Vanderbilt heads to College Station, Texas, to take on Texas A&M next Friday at 6 p.m. CT for the first of three-straight road matches. The meeting marks the first as SEC members.
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The sixth-ranked University of Kentucky men's tennis team captured a 4-0 shutout of No. 39 Louisiana State on Sunday night, capping off a 2-0 Southeastern Conference opening weekend and pick up their fourth consecutive win to improve to 14-2 on the year.
"We played a lot better today. Our intensity was better and we did a good job of maintaining it throughout the match. Having said that, we know that we will need even more for this upcoming road trip if we are going to get the results we want."
For the 13th time in 16 matches this season, Kentucky started the match off right, winning the all-important doubles point to go up 1-0 early on. The Wildcats did so by picking up wins on courts one and three, both by a tally of 8-5.
On court one, No. 21 Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai defeated Roger Anderson and Tam Trinh of Louisiana State. Jomby and Lai picked up the only break of serve they would need 3-2 in the match and rode that all the way to the end. Jomby and Lai served first, and held serve at 4-2, 5-3, 6-4 and Jomby served the match out at 7-5 to give the 21st-ranked team in the country their eighth win of the season.
Grant Roberts and Anthony Rossi continued their hot doubles play this season as the duo earned an 8-5 decision over Oliver Borsos and Boris Arias of LSU. Roberts and Rossi broke the Tigers' serve in the opening game of the match to move ahead 1-0 early on. Kentucky would increase their lead to 4-1 after holding in back-to-back games as the teams would exchange service holds the rest of the way. Roberts served out the final game at love as UK won the match 8-5 to clinch the point.
In singles play, Jomby moved to 10-1 on the season as he collected a straight-sets 6-2, 6-4 win over Tam Trinh in a productive 75 minutes of work. Jomby launched 12 aces in his service games en route to the win. Trinh held serve to begin the match before Jomby held, broke and then rattled off the next five-straight games of the match to take a 5-1 lead. After a brief hold from Trauch, Jomby served out the set at love to take the opening frame in only 35 minutes. In the second set, Jomby picked up the break at 3-3 to move into to the drivers seat at 5-3 before serving out the match at 6-4.
Senior Anthony Rossi won on court one 6-3, 6-1 in an hour and six minutes as he knocked off Chris Simpson of LSU. The win was Rossi's ninth-straight straight-set match, and the senior captain has now won 18 of the last 19 sets he has played on the season. The Frenchman upped his record to 14-1 on the year and is now just four wins shy of becoming the 15th player in UK men's tennis history of eclipsing the 100-win mark as he earned No. 96 on Sunday. In the opening set, Rossi broke in the first game of the set at 1-0 to give him the 2-0 lead after a hold. Simpson broke back for 2-1 before Rossi fought back in an extended game to give him the 3-1 lead. Rossi broke at 5-3 to close out the opening set at 6-3. In the second set, Rossi held and broke to begin the frame before giving the break back at 2-1. Rossi then held and broke for 3-1 and ran away with the set to earn the 6-1 win.
The clinching match was on court four as sophomore Charles Minc won in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. Both sets were a carbon copy of each other as Minc picked up the break of serve at 4-3 in each set and held the rest of the way to close out the match. It was a terrific bounce-back win for Minc after he dropped just his second match all season on Friday. Minc ups his record to 7-2 on the year.
Courts three, five and six were halted after Kentucky clinched the match at 4-0. Both Grant Roberts and Kevin Lai were ahead comfortably in their matches at the time of the stoppage.
The match ended the opening weekend of play for Kentucky in SEC play as the Wildcats went 2-0.
Kentucky will face another ranked opponent on Friday as the Wildcats will return to non-conference play in Waco, Texas on Friday taking the courts against No. 26 Baylor. The showdown on the plains will have a first serve of 3:30 p.m. ET. After a brief stay in Waco, the Wildcats will make their return to SEC action on Sunday at Texas A&M.
Texas A&M Women Knock Off Florida
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Sixth-ranked Texas A&M picked up its biggest win in school history Sunday afternoon, knocking off two-time defending national champion and fourth-ranked Florida, 4-3, at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
It is the sixth consecutive victory for the Aggies (8-1, 2-0 SEC), whose previous highest ranked win was against No. 5 USC in 2004 when A&M head coach Howard Joffe was an assistant for the Women of Troy.
Florida, which entered the contest riding a 37-match winning streak in SEC regular season matches, suffers its first conference loss since April 5, 2009, and falls to 7-2 overall and 1-1 in league play.
The nail-biting clincher came down to the last match singles standing, where 53rd-ranked Alexandra Cercone of Florida and A&M’s Nazari Urbina, ranked No. 67, would battle for three sets at the No. 3 line. Urbina had squandered two set points in the opening frame as Cercone came back from a 5-4 deficit to take a 6-5 lead. Urbina then tied the set to force a tiebreaker, but Cercone would pull away for an 8-6 win to take the first set.
After dropping the first two games of the second set, Urbina took the lead at 3-2. She would later hold a 4-3 lead and then won the next two games to close out the set and force a decisive third set. Urbina continued her streak into the third set, taking a commanding 5-0 lead before Cercone won her first game after losing seven straight. Urbina then closed out the match, serving an unreturnable ball to cap the team’s monumental win.
The Aggies, who were picked to win the SEC Western Division, opened the match by winning the crucial doubles point against the preseason overall SEC-favorite Gators. A&M’s 11th-ranked duo of Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu got a clutch ranked win against No. 15 Lauren Embree and Sofie Oyen on the No. 1 court. The teams were on serve with A&M holding a 7-6 lead when the Aggie duo broke Florida for only the second time in the match to win, 8-6.
A&M’s all-freshman tandem of twin sisters Ines and Paula Deheza would give the Aggies the 1-0 lead by defeating Cercone and Brianna Morgan, 8-4, at the No. 3 line. The Dehezas trailed, 4-2, before reeling off six consecutive games to win and put A&M ahead.
A&M’s Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun held a 7-5 lead over Danielle Collins and Carolina Hitimana at 7-5 when the point was decided and play was stopped.
Florida, which fields nationally ranked players at every singles position, quickly tied the score at 1-1 at the start of singles as 114th-ranked Morgan defeated Sun, 6-2, 6-1 at the No. 4 line.
Stancu, a junior transfer from Maryland currently ranked No. 83 in the nation in singles, returned the lead to the Aggies as she posted the highest ranked win in her collegiate career with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over 11th-ranked Oyen at the No. 2 line. Stancu had trailed Oyen, who was No. 1 in the preseason rankings on January 3, 5-4, in the opening set before winning nine consecutive games to close out the straight-set victory.
Collins, ranked No. 76, countered with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Hristov at No. 5 to tie the score at 2-2. Florida then took its first lead of the match with a win at No. 1 singles. In a battle of top 10 players, Embree, the No. 1 singles player in the nation, held off sixth-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar, 6-4, 7-5, to hand the A&M senior her first loss in dual match play and put the Gators up 3-2.
Aggie freshman Anna Mamalat tied the match for the third and final time with a three-set victory at the No. 6 line. Mamalat won the first set against Olivia Janowicz, 6-4, but Janowicz raced to a 6-1 win in the second set.
Mamalat got back on track to start the third set, winning the first two games. Janowicz, however, rallied for three consecutive games to go up 3-2. The match was back on serve with Mamalat leading 4-3 when the Philadelphia native broke Janowicz to go up 5-3. With A&M serving for the match, Janowicz won the game to get within 5-4 before Mamalat closed out the 6-4 win in the third to tie the team score at 3-3, leaving it up to Urbina to come through with the win.
The Aggies, who improve to 5-0 in home matches, hit the road for the first time in conference play next weekend, taking on No. 12 Vanderbilt in Nashville on Friday and No. 53 Kentucky in Lexington on Sunday.
Free live scoring will be available on AggieAthletics.com. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M women’s tennis team on Twitter by following @AggieWTEN or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Aggie-Womens-Tennis/143874782434654.
Mississippi State Edges Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The men's tennis team had another hard-fought effort come up just short as 10th-ranked Mississippi State held on for the 4-2 victory on Sunday at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility. With the loss, the Crimson Tide dips to 9-5 overall and 0-2 in Southeastern Conference play while the win brings the Bulldogs to 12-2 on the season and 2-0 against league opponents.
Alabama came out strong, taking the doubles point from Mississippi State after collecting wins on courts one and two. Jarryd Botha and David Vieyra led the entire match at the top spot, knocking off 24th-ranked Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp, 8-5. On court two, Becker O'Shaughnessey and Daniil Proskura battled their way back to outlast Ethan Wilkinson and Zach White, 8-6.
The Bulldogs jumped in front 3-1 following three straight wins in singles, coming on courts one, four and six; however the remaining three matches would come down to the wire. Botha awarded the Tide its second point of the match after a solid third-set performance to beat James Chaudry, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, but Mississippi State would secure the victory with a win on court five as White grinded out a third set tiebreaker to take the match over Vieyra, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5).
Alabama will head to Fayetteville, Ark., for its first SEC road match of the season when it takes on the Razorbacks on Friday at 1:30 p.m. CT. The Tide will then return home for Sunday's match against LSU, which will be played simultaneously with the women's match against the Tigers, beginning at 1 p.m. CT.
South Carolina Downs Rival Clemson
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 43 South Carolina upset in-state rival No. 18 Clemson with a 4-3 victory Sunday afternoon at USC Field House. The Gamecocks (10-5) took the doubles point after Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov won an intense match at the No. 1 spot. After the Tigers (9-2) closed to 2-2, South Carolina's Thiago Pinheiro and Kyle Koch fought through to clinch the victory.
"Besides the fact that it's Clemson and our rival, that's a top-20 win, and that alone is a confidence builder for this team," South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. "We needed to beat a good team that has been successful, so this was a big-time win for us. It's just icing on the cake that it's Clemson. Individually, today was a major win for Kyle Koch. He's been struggling to get over the hump. He hasn't been blown out by anyone all ready, but he's been struggling to close out tight matches. There was no better situation to solve that in than this one today. Moving forward, Kyle will get a lot of confidence going into the SEC season."
Koch and Harry Menzies provided the first result of the day with a dominating victory at No. 2 doubles. The duo broke out to an early 2-1 lead and won the next six straight games to finish with an 8-1 win over Austin Ansari and Ayrton Wibowo. Pinheiro and Ben Barnette fell 8-6 in a hard fought match at the No. 3 spot to leave the point in the hands of Cox and Mihov. The pair traded service breaks with Yannick Maden and Zachary Rigsby to open the match and then each team held serve to tie the score at 4-4. With the match tied at 7-7 the Gamecocks held serve to go up 8-7 and then got a huge service break behind great net play from Cox to take the match 9-7 and clinch the doubles point.
Andrew Adams increased the Gamecocks' lead to 2-0 after a strong showing at No. 2 singles. Adams and Hunter Harrington traded service breaks to open the match, and Adams got another break to go up 3-2 and held onto that for the 6-4 victory. In his second set, Adams powered past Harrington for a quick 6-2 victory. Cox fought hard at No. 3 singles but Gerardo Meza took the point for Clemson with a 7-5, 6-4 victory. Mihov won his first set 6-3 against Maden at the No. 1 spot but then dropped the next two sets 6-3, 6-2.
With the score tied at 2-2, Pinheiro battled through three sets in the No. 4 matchup to put the Gamecocks back on top. Wibowo took the first set 6-4, but Pinheiro answered back with a 6-4 victory of his own in the second set thanks to a break midway through the set. On serve in the third set a 3-2, the Gamecocks' fiery sophomore broke Wibowo in back-to-back games to clinch the 6-2 victory and bring the Gamecocks within a point of the team win.
As Pinheiro closed out his match, Koch was in the early stages of his second set after topping Rigsby in the first 6-3 in the No. 5 match. Serving at 2-3, Koch rallied back from a deficit to hold his serve at 3-3. Two games later, he surged ahead with long rallies from the baseline that saw Rigsby dump a forehand into the net on break point for a 5-4 lead. Clemson's senior answered with a service break of his own, but could not consolidate it when Koch converted the second of his two break points in the next game to again try to serve for the match. Ahead 30-15 in the final game, Koch powered an ace through the court to set up match point. Rigsby managed to return the next booming serve from Koch, but was completely defensive on the next shot, which he sent wide to seal the 7-5 victory for Koch and the match for the Gamecocks.
The Tigers made the final score 4-3 with a win from Ansari over Menzies 7-5, 7-5 in the No. 6 match.
The Gamecocks will be back in action Fri., Mar. 8, when they host No. 35 Florida.
Fifth-Ranked Tide Take Down Mississippi State Women
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The fifth-ranked women's tennis team picked up a 6-1 victory over Mississippi State on Sunday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre to earn its 10th win of the season. The Crimson Tide now stands at 10-1 overall and 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference while the Bulldogs drop to 5-4 on the season and 0-2 in the league.
Alabama gained a 1-0 edge after capturing the doubles point with wins on courts two and three. The Tide dominated at the No. 2 spot, as Maya Jansen and Natalia Maynetto posted an 8-0 victory. Mississippi State evened the count with a win on court one before Alabama's Antonia Foehse and Emily Zabor secured the point with an 8-6 victory on court three.
In singles, the Tide won four straight victories with the clinching point coming on court five, thanks to a 6-3, 6-0 decision from Zabor. The Bulldogs would win their lone point on court two before Maynetto added another point for Alabama with a 6-1, 6-3 victory on court six.
Next up, the Tide will host Arkansas on Friday, March 8, beginning at 3 p.m. CT.
Auburn Earns Thrilling Win Over Ole Miss
OXFORD, Miss. – Senior Plamena Kurteva clinched Auburn’s first win over Ole Miss since 2009 with a 7-5, 6-3 deciding victory at No. 6 to give the Tigers a 4-3 win over Ole Miss on Sunday at the Gillom Sports Center.
“This is a complete total team effort,” Auburn women’s tennis head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. “I knew it would come down to doubles point. That’s why we practice it so much. Once we got the doubles point, I knew we could do it. It gave us great momentum. We felt good going into singles. We had two freshmen who really outdid themselves.
“Michala played outstanding today. She’s really been fighting hard. For her to play the way she did was big. Pleun picked up a huge win over a highly ranked player. I’m just really proud. Our two goals were to win the doubles point and to record a perfect weekend. This is my first SEC perfect weekend, so this is very special.”
With her team leading 3-2, Kurteva buckled down to earn the win on six and help Auburn improve to 12-1 in 2013. The victory is the 12th in a row for the Tigers, a program record.
“Momentum shifted a little bit after they picked up a couple of wins,” Meisner said. “I knew Plamena was going to win. She came out in beast mode in warm ups. Of course, if it comes down to 3-all, then I want her there. She never let up. She didn’t let the nerves get to her. Credit Jen too, who stayed on the court and it really helped Plamena stay comfortable. Everyone played a hand in this win.”
Ole Miss (2-6, 0-2) tied the match at 1-1 when Emily Flickinger fell on court three to Julia Jones, 2-6, 1-6. The Tigers (12-1, 2-0) quickly responded with a 6-2, 6-4 victory by Michala Kucharova at the second spot as she dropped Mai El Kamash.
Auburn pushed its lead to 2-1 with a thrilling come-from-behind win at the top spot by Pleun Burgmans. The freshman took the first set with ease, 6-2, but fell in the second, 5-7. She then battled back in the deciding set to record a 6-4 set win and the victory.
The Rebels bounced back with a 6-3, 6-0 win by Emily Stephens over Jackie Kasler at No. 4 to keep the pressure on and make it 3-2 in favor of Auburn. Ole Miss came all the way back to tie the match at 3-3 with a 6-2, 7-6 (9-7) defeat of Jen Pfeifler by Marija Milutinovic to set the stage for Kurteva.
Auburn took a quick 1-0 lead by securing a hotly contested doubles point with a 9-8 victory by Pfeifler and Paulina Schippers on court three over Jones and Iris Verboven. The Tigers also got a win at the second line by Kasler and Flickinger with an 8-4 defeat of El Kamash and Vief Vlarr.
The doubles victory for Auburn was its 12th in 13 matches this season.
Auburn is in action next on Friday when it hosts LSU at 3 p.m. at the Yarbrough Tennis Center. For the latest on Auburn women’s tennis, follow @AUWomensTennis.