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    SEC Hardcourt Update - Friday, 3/29

    Alabama Women’s Tennis Shuts Out Missouri, 4-0

    ST. LOUIS – The seventh-ranked Alabama women’s tennis team (17-2, 9-1 SEC) rolled over Missouri (9-9, 2-8 SEC), 4-0, on Friday at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center. Alexa Guarachi would clinch the win for the Crimson Tide for her 102nd career singles victory, making her the winningest singles player in program history.

    Alabama took the 1-0 lead following doubles with wins on courts one and two. Both got off to a quick start, with 4-0 advantages before allowing their Missouri counterparts to get on the board. The Tide’s No. 1 duo of sixth-ranked Guarachi and Mary Anne Macfarlane cruised through the rest of their match from that point, earning an 8-1 victory over Cierra Gaytan-Leach and Alex Clark. The matchup on court two got a little closer down the stretch with the Tigers’ Maria Christensen and Rachel Stuhlmann closing in; however Antonia Foehse and Maya Jansen held on for the 8-6 win to award Alabama the first point of the match.

    The Tide went on to win three singles matches in a row, all in straight sets, to secure the team victory. Natalia Maynetto went from having her longest match of the season last weekend to one of her quickest matches, posting a 6-1, 6-1 win over Madison Rhyder on court six. Macfarlane was next, beating Gaytan-Leach, 6-3, 6-4, from court one, while Guarachi followed on court two against Stuhlmann, also winning 6-3, 6-4.

    Georgia Men Down LSU, 4-0

    BATON ROUGE, La. --- The fourth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team won its seventh straight match and 11th out of the last 12 with a 4-0 victory over No. 32 LSU Friday afternoon at W.T. ‘Dub’ Robinson Stadium in Baton Rouge.

    With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 16-4 on the season and 8-1 in conference play, keeping pace atop the Southeastern Conference standings with three matches to go. LSU falls to 11-9.

    “It feels great to get this one today,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “I think our guys really came out and responded well. We played a good doubles point, even at No. 3 where we lost, the guys were down two breaks and fought back to even it. It was close. I am very happy with our focus right now. We did a good job coming down here and getting a win on the road – LSU is a tough team to beat. Our guys are turning their attention to the next match because we’ll need to be ready to go again.”

    The Bulldogs took the early 1-0 lead by way of the doubles point, which went Georgia’s way for the 14th time in 19 attempts in 2013 (the team did not play doubles vs. Mississippi State). After LSU got an 8-6 win at No. 3 for Chris Simpson and Boris Arias over Eric Diaz and Marco Nunez, the Bulldogs responded by taking the remaining two courts and the point. First was 41st-ranked Nathan Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux with an 8-4 decision over Stefan Szacinski and Tam Trinh at No. 2, followed by the clinching win for No. 6 Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland as they took down Roger Anderson and Olivier Borsos, 8-5, at the top spot.

    Georgia kept the momentum going in singles, winning four of six first sets before senior KU Singh’s speedy 6-2, 6-2 win over 82nd-ranked Simpson at No. 1 gave the Bulldogs the 2-0 advantage. For No. 11 Singh, it was the 15th singles win of the season and team-leading 11th over a nationally-ranked opponent.

    Just minutes later, it was the freshman Wagland who used a 6-3, 6-3 win over Borsos at No. 3 to push the lead to 3-0, as the two-time SEC Freshman of the Week improves to 21-7 on the season and 13-4 in dual matches. The clinch came from Pieters at No. 5, as he dropped Trinh 6-1, 6-2 at No. 5 to seal the 4-0 road shutout for UGA. It was the junior’s second clinch of the season as he improves to 21-9 on the season.  The remaining three matches were abandoned.

    “I thought KU and Ben did a great job of setting Hernus up for the clinch,” Diaz said. “Overall it was a competitive match, but our top three guys were able to get quick wins. We could’ve done better at some spots because we are capable of doing that. LSU played well at Nos. 4 and 6, so we’ll need to do a better job there.”

    Georgia Women Shut Out LSU, 7-0
    Athens, GA --- Third-ranked Georgia (16-2, 9-1) picked up its sixth consecutive win with a 7-0 shutout over 59th-ranked LSU on Friday afternoon. Coach Jeff Wallace is now only one win shy of his 600th career win.
    This is Georgia’s 36th consecutive win over LSU since 1985. Georgia’s improves its record against the Tigers to 36-4, with an 18-3 mark in Athens.
    “It was a great match,” said Wallace. “It was competitive, but we really stepped it up today. All of our players are improving at the right time and playing some great tennis. I’m excited about this team and how hard the girls are competing.”
    The Bulldogs secured the doubles point with quick wins on courts one and three. The fourth-ranked doubles pair of Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia improved their record to 17-1. Ayaka Okuno and Mia King competed for the first time as a doubles team and won on court three.  After Georgia clinched the doubles point, court two did not play out.
    In singles, 18th-ranked Maho Kowase clinched the Georgia win on court two, 6-0, 6-2. This marks Kowase’s 10th consecutive win and 13th of the season. Kate Fuller went 6-1, 6-0 on court four, claiming the first singles win and bringing her overall record to 24-6. Ayaka Okuno, in her first appearance for Georgia, quickly followed on court five with a score of 6-0, 6-0.
    With the match outcome already decided, the remaining courts played out. Silvia Garcia, ranked 86th nationally, won a tough-fought battle against LSU’s Mary Jeremiah on court three with a final score of 6-4, 6-4, and improved her record to 18-2. Lauren Herring, ranked 8th in the country, defeated LSU’s only ranked player, 114th-ranked Kaitlin Burns, 6-2, 6-2 for her 31st win of the year. Finally, Mia King capped off the shutout 6-2, 6-4 on court six and boosted her record to 13-5.

    No. 2 UF Women’s Tennis Sweeps Ole Miss, 7-0

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Second-ranked Florida began its final home weekend of the regular season with a 7-0 sweep against Ole Miss at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex on an unusually cold Friday evening in Gainesville.

    The win was the Gator’s ninth consecutive overall victory, as well as their 118th straight win at home, their 123rd regular-season win at home and their sixth victory in a row against the Rebels (10-10, 4-6 SEC).

    Florida (16-2, 9-1 SEC) won the doubles point for the 11th time this year and then used singles victories from Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.), Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium), Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium), Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.), Brianna Morgan (Beverly Hills, Calif.) and Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) to capture the sweep.

    “I thought we were fantastic in doubles and solid in singles,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “It was a really good day for us.”

    Each of the first five singles matches were decided in straight sets, with only Janowicz dropping her opening frame on court five, where she rallied to win the second set against Marija Milutinovic and forced a 10-point super-tiebreak. The Rebel held leads to 6-3 and 8-5 in the breaker, and was receiving with a match point at 10-9, but Janowicz battled back and won the final three points to earn her seventh consecutive singles victory and her team-leading 28th of the season.

    “The neat thing about Olivia is that she couldn’t hit a ball in the ocean the first set and I felt for her,” Thornqvist said. “She had to go to plan ‘b’ in the second set and just try to rotate the ball more and maybe not it as flat since she hit so many errors in the first. She generally doesn’t like to do that but today she was forced to and she was able to win. When you’re not playing well and you have to go to plan ‘b’ or plan ‘c’ and still be able to execute that’s pretty impressive and I felt really good about that and I was happy for her.”

    Cercone was the first Gator to post a singles victory, as she downed Mai El Kamash, 6-4, 6-1, on court three in 71 minutes. The Gator junior won her 20th singles match of the year, improving to 11-1 in dual match action. Cercone began the match with a break and held for a quick 2-0 lead. The rest of the set was basically on-serve, with the two trading breaks in the seventh and eighth games. Cercone raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second, dropped in serve in the fourth game, but wouldn’t lose again en route to the victory.

    Oyen defeated Julia Jones, four minutes later, 6-2, 6-2, on court two. Oyen earned breaks in the fifth and seventh games without losing her serve to win the first set. The two traded breaks to open the second and after Jones held, Oyen ripped off the final five games to capture the win and give Florida a 3-0 lead.

    Hitimana and Embree, the Gator’s two seniors, were playing match-point on their respective courts at the same time, with Hitimana able to close out her match short before Embree and provide the clinching dual match victory.

    For Hitimana, the 6-2, 6-3 win against Vivian Vlaar marked the 70th singles victory of her career, as she won her 32nd consecutive singles bout in dual match action.

    Embree’s 6-4, 6-0 decision over Caroline Rodhe-Moe was her 33rd straight dual match singles victory, as the talented Gator improved to 80-5 in career dual match singles play that includes a 38-0 all-time record in SEC contests. She improved to 20-1 this season, as well as 111-14 in her singles career.

    Nine minutes later Morgan gave Florida a 6-0 lead after she polished off Erin Stephens, 6-3, 6-2. The Gator rookie marched out to a 4-0 lead, before Stephens started to rally, who won three straight games before Morgan held for the 5-3 lead and broke in a long game to win the opening set. Morgan won the first two games of the second set before the two exchanged breaks. The next three games were holds before Morgan earned one last break to take the win on court four and improve to 12-1 in singles matches, 6-1 in SEC play.

    The Gators captured the doubles point behind individual 8-2 wins from Embree and Oyen at the No. 1 court and from Danielle Collins (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Morgan on court three.

    Embree, who improved to 110-21 all-time on the doubles court, and Oyen defeated, while the two freshmen downed Mai El Kamash and Julia Jones.

    Embree and Oyen raced out to a 5-0 lead en route to their win against Marija Milutinovic and Caroline Rohde-Moe, as Embree improved to 110-21 all-time on the doubles court.

    Collins and Morgan battled Mai El Kamash and Julia Jones and earned breaks in the fourth and sixth games, as well as the 10th and final one, to secure the doubles point in 50 minutes.

    Florida’s Cercone and Janowicz led the match on court two, 7-6, when play was abandoned.

    Florida Men’s Tennis Upsets No. 7 Ole Miss, 4-1, in Oxford

    OXFORD, Miss.—The Florida men’s tennis team scored a big win on Friday night, taking down No. 7 Ole Miss, 4-1, in Oxford at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. With the win, the Gators improved to 11-8 overall and 5-4 in the Southeastern Conference.

    Florida took advantage early against Ole Miss (13-6, 6-4 SEC), storming out in doubles to take a 1-0 lead. Florent Diep and Gordon Watson paired up for the first time this season and beat the Rebels’ William Kallberg and Zach Wilder, 8-3, at No. 3 doubles. Stephane Piro and Bob van Overbeek then clinched the doubles point with an 8-4 win against No. 67 Stefan Lindmark and Johan Backstrom.

    The Gators were able to carry momentum over into singles play, taking the first set on three courts. On court three, van Overbeek stormed out against Lindmark, breezing to a 6-0, 6-1 victory. Watson then defeated Wilder in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0, at No. 6 singles to give Florida a 3-0 lead in the match.

    Ole Miss got on the board with a win on court four as Backstrom beat Mike Alford, but Florida had bounced back on the remaining three courts to force a third set in each match. Diep pulled out the clinching victory, beating No. 84 Kallberg, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 to secure the team victory.

    Bulldogs Down No. 20 South Carolina For Senior Day Victory
    STARKVILLE, Miss. – For the fourth-consecutive season, senior day at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre ended in victory, as the 13th-ranked Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (14-7, 4-5 SEC) took down No. 20 South Carolina (15-8, 5-4 SEC) 4-2 Friday to close out regular season home play.

    With the win, State improved its all-time record against the Gamecocks to 15-10, while upping its home record against the SEC East foe to 8-4. The Bulldogs have also won the last three meetings in the series. 

    South Carolina grabbed an early edge against the Bulldogs, as the Gamecocks took the doubles point with victories on courts one and three. The USC duo of Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov, ranked 21st in the nation, defeated the No. 15 MSU tandem of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp 8-1 on court one to start off doubles play. However, State fired back as the Bulldog team of Romain Bogaerts and Zach White defeated South Carolina’s No. 55 duo of Kyle Koch and Harry Menzies 8-6 on court 2.
    Play on court three went back and forth, as the two teams battled for a chance to take the early lead in the team match. The teams traded holds late in the match to force a deciding tiebreaker, but the Gamecock team of Thiago Pinheiro and Andrew Adams escaped with a win, defeating MSU’s Pedro Dumont and Ethan Wilkinson 9-8(4) to clinch the doubles point for USC.
    Looking to bounce back in singles, State leveled the score with a victory on court six, as the freshman Dumont cruised against USC’s Menzies 6-2, 6-2. USC would then jump back out in front, going up 2-1 as MSU’s White fell to South Carolina’s Koch 7-5, 6-2 on court five. 

    State would once again even the score with perhaps the day’s most crucial victory. MSU’s Angus found himself down to USC’s Cox 5-2 in the first set, but would not flinch, instead battling back to force a tiebreaker. Angus again found himself down, as he trailed 3-0 in the tiebreaker, but fought back again, eventually taking the first set 7-6(7). The second set proved to not be as troublesome for Angus as he defeated Cox 7-6(7), 6-3 to tie the team match at 2-2.

    Play then came down to the top three courts, with each team needing two victories to clinch the match. After dropping the first set on court two, MSU’s No. 50 Stropp came back to defeat his fourth ranked opponent of the year, beating USC's No. 90 Adams 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 in a hard-fought battle.
    A point away from victory, the two teams battled it out on courts one and three, but the top spot would prove to be the decider. After splitting the first two sets, the match between MSU’s No. 20 Bogaerts and USC’s Mihov would come down to a final set. Bogaerts only relinquished two games in the final set, storming to victory against Mihov 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 and wrapping the team match in Maroon and White.
    Play on court three was suspended at that point, as USC’s Pinheiro led MSU senior James Chaudry 6-7(2), 6-3, 5-4. Chaudry had fought off several match points in the game, putting it at 40-40 when suspended.
    “Tough match today, but we pulled out a big win, especially on senior day,” head coach Per Nilsson said. “Really proud of our guys, but now we have to focus on Florida this Sunday.”


    KNOXVILLE, Tenn.  – A high, top-spin lob shot by Caitlyn Williams over the head of her Arkansas opponent sealed the 4-2 victory for the University of Tennessee women’s tennis team Friday night at Barksdale Stadium.

    Williams, who battled her way through her singles match on an injured ankle, came back to force a first set tie break that didn’t go in her favor 7-6 (4), earned a comeback 6-4 second set victory to force a third and deciding set and finally rallied back from being down 2-3 to reel off four straight games, two in four-point fashion, to earn the match-clinching point for the Lady Vols.

    With the victory, the Lady Vols improve to 9-8 on the season and 6-4 in SEC action while Arkansas drops to 10-13 in 2013 and 3-8 in SEC play.

    “We played a lot of matches this year that were in question, so it is not unusual and I felt good for Caits because she has been out there when it didn’t go her way a couple times,” said co-head coach Mike Patrick. “That was a big finish for her and hopefully it will help her out. It is great to get a win.”

    The Lady Vols started off the match dropping the doubles point to Arkansas. Brynn Boren and Kata Szekely extended their match win streak to eight games with a 8-4 win at court one over No. 74 ranked doubles team of Claudine Paulson and Segou Jonker to begin the night.

    However, the Lady Vols dropped tough 8-6 matches on courts two and three as the Razorbacks eked out the doubles point despite a hard fought effort by Tennessee.

    “The girls had great effort,” said Patrick. “Our execution wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but our effort was great on every place. Those kind of matches help you grow up. Tiffany is starting to come into her own. We are overall pleased with the way the team competed.

    Freshman Tiffany Tavares evened the score at one-all with a 6-3, 6-4 victory on court five while her classmate Mimi Fotopoulos gave the Lady Vols their first lead on the day with a 6-2, 6-2 win at court four, her first career win at No. 4 singles.

    On court two, No. 38 Kata Szekely ended her seven-match win streak with a tough 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 loss to No. 97 Claudine Paulson as Paulson evened the score at two-all for the Razorbacks.

    But just as soon as the score became tied, No. 21 Brynn Boren battled to a 6-4, 7-5 victory at No. 1 singles to put the Lady Vols ahead 3-2 and give Williams the opportunity for the match winner.

    At No. 6 singles, Jesse Grace also forced three sets, falling 7-6 (4) in a first set tiebreak, earning a 6-3 second set victory and was down 1-5 before the match was won.

    The Lady Vols will round out their home schedule on Senior Day, Sunday when they take on LSU at 1 p.m. Prior to the match UT will honor senior Kata Szekely.

    “It is a sad day, a happy day, all of those things rolled into one,” said Patrick. “We need to go out and get a team victory but she has been special for our program, she is one of my favorite kids we have ever had. She has done the right things, the way you want them done and I am proud of what she has accomplished.”

    A&M Defeats Auburn, Sets Up Showdown Against No. 7 Alabama on Sunday

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – No. 4 Texas A&M remained in a four-way tie for first place in the Southeastern Conference overall standings following a 4-0 victory over No. 23 Auburn tonight at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.

    The win sets up a crucial showdown with No. 7 Alabama on Sunday in the Aggies’ final home match of the regular season. A&M, 17-2 overall, and the Crimson Tide are both 9-1 in conference matches to lead the SEC Western Division, and the two teams are in a four-way tie with Florida and Georgia for first place overall with three matches remaining.

    “The fact that we got over today and were able to win it convincingly sets up Sunday as a really important match for us and our program,” A&M head coach Howard Joffe said. “In the context of the SEC, obviously Sunday’s match is a big match, and there is no way to finesse it. I’m sure for us it will be anxiety provoking and nerve-wracking, because the reality is we are going to get to play a very good match on Sunday. It will be exciting.”

    The race for the doubles point against the Tigers was decided by a tiebreaker at the No. 3 line after the teams had split at Nos. 1 and 2. Auburn took the early edge as 26th-ranked Pleun Burgmans and Plamena Kurteva defeated A&M’s seventh-ranked duo of Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu, 8-5, at No. 1

    A&M got a win at the No. 2 line, where 72nd-ranked Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun jumped out to a 4-1 lead and went on to defeat Emily Flickinger and Jackie Kasler, 8-3. It was the fifth consecutive win for the Aggie pair.

    At the No. 3 line, A&M twins Ines and Paula Deheza were on serve with Auburn’s Jen Pfeifler and Paulina Schippers at 6-6. The match stayed on serve at 8-8, forcing a tiebreaker to be played to determine the winner. The Aggie duo pulled away for a 9-8 (7-1) win, improving to a team-best 11-5 in dual matches, including 7-2 in SEC contests, while also giving A&M the 1-0 lead.

    As long as it took the Aggies to take control of the doubles point, A&M would easily take early command in singles, winning the first set on all six courts.

    Stancu, playing the No. 3 line for the first time this season, quickly finished off Kasler, 6-1, 6-0, to give the Aggies a 2-0 lead. Ines Deheza soon followed and won her ninth consecutive match with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Kurteva at the No. 4 line to put A&M ahead, 3-0.

    Auburn held strong in the second sets on the remaining four courts before fifth-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar finished off No. 36 Burgmans, 6-0, 7-5, at the No. 1 court to clinch the victory for the Aggies.

    A&M’s Nazari Urbina held a 6-3, 4-4 lead over Michala Kucharova at the No. 2 line, and Sun held and identical lead at No. 5 against Ashley Kitchen when Sanchez-Quintanar clinched the winning point. At the No. 6 court, Hristov won her first set, 6-3, against Schippers and was up 5-4 in the second when play was stopped.

    “With respect to today, I thought the girls again had a really rocky road in the doubles, which was as obvious as can be, but in the singles, we came out and really, really, really did a good job against an Auburn team that fights. They really proved it in the second sets in all of the matches. They sort of came back from lopsided matches to at least contest them very well. I am very happy with the results, but we have lots of work to do for Sunday.”

    Gamecocks Survive Test From Mississippi State

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (April 5, 2013) — The 29th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team survived a tough contest with Mississippi State on Friday evening at Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks’ 4-3 victory marked their third straight SEC win and improved their overall record to 12-8 while getting their conference ledger to 5-5. The Bulldogs dropped to 7-11 and 1-9 in league play.

    The Gamecocks had little trouble taking the doubles point from the Bulldogs. After dropping the first game on court three, Alex Martin and Adriana Pereira jumped ahead to a 3-2 lead on Petra Ferancova and Lien Van Geel. After trading games for the next two frames, Carolina won four straight games with Pereira serving it out for an 8-3 triumph.

    Josefin Andersson and Katerina Popova wasted no time jumping on top of Mississippi State’s No. 56-ranked duo of Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran. The Gamecock duo grabbed a 4-0 advantage to get the match underway before surrendering a couple games to Perper and Tran. Andersson and Popova then fired right back with four more games in a row to improve to 13-3 this spring following an 8-2 win.

    At No. 2 doubles, South Carolina’s Elixane Lechemia and Ximena Siles Luna fell behind 2-0 to Georgiana Patrasc and Roseline Dion, but they responded by winning six straight games. The Bulldogs got the next game to make it 6-3 and with the score at deuce in the 10th game, Andersson and Popova secured the doubles point and the No. 2 match was suspended.

    The Bullodogs responded by tying the match at 1-all with Van Geel defeating Martin in straight sets at the No. 6 spot 6-3, 6-2. Carolina answered with two wins coming within less than a minute of each other. No. 98 Popova finished just ahead of Andersson on court one with a 6-4, 6-0 triumph over No. 124 Patrasc. Andersson upended Ferancova 7-5, 6-2 at the No. 4 spot to make the score 3-1 for Carolina.

    The remaining three matches on court all had South Carolina in a hole. At two, Lechemia lost the first set to Perper 6-4 but she was ahead 5-4 in the second. On four, Siles Luna lost the first set to Tran 6-3 and she trailed 3-2 in the second. Pereira lost a hotly contested first set to Dion 7-5 at the No. 5 position, but she jumped ahead 2-0 to begin the second set.

    Lechemia looked to push her match to a third set up 5-4, but Perper came back to make the score 5-all. Lechemia regained the advantage at 6-5, but Perper forced a tiebreaker by holding serve. On her second match point of the breaker, Lechemia received an unforced error from Perper that extended the match to a third set.

    On court three, Siles Luna fell behind 4-2 to Tran but managed to snag a couple games to make the score 4-all. With the set on serve, Tran got a critical break from Siles Luna after going to deuce for a chance to serve out the match.

    Pereira got a 3-1 advantage from Dion and appeared well on her way to a third set, but Dion went on a tear and ripped off five consecutive games to pick up the 7-5, 6-3 victory. Moments before Dion’s win, Tran finished off Siles Luna with a hold of serve for a 6-3, 6-4 final.

    Tied 3-all on the team scoreboard, Lechemia got off to a hot start in the third set by breaking serve and then holding for a 2-0 upper hand. After going to deuce in the third game, Lechemia capitalized on several unforced errors by Perper to push ahead 3-0. Lechemia held her serve in the next game before Perper finally got on the board with a hold to make it 4-1 on the changeover. Perper managed to break Lechemia after going to deuce several times in the ensuing game to trim the deficit even more and then recovered from 0-30 on her serve to trail by just one game 4-3. Another break of serve by Perper got the match back on serve and tied 4-all to set up a thrilling finish.

    Lechemia came out firing on Perper’s serve, ripping two winners for the 0-30 lead. Another strong overhead at the net made the score 15-40. Perper, however, fought off both game points to force deuce. Perper hit a forehand that sailed long on the next rally to give Lechemia the ad, and the junior finished the next point with a powerful overhead smash at the net out of Perper’s reach for a chance to serve out the match up 5-4.

    Perper’s return on Lechemia’s second serve to start the game fell beyond the baseline to make the score 15-0 and Lechemia extended it to 30-0 with a winner down the line on the next point. Perper fought back, though, and won three straight rallies for game point. Lechemia responded with a forehand volley winner at the net for yet another deuce game. Perper grabbed the ad with a powerful forehand winner, but it went back to deuce when her backhand service return on the next point went long trying to lob a charging Lechemia. Perper got another chance to break with an unforced error by Lechemia and she capitalized with a backhand winner down the line when Lechemia came to the net on her serve.

    Lechemia pulled ahead 15-30 on Perper’s serve at 5-all and got to game point at 30-40 with an overhead at the net. Perper forced deuce, but two critical double faults over the next few rallies severely hurt Perper’s odds of holding onto the game. The first was on ad in, but the worst of the pair came on ad out, and Lechemia attempted to serve out the match for the second time.

    The two split the first couple of rallies for 15-15, but more miscues plagued Perper in the game. A pair of consecutive failed returns of serve gave Lechemia a 40-15 lead and she went on to win the match with a forehand volley putaway at the net for the 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 victory. Lechemia improved to 7-5 on the spring and 4-5 in the SEC.


    AUBURN – Auburn’s 27th-ranked men’s tennis team earned its third win over a top-20 opponent in its last four matches with a thrilling, 4-3 victory over No. 12 Texas A&M on Friday night at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.

    The Tigers (13-7, 5-5 SEC) earned their first 4-3 win of the year; the previous four contests that came down to the final match on had gone the opponents’ way.

    “It was a great senior night,” Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. “I thought the guys brought energy the entire night. We played together as a team. I felt like we competed well. We’re getting stronger as the year goes on. I just want them to enjoy this one tonight, it was for the seniors.

    Sophomore Lukas Ollert, ranked No. 105 in the latest ITA rankings, provided the clinching point as he outlasted 93rd-ranked Shane Vinsant at the No. 4 spot in an epic three-set win, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4. Ollert was leading 5-2 in the third set and served for the match at 5-3, but had his serve broken. Vinsant then had a chance at 40-30 to square the set at 5-all, but Ollert fought back and won the match after the second deuce.

    Friday marked the final home match for seniors Lucas Lopasso, Andreas Mies and Michael Wardell.

    “Great finish for them at home,” Shore said. “I was happy for all three of them. They all contributed a lot tonight to the win. Andy wins both singles and doubles, Lopasso wins that breaker in doubles. It was a great night for them.”