nationally, gave Ole Miss a 2-0 lead with his 6-3, 6-1 win over Daniil Proskura at No. 1 singles.  

    The Crimson Tide answered in singles as Jarryd Botha upset No. 5 ranked Jonas Lutjen 6-4, 6-3 at No. 2 singles.  

    Becker O'Shaugnessey squared the match at two when he beat 55th-ranked William Kallberg 7-5, 6-3 on court three.  

    The Rebels regained the lead as Backstrom downed the Tide’s Harrais Barnard 6-3, 6-4 on five.

    Alabama evened it up again as Stuart Kenyon defeated Rebel senior Adrian Forberg Skogeng 6-2, 7-5 on court six, setting up Lindmark’s heroics at four.
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    Texas A&M Defeats South Carolina, 5-2, in First SEC Match

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Sixth-ranked Texas A&M made its debut in one of the toughest women’s tennis conferences in the nation by defeating No. 43 South Carolina, 5-2 in the Aggies’ inaugural Southeastern Conference match tonight at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.

    “I don’t want to say ‘I told you so,’ but the conference is awful strong, and if you want to pick up a win you actually have to play very well,” Texas A&M head coach Howard Joffe said.

    South Carolina took the early lead by winning the doubles point. Elixane Lechemia and Ximena Siles Luna jumped out to a 4-0 lead against A&M twins Ines and Paula Deheza and went on to win, 8-3, at No. 3.

    Josefin Andersson and Katerina Popova clinched the point for the Gamecocks, winning three consecutive games to break away from a 5-5 tie to defeat seniors Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun, 8-5, at the No. 2 line.

    The No. 1 court was tied at 8-8 and South Carolina’s Jaklin Alawi and Dominikia Kanakova held a 6-3 lead in the tiebreaker against A&M’s 11th-ranked Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu when the doubles point was clinched, and the match went unfinished.

    “It certainly wasn’t a nice way to start conference play by losing the doubles point, but you have to give all the credit to South Carolina,” Joffe said. “They played with passion. They played with desire. They played with heart, and they actually played quite well. I don’t know necessarily if our kids as a group came out flat, but they certainly didn’t meet South Carolina’s energy in the doubles. But I also have to give our kids a lot of credit because we hung in the doubles and right in the last 10 minutes of the doubles, if one or two points go differently, we may end up stealing the doubles point. So we did end up competing well, but it was not a fun way to start to SEC play.”

    The Aggies quickly gained the momentum in singles, winning the first set on five courts. Sixth-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar evened the score at 1-1 as she raced to a 6-1, 6-2 win against 69th-ranked Alawi at the No. 1 line. It was the seventh consecutive win for the All-American, who improves to 7-0 in dual matches, 26-3 overall and 15-1 against ranked opponents.

    Hristov won the first three games in each of her sets en route to a straight-set 6-1, 6-3 victory over Andersson at No. 5. With the win, the freshman improved to 7-1 in dual matches, and she put the Aggies ahead, 2-1.

    Sun also jumped to early leads, opening her match by winning the first three games and jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the second set in a 6-3, 6-2 victory against Kanakova at No. 4, extending A&M’s lead to 3-1.

    Anna Mamalat won three consecutive games to close out a 6-4 first set win against Siles Luna at No. 6. Mamalat then led the entire second match and won, 6-3, to clinch the winning point for the Aggies.

    South Carolina tallied its only singles victory at the No. 2 line, where 83rd-ranked Stancu and 108th-ranked Popova were battling in a three setter. Popova won the first set in a tiebreaker, 7-4, to notch the only first-set win for the Gamecocks, but Stancu won the second set, 6-3. Since A&M had already won the overall team match, the two slugged it out in a 10-point super tiebreaker for the third set, with both players fighting off match points in the marathon breaker. After being down 8-3, Popova scored six unanswered points to get to match point at 9-8. Stancu countered with two points to put herself at match point, 10-9, but Popova rallied to win the next three points to take the match and score South Carolina’s only other point.

    Senior Nazari Urbina then capped the 5-2 victory for the Aggies by defeating Lechemia, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 at No. 3 singles.  

    “This would be a match that I can point to that is very revealing of our team, because there was very much pressure,” Joffe said. “We lost the doubles point and yet we came back, and absolutely from one through six took it to South Carolina, which is a very, very fine team. It took 12-10 in the final set breaker for them to win one point in the singles. I couldn’t be more proud of our kids. It was a very, very tough win.”

    It was the fifth consecutive victory for the Aggies, who improve to 7-1 overall. They also end a six-match losing skid against the Gamecocks, who own a 7-2 lead in the all-time series dating back to 1988.

    South Carolina, which entered the match having won its last three contests, drops to 7-4 overall and 0-1 in SEC play.
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    Alabama Women’s Tennis Overcomes Deficit to Beat Mississippi, 4-3

    OXFORD, Miss. – The fifth-ranked Alabama women’s tennis team overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat Mississippi, 4-3, at the Gillom Sports Center on Friday to open Southeastern Conference play. The Crimson Tide now stands at 9-1 on the season and 1-0 in the league while the Rebels dip to 2-5 overall and 0-1 against conference opponents.

    Mississippi led 1-0 following doubles after winning on courts two and three. Alabama’s fourth-ranked duo of Alexa Guarachi and Mary Anne Macfarlane cruised to an 8-3 victory on court one before the Rebels claimed the 8-5 win on court two and 8-4 victory on court three.

    Because the match was moved indoors, only three singles matches were able to be played at a time. Mississippi would win all three first sets in tiebreakers and would eventually take the matches on courts one and two for the 3-0 lead. Despite dropping her first set, Maya Jansen would come back to put the Tide on the board with a 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4 win on court three. From there, Emily Zabor cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory on court five before Antonia Foehse pulled through with a 6-4, 7-6(4) win at the four spot, leaving the deciding point on court six. Natalia Maynetto would deliver the clinching victory for Alabama, posting a 6-2, 6-4 win.
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