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    SEC Tennis Today: Friday, January 31

    No. 10 Bulldogs Rally For Victory Against No. 53 Texas Tech

    LUBBOCK, Texas – These days, it seems like the 10th-ranked Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (5-0) has a love for thrilling finishes. Down 3-0, the Bulldogs rallied to take down the 53rd-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-2) 4-3 Friday at the McLeod Tennis Center in Lubbock, Texas.

    Combined with MSU’s exciting victories against No. 26 Harvard and No. 21 Memphis last weekend, the win moves MSU to 5-0 to start the season for the second-straight year and the seventh time in history. The victory also moves State to 4-1 all time against Texas Tech and 1-0 in Lubbock.

    State found itself down early, dropping the doubles point to the Red Raiders. TTU picked up a win on court one when the No. 33 duo of Hugo Dojas and Maxime Hinnisdaels defeated MSU’s No. 52 tandem of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp 6-3. The Bulldogs evened the score when Rishab Agarwal and Zach White took down Tech’s Carlos DiLaura and Francisco Zambon 6-3 on court three, bringing the doubles point down to court two.

    Pushing the match to a tiebreaker, Tech’s duo of Felipe Soares and Johann Willems downed MSU’s Florian Lakat and Tassilo Schmid 6-5(5) to give TTU the early 1-0 advantage.

    With the scene shifting to singles, the Red Raiders seemed to be carrying all the momentum against the ITA top-10 Bulldogs. TTU pushed its lead to 3-0 after claiming victories from Jolan Cailleau and Zambon. Cailleau defeated Schmid 6-3, 6-2 on court six, while Zambon took down Agarwal 6-4, 6-5(3) to put the Red Raiders within a point of an upset.

    After taking the first sets, Bulldog seniors Stropp, ranked 39th nationally, and White were pushed to a third, while MSU’s No. 63 Lakat was battling in the second to stay alive in the match, putting State on the brink of defeat.

    However, the tide turned when Lakat earned a late break and pushed his match at the top spot to a third set.

    Quickly following the break, Angus took care of business on court three, defeating Hinnisdaels 6-5(3), 6-4, to bring MSU within two. Lakat followed Angus’ victory, catching fire in the third to put away TTU’s No. 101 Soares 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 on one, cutting the Red Raider lead to one.

    As it was last weekend, the spotlight was put on the Maroon and White’s two seniors with the match on the line, as White and Stropp were both locked in third set battles. White used a break to open his final set, riding it all the way to a 6-5(4), 4-6, 6-3 triumph, making the Bulldog comeback nearly complete.

    Stropp busted out of the gates in the third, going up a double break 4-0 against Tech’s No. 65 Dojas. However, Dojas fought back to push the match to a tiebreaker, putting the pressure back on the MSU veteran. Despite going back-and-forth to start, Stropp pulled away late in the breaker, taking the match 6-5(6), 3-6, 6-5(5) and giving the Bulldogs the win in dramatic fashion.

    “I’m so proud of our guys for fighting and getting this win today against a solid Texas Tech team,” coach Per Nilsson said. “We had our backs against the wall early, the guys didn’t let that distract them and just kept fighting till they came out victorious. Great win for us today.”

    The Bulldogs will complete the weekend road trip to Texas Saturday with a matchup against the Rice Owls (2-2), set for 12 p.m. CT.

    No. 49 Arkansas Sweeps No. 63 North Texas, 7-0

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The No. 49 University of Arkansas women's tennis team (4-1) wasted no time earning its second win over a ranked opponent this season, cruising to a 7-0 victory over No. 63 North Texas at the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center in Fayetteville, Ark., on Friday.

    The Razorbacks jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead by taking the doubles point with wins from Yang Pang and Oleksandra Shkorupeieva, as well as Sarah McLean and Shannon Hudson.

    Showing no signs of letting up, Arkansas then went on to a 6-0 sweep in singles play with each Razorback earning a win on the night.

    "I was particularly pleased with how we came out in doubles and clearly took a step forward from last weekend to the point where we looked strong in doubles," head coach Michael Hegarty said. "Today, I was also impressed with how we kept the foot on the gas pedal all the way to the end against an extremely well coached team."

    The Mean Green have won three Sun Belt Conference championships the last four years under the direction of head coach Sujay Lama, including back-to-back crowns in 2012 and 2013. North Texas also entered coming off a trip to the NCAA tournament last season.

    Postseason aspirations of their own, Surin rolled to a 6-1, 6-1, win over Alexis Thoma at the four spot, followed by Pang defeating Anastasia Shestakova, 6-0, 6-2, on court one to give Arkansas a 3-0 lead. Shkorupeieva clinched the match point at No. 6, defeating Dane Joubert 6-3, 6-3.

    A great kick-start win, the Razorbacks open with momentum for what will be a busy weekend of home action. Arkansas quickly turns around and welcomes Southern Illinois tomorrow for its second dual match in as many days and then will host matches against both No. 31 Oklahoma State and Oral Roberts on Sunday.

    Arkansas and Southern Illinois University get underway at the George M. Billingsley Center tomorrow, Feb. 1, with first serve scheduled for 10 a.m.

    No. 17 Gamecocks Fall at Georgia Tech, 4-2

    ATLANTA – No. 17 South Carolina suffered a 4-2 loss at Georgia Tech Friday evening at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex. The Gamecocks (3-2) opened with a 2-0 lead but the Yellow Jackets (4-0) closed out three singles matches in rapid succession to seize momentum en route to the victory. South Carolina freshman Andrew Schafer remained undefeated in his dual-match season with the Gamecocks’ lone singles point of the match.

    “Hats off to Georgia Tech today,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “They came out today with something to prove and played like it. Every guy in their lineup played really well and with a lot of passion. Our guys battled well at certain spots and not as well at others. That’s something that we will have to get better at for the next match.”

    The teams split the top two doubles matches with South Carolina’s duo of Thiago Pinheiro and Tsvetan Mihov posting a 6-4 win over Nathan Rakitt and Casey Kay in the No. 2 spot. For the second-straight match, the Gamecocks would have to win a tiebreak in the No. 3 match to secure the early team lead. Once again Schafer and Andrew Adams delivered, outlasting Cole Fiegel and Anish Sharma 6-5 (5) to put South Carolina up 1-0 going into singles action.

    Georgia Tech sprinted out of the gate in singles, winning three first sets and sending two others into tiebreaks. Schafer secured his first set quickly, posting a 6-2 win over Sharma in the No. 6 match. Mihov, Adams and Chip Cox dropped theirs with late service breaks from the Yellow Jackets. In the No. 2 match, Kyle Koch came back from an early service break to push his first set against Carlos Benito into a tiebreak, which also stretched into extended points until the Gamecocks’ junior finally broke through 6-5 (11). Pinheiro and Kay were on-serve throughout the set with Kay just edging South Carolina’s junior 6-5 (6) in the tiebreak to make it four first-set wins for the Yellow Jackets.

    Schafer made it a 2-0 South Carolina lead with his 6-0 second set over Sharma, and Pinheiro got a break to win his second set over Kay 6-3 soon after. Georgia Tech would not cede the momentum, though, posting straight-set wins in the Nos. 1, 3 and 5 matches one right after the other to surge ahead 3-2 with the two remaining matches on court just starting their third sets.

    While Koch fell behind Benito early in his set, Pinheiro and Kay were on-serve through seven games. Trailing 3-4, though, Pinheiro won the next two games to got up 5-4, breathing life into the Gamecocks’ chances of victory. Koch narrowed the gap to Benito to 3-4 as the No. 4 match went into a tiebreak. For the second time in the three sets, though, Kay would edge out Pinheiro in the extra session, sealing Georgia Tech’s victory with a 6-5 (5) decision.

    South Carolina returns to Columbia for a Sunday doubleheader against No. 56 Middle Tennessee State and Wofford. Matches at the USC Fieldhouse are slated for 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.