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    SEC Tennis Report: Martin Luther King Invitational

    Ole Miss Concludes Play at MLK Invite

    ATLANTA – The No. 11 ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team concluded play at the MLK Invitational on Martin Luther King Jr., Day here Monday on the campus of Georgia Tech facing No. 21 Memphis in doubles and singles.
     
    “This was a great weekend,” head coach Billy Chadwick said.  “Being able to play three singles and three doubles matches against quality opponents will definitely help us with our preparation for this weekend’s ITA Kickoff.”
     
    The Rebels picked up two more wins on the weekend, all in singles.  Nik Scholtz, ranked No. 15 in the nation, defeated 56th-ranked Joe Salisbury 6-0, 5-6, 6-2.    Freshman Vinod Gowda beat David O’Hare 6-5, 3-6, 6-3.
     
    Two other matches went three sets, but the Rebels were unable to come away victorious in either one.  Sophomore Stefan Lindmark fell to David O’Leary 6-2, 2-6, 6-5, and Johan Backstrom dropped his match to Johnny Grimal 4-6, 6-5, 6-3.  
     
    Ole Miss now turns its attention to hosting the ITA Kickoff this weekend at the Gillom Sports Center Saturday and Sunday.  The Rebels will face No. 26 Michigan Saturday at 10 a.m. in the first round before the men’s basketball team takes on Mississippi State at 3 p.m.  The other match features No. 22 Illinois against No. 23 Clemson.  The winners will meet Sunday for a chance to earn a spot in the National Team Indoor Feb. 14-17 in Houston, Texas.
     
    Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis.



    Pasha Claims Singles Title as Bulldogs Roll in ATL

    ATLANTA --- The third-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team closed out an impressive run at the MLK Invitational on Monday – an outing that was highlighted by sweeping five singles matches vs. in-state rival Georgia Tech at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex in Atlanta.
     
    The three-day indoor tournament pitted Georgia against players from Memphis on Saturday, Ole Miss on Sunday, and the Yellow Jackets today. No team scores were recorded, but junior Nathan Pasha came away with the individual singles title following an undefeated weekend at 3-0. Memphis’ doubles team of Joe Salisbury and David O’Hare claimed the doubles crown.
     
    In all, the Bulldogs went a combined 20-7 in singles and doubles.
     
    “Our guys did a great job bouncing back today from what I thought was a bit of a disappointing doubles,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “You’ve got to hand it to Tech there – we squandered a 4-0 lead at No. 2 and were up a break twice at No. 1. We need to do a better job finishing. We learned our lesson and came out with fire. I was pleased with how we finished. Hopefully this young team continues improving and maturing, and learning these lessons along the way so we can become a better team as we move along.”
     
    After coming into the final day of competition with a 14-5 overall mark, the Bulldogs suffered losses on two of the three doubles courts. Georgia’s team of Austin Smith and Nick Wood posted a commanding 6-2 lead over Anish Sharma and Cole Fiegel, but elsewhere the team of No. 12 Ben Wagland and Hernus Pieters lost 6-3 to Eduardo Segura and Carlos Benito, while Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux lost 6-5 in a tiebreaker to Nathan Rakitt and Casey Kay. 
     
    But the Bulldogs responded in singles to win each of the five matches vs. the Yellow Jackets, with 48th-ranked Wagland defeating Segura in straight sets, 6-3, 6-5, and No. 47 Brasseaux doing the same vs. Kay, 6-2, 6-4. The other three courts went three sets and Georgia came through, with 12th-ranked Smith posting a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Rakitt, No. 21 Pasha claiming a 6-3, 5-6, 6-2 decision over Benito, and No. 102 Wood beating Fiegel by a score of 6-4, 5-6, 6-4. 
     
    The Bulldogs will open the 2014 home slate next weekend, hosting a leg of the ITA Kickoff Jan. 25-26 at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility. Columbia, Washington, and Stanford will make the trip to Athens with a berth in the National Team Indoor Championships on the line. Live stats and the Georgia Tennis Live Blog will be available on Georgiadogs.com.



    Vols Round Out Weekend 4-0

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Playing their third and fourth matches in three days Monday, the No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers (4-0) could have easily let the fatigue, the errors or the missed opportunities get in their way of a weekend sweep.
     
    The Vols, however, managed to yet again sweep a season-opening doubleheader. UT began the day with a hard-fought 5-2 victory over in-state rival East Tennessee State (1-2), and then raced out to a 7-0 outing against Murray State (0-2).
     
    Once again, it was a mix of both Tennessee newcomers and some veteran experience which took control of both matches. Against ETSU, a dominant doubles performance by all three pairs preceded a solid outing by senior Jarryd Chaplin, who won in straight sets against Sebastian Yllera. Wins from freshman Markus Kerner and No. 16 Hunter Reese sealed the win, but the Bucs kept fighting, forcing third sets in the remaining three matches--a first for a UT opponent this season.
     
    Junior Andrew Dromsky, a transfer from Georgia Southern, was the only remaining Vol to win, and he needed a 7-4 tiebreaker to defeat Ismael Merino of ETSU.
     
    "We knew ETSU was going to be our biggest challenge," said head coach Sam Winterbotham. "I think that they're always a competitive team that fights for every point, so they're a great team to play."
     
    In the second match of the doubleheader, the Vols managed to jump out on the Racers early and often and never looked back. In a bit of a lineup change, the No. 28 doubles pair of Chaplin and Brandon Fickey extended their career-long winning streak to nine matches with a 6-0 win over the pair of Max McLean and Adam Taylor.
     
    In the singles, Tennessee kept the momentum and energy levels at a high level, sweeping all six Racer opponents in straight sets, going back to the form which they exhibited on Saturday. Dromsky played No. 4 in the newly-adjusted lineup, beating Aleks Mitric 6-0, 6-2 to improve his weekend total to 4-0, plus 4-0 in doubles with partner Kerner.
     
    "It was just a blast to be back on the court," said Dromsky. "I absolutely love the program and I loved to be able to get out here and play with the guys."
     
    Up next for the Vols is the ITA Kick-off Weekend, where Knoxville will be a host site for four schools all fighting for a spot in the ITA Indoor National Championships in February. UT will host Michigan State at 10 a.m. Saturday, with Virginia Commonwealth playing NC State in the second match. The winners will play on Sunday for a spot at the ITA's.
     
    Until then, however, the Vols will have to improve beyond what their 4-0 record implies in order to achieve their major goals of winning SEC or NCAA championships.
     
    "I think we need to get a lot better," said Winterbotham. "It's a good start. We know right now we're not in a position to win anything.
     
    "This is the hard work part of the season where they're still building a base, and we have a long way to go."
     
    That message of continuing a blue-collar work ethic has rubbed off on the players as well.
     
    "We just need to be sharper," said Dromsky. "We just got to not make the errors and not let the opportunities go. I think we learned a lot from this weekend. (We) look forward to going forward."



    Lady Vols Close at Time at UVA Winter Invite

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.  –  With her win at No. 1 singles Monday, freshman Eve Repic earned singles tournament runner up honors at the UVA Winter Invite. 
     
    Repic defeated No. 107 Tereza Bekerova of Utah 3-6, 7-6 (4), 1-0 (5) in comeback fashion to earn the honor. It was her second win over a ranked opponent on the weekend. 
     
    The Lady Vols came away with three singles victories and a doubles win on the day. 
     
    Tiffany Tavares also earned her second win of the weekend defeating Sarah Richter 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (7) while Victoria Olivarez bested Rachael Morales in straight sets 6-1, 6-2. 
     
    Laurence Guevremont and Repic teamed up for a doubles victory downing Richter and Morales at No. 2 doubles 7-5. 
     
    Tennessee will kick off its dual season on Saturday, January 25 vs. Purdue in Clemson, S.C. during the ITA Kickoff Weekend. 



    Mizzou Posts Win Over SIUE

    COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Mizzou tennis team concluded its season-opening double header with a 6-1 win over SIUE on Monday, Jan. 20 at the Green Tennis Center. The Tigers, who defeated SLU 6-1 earlier in the day, improved to 2-0 on the year. The Cougars fell to 0-1.  
     
    Missouri won the doubles point to go up 1-0 early. The Tigers’ No. 1 doubles team of senior Cierra Gaytan-Leach and freshman Cassidy Spearman earned a 6-2 win over SIUE’s Lexi Aranda and Sierra Halverson. Moments later, sophomore Kelli Hine and freshman Tracy Dong finished off Kali Donner and Haley Ilcewicz, 6-3, at No. 3 action to give Mizzou the doubles point. 
     
    Hine gave Missouri a 2-0 advantage with a straight set, 6-2, 6-3, win over Aranda at No. 2 singles. At No. 1 action, Gaytan-Leach easily disposed of SIUE’s Monique Krutak, 6-2, 6-2, for a 3-0 Tiger lead. 
     
    Sophomore Madison Rhyner clinched the win for Missouri after she earned a 6-4, 6-3 win over Donner at No. 3 singles. 
     
    The Cougars got on the board at No. 4 play when senior Rachel Stuhlmann’s comeback fell short, as she fell to Mia Frogner, 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 10-8. 
     
    At No. 5 play, Spearman dropped the first set but came back and earned a hard-fought 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 win over Ilcewicz. Dong closed out the day with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Halverson at No. 6 singles. 
     
    The Tigers travel to Gainesville, Fla., next weekend to compete in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Missouri faces Harvard on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 9 a.m. CT, then will play either No. 2 Florida or Louisville on Sunday, Jan. 26 at a time to be determined.