Gamecocks Take First Match of Doubleheader
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The No. 33 South Carolina women’s tennis team recorded a 7-0 win over Charleston Southern on Sunday in the first match of a doubleheader at Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C., to improve to 5-1. The Buccaneers dropped to 1-2 with the defeat. The Gamecocks are back in action this afternoon when they play Davidson at 3 p.m.
South Carolina won the doubles point thanks to courts one and two where the Gamecocks dropped just one game between the two contests. Brigit Folland and Katerina Popova blanked Alia Nour and Angelica Sidorenko 6-0 for the first win, and Meghan Blevins and Elixane Lechemia ousted Yvonne Hubler and Alexandra Walters 6-1 to clinch the point. Blevins and Lechemia dropped the first game of the match before running off the next six games.
At No. 3 doubles, Dominika Kanakova made her season debut for the Gamecocks playing alongside Caroline Dailey. The Gamecock duo, though, faced a 5-2 deficit against Nicolin Luecke and Marketa Placha after seven games. The match was then abandoned once South Carolina had secured the doubles point.
With the exception of Dailey on court six who jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Sidorenko, the other five singles matches were fairly tight after the first several games of the first sets. Courts one and four, however, quickly turned in the Gamecocks’ favor. Blevins ended up cruising to a 6-2 win over Luecke at No. 4 singles and Popova finished off her first set soon afterward with a 6-2 victory against Hubler despite losing the first two games. Dailey snagged a 6-1 win from Sidorenko just after Popova’s win.
Ximena Siles Luna began to find her groove on court five against Nour, running off a 6-2 triumph for the first set. Folland then bounced back from a 3-1 hole versus Walters at No. 3 singles to win the set 6-3.
Meanwhile, court two was still in the first set with all the other matches moving to the second, as Lechemia saw her 4-2 lead over Placha evaporate to a 5-4 deficit with Placha serving for the set. Lechemia counter punched with a break of serve to get back to 5-all and then battled her way through one deuce to hold serve in the next game for a 6-5 advantage. The Gamecock junior then broke Placha at 30-40 for a 7-5 win to complete the Gamecocks’ sweep of the first sets.
As Lechemia completed the first set, Folland had jumped ahead on court three 2-0. At four, Blevins took a commanding 4-1 lead over Luecke and Dailey gained a 4-2 advantage on Sidorenko at six. It became a race between those three players to see who would finish first and Dailey took the prize with a 6-1, 6-3 victory to make the score 2-0. Blevins and Folland both had double match points at the same time and Blevins grabbed the win first for a 6-2, 6-2 final and Folland ended it less than a minute later with a 6-3, 6-0 victory to clinch the win for Carolina.
Siles Luna and Popova then added the fifth and sixth points for South Carolina with Siles Luna finishing just ahead of Popova with a 6-2, 6-1 victory. Popova followed in under 30 seconds to beat Hubler 6-2, 6-3. Popova faced 2-0 deficits in both sets in recording her ninth win of the season. Siles Luna hit double digits in the win column by improving to 10-3.
Lechemia was up 3-2 when Popova finished and soon broke Placha’s serve to earn a 4-2 advantage. Lechemia held serve after several deuces, capping it off with a short-hop forehand volley winner in the corner as she charged the net. Lechemia continued to apply pressure at the net on Placha’s next service game and it paid off for a 7-5, 6-2 triumph. She joined Siles Luna by picking up her 10th win of the season as well and now stands 10-5 overall and 4-1 in duals.
LSU MEN’S TENNIS SWEEPS DOUBLEHEADERS, FINISHES WEEKEND 4-0
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The No. 27 LSU men’s tennis team (5-2) went undefeated in doubleheaders on both Saturday and Sunday at Dub Robinson Stadium.
After winning two matches on Saturday, LSU defeated Southern Miss 6-1 and Jackson State 7-0 to finish the weekend with four total wins. All singles matches were won in two sets, and there were no tiebreakers in those sets.
To begin the first match against Southern Miss (4-4), No. 60 junior Chris Simpson and Boris Arias quickly defeated Brad Marriot and Alex Doleac 6-1 on court one. On court three, redshirt freshman John Michael Busch and freshman Justin Butsch fell 6-3 to Juan Escobar and Paulo Alvarado. The doubles point came down to the match with No. 46 sophomore Tam Trinh and freshman Eric Perez and Vasco Valverde and Chao-Yu Huang on court two. The match went down to the wire, but Trinh and Perez ultimately fell 6-5 with a 7-5 tiebreaker.
“With the doubles point, when we started they played well, and we didn’t,” said LSU head coach Jeff Brown. “But our guys responded well and took control of the match.”
In singles against Southern Miss, sophomore Harrison Kennedy quickly defeated Chao-Yu Huang 6-2, 6-0 on court five to tie the match at one. Simpson followed on court one, giving LSU the 2-1 lead in the match after defeating Alvarado 6-2, 6-1. Trinh won his first singles match of the 2014 dual season after defeating Valverde 6-4, 6-1 on court three.
To begin the match against Jackson State, LSU quickly jumped ahead to a 1-0 lead after taking the doubles point. LSU never trailed in any of the singles sets or matches against Jackson State. In singles, Busch won first for LSU with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Marko Milosavljevic on court six. Arias followed with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Ryan Swanier on court three.
“(Sunday) afternoon we were certainly the stronger team,” Brown said. “Some guys did a good job, got a lot of work done on their game and learned how dominate when the situation is there to do that.”
The No. 27 Tigers return to action when they travel to the No. 31 Michigan Wolverines on Friday, February 21.
For up-to-date information and behind the scenes access on the Tigers, fans can follow the LSU men’s tennis team on Twitter and Instagram at @lsutennis and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lsutennis.
Vandy earns sweep of in-state opponents
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The No. 20 Vanderbilt men’s tennis team earned a sweep Sunday, facing two in-state opponents in Middle Tennessee and Lipscomb. The ‘Dores defeated 56th-ranked MTSU, 6-1, to open the doubleheader and knocked off Lipscomb, 6-1.
Vanderbilt got off to a great start in doubles play, winning quickly at No. 3 and clinching at No. 1. Jeffrey Offerdahl and Anton Kovrigin won 6-1 at No. 3 to improve to 3-0 in dual play. Second-ranked Gonzales Austin and Ryan Lipman down No. 22 David Fox and Victor Cornea, 6-4, at the top position.
In singles play the ‘Dores struggled out of the gate, losing four first-sets. However, the team was able to bounce back, splitting in each of those four matches.
Lipman didn’t have any issues at the No. 2 position, winning 6-2, 6-2, to give Vandy the 2-0 lead.
Kris Yee was able to get the next win for the Commodores. After dropping his first set 4-6, the junior dominated the next two sets winning 6-1, 6-2 at No. 5.
It was a race to see who could clinch the match for the ‘Dores as Austin at No. 1 and Kovrigin at No. 4 had it in their sights.
Austin, who after losing badly in the first set and winning big in the second, had to battle against MTSU’s top player, Ettore Zito, in the third. Austin, who faced two match points, broke in the ninth game to force a tiebreak. In the breaker ninth-ranked Austin took control, winning 7-3 to clinch the match.
Minutes after Austin clinched, Kovrigin came out victorious at No. 5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
MTSU picked up its only point with a win at No. 3 over Rhys Johnson.
Jeffrey Offerdahl closed out the win with a 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 6.
Vanderbilt had much of the same success against Lipscomb. The Bison, came to Currey with only five players available, so the Commodores won by default at No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles.
Already holding the advantage in doubles, Vandy won the point at No. 2, as Suresh Eswaran and Pen Binet won 6-4. It was the first appearance this dual season for the freshman Binet.
In singles, the Commodores were quickly able to clinch the match as Eswaran and Kris Yee won easily at No. 5 and 2, respectively.
Eswaran breezed to a 6-1, 6-0 win, while Yee won 6-2, 6-1.
Freshman Ryan Smith won his first career dual match, playing at No. 4. Smith knocked off Miguel Cortez 6-5 (6), 6-2 to give Vandy a 5-1 advantage.
Rhys Johnson finally closed out the doubleheader with a 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8) at the No. 1 position.
The lone point of the day for Lipscomb came at No. 3 singles as Rob Mitchell defeated Jeffrey Offerdahl, 3 and 2.
Vanderbilt returns to action Friday, February 14, at 4 p.m., as the Commodores welcome Memphis to the Currey Tennis Center.
No. 9 MSU Men’s Tennis Sweeps Home Doubleheader Sunday
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Fueled by dominating performances from top to bottom, the 9th-ranked Mississippi State men’s tennis Bulldogs (8-0) swept their Sunday doubleheader, blanking No. 69 Samford (1-3) 7-0 and Alcorn State 6-0 later in the day.
The wins move the Bulldogs to 8-0 in 2014, the best start under seventh-year head coach Per Nilsson and the best start in program history since the 1972 squad coached by Alan Jones started 9-0.
State began Sunday in a battle of the Bulldogs, taking on the visitors from Samford University. MSU jumped out in front early, taking the doubles point with a 6-3 victory on court one from the No. 52 duo of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp and a 6-3 win at the two spot from the tandem of Florian Lakat and Tassilo Schmid.
Play on court three was suspended with MSU’s Rishab Agarwal and Zach White leading 5-4.
In singles play, the Bulldogs put on an impressive performance by not relinquishing a set to Samford. The State freshman Agarwal continued his impressive play of late with a 6-0, 6-2 victory on court six against SU’s Liam Sullivan to start. On the other end of the Bulldog lineup, No. 63 Lakat defeated Elliot Barnwell of Samford 6-2, 6-4 to push the Bulldogs’ lead to 3-0. The State junior Schmid clinched the match for the Maroon and White, defeating SU’s Moore 6-2, 6-4 on court five.
Play continued after the clinch, with MSU’s No. 39 Stropp taking down SU’s Fares Kilani 6-2, 6-4 at the No. 2 position and Angus defeating SU’s Akers 6-3, 6-2 on court three. The match wrapped up following a 6-2, 6-5(4) on court four by MSU’s White against Samford’s Carter.
After a short break, the Bulldogs returned to the court to take on in-state foe Alcorn State. As they did earlier in the day, the Bulldogs jumped out in front by taking the doubles point. MSU earned a 6-0 victory at the top spot from Lakat and Schmid and a 6-1 win on court two from Agarwal and Angus to clinch the point. Play on court three was suspended, with MSU’s Haden and Egbert Weverink leading 4-1.
The Bulldogs proved to be just as remarkable in singles in the day’s second match. The first victory again came from court six, where this time the freshman Weverink defeated ASU’s Nikita Kostikov 6-2, 6-2. Fellow freshman Haden pushed MSU’s lead to 3-0 when he took down the Braves’ Max Tkachenko 6-2, 6-0 on court five.
The clincher came at the top spot, where No. 63 Lakat defeated ASU’s Ernesto Santillan 6-3, 6-1. Just as Lakat clinched the victory for MSU, play on courts two and four came to a close in the Bulldogs’ favor.
At the No. 2 spot, MSU’s Angus defeated ASU’s Lucas Morviac 6-2, 6-0, while the Maroon and White’s Agarwal earned a 6-2, 6-2 win against the Braves’ Garry Amor.
Play on court three was suspended following the rush of wins, with ASU’s Nischay Rawal leading MSU’s Schmid, 6-4, 1-1.
The Bulldogs now await to learn their opponent for the upcoming 2014 ITA National Team Indoor Championship, set for Feb. 14-17 in Houston, Texas. One of the ITA’s two national championship tournaments, the National Team Indoors features 16 of the nation’s top squads who all advanced from 2014 ITA Kick-Off Weekend play. MSU defeated top 30 foes Harvard and Memphis in late January to punch its ticket to Houston.
For more information on Mississippi State men’s tennis, fans can follow the Bulldogs on Twitter (@HailStateMT), Facebook (HailStateMT) and Instagram (HailStateMT).
Vols Sweep ACC Weekend, Defeat Demon Deacons, 4-1
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After earning a huge top-25 victory over No. 13 Duke on Friday, the No. 14 Tennessee Volunteers (9-1) had just a day to bounce back and prepare for No. 19 Wake Forest (6-2) Sunday afternoon.
UT came out of the gate with the same high energy level and Mikelis Libietis won his first match since Jan. 25, and his 12th match this season, helping the Vols sweep the ACC weekend, defeating the Demon Deacons, 4-1, at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center.
"I'd put that one down as our best performance of the season," said head coach Sam Winterbotham. "It was a real challenge to come up and get yourself emotionally ready to play a good team after a high on Friday."
The Vols first earned the doubles point, thanks in part to the No. 1 pair of Hunter Reese and Libietis. The duo on court one earned a 6-3 win over the No. 30 duo of Adam Lee and Pedro Dumont. The win was the 20th for the UT pair and their 57th overall, good for fourth place in the Tennessee record books.
Court three clinched the point after the pair of Markus Kerner and Andrew Dromsky defeated Aws Laaribi and Anthony Delcore by a similar 6-3 score. The No. 3 duo for the Vols continue to play at a hot level, upping their record together this spring to 9-0.
From there, the singles matches started with a similar high level of competitiveness. The Vols took five out of the potential six first sets.
For Libietis, a slump of four matches without a win (including three straight losses) came to an emphatic halt. The No. 34 junior out of Priekuli, Latvia, defeated No. 20 Romain Bogaerts, 6-4, 6-5 (8-6). The win was also the first by a Vol on courts one, two or three this weekend.
Libietis won the second set by clinching the fourth tiebreaker of the match between the two teams. After going back and forth during the first 12 points, Libietis pulled ahead in the final two points, ending the match with a massive slam, followed a loud, enthusiastic yell towards the fans in attendance.
"I didn't play well for a couple of weeks," said Libietis. "I worked really hard this week trying to get confident. Coming into this match, I needed one match to get back into it and I think this was the match."
Bogaerts, a transfer from Mississippi State, certainly was no stranger to Libietis. The top players on their respective teams played two unfinished matches last season, both in Starkville and in the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Both matches went into three sets before Tennessee clinched the match, 4-2, both times.
"I knew what was coming when I got into this match," said Libietis. "I served really well for the first set and a half, but it was a good performance. I think I competed really well and I am happy for the win."
Tennessee's first singles point came on court five, where a pair of transfers squared off. Current Vol and former Georgia Southern Eagle Dromsky swept another MSU transfer, Dumont, the second of two MSU transfers, 6-3, 6-4. The Martinez, Ga., native improved to 6-1 in singles play this spring
The other point during singles play came at the other end of the tennis center on court six. Dromsky's doubles partner, Kerner, continued to roll through singles play, earning a 6-1, 6-2 win over last-minute change Jaya Billa.
Wake Forest managed to cut the deficit to 3-1 after Jon Ho defeated Brandon Fickey, 6-4, 6-5 (8-6), on court three, but that would be the closest the team from Winston-Salem, N.C., would come to the Vols.
Paired with the win against Duke, the Big Orange now has won two matches against the ITA top-20. The Big Orange will now head to Houston, Texas, where they will compete in the 2014 ITA National Indoor Championships, hosted by Texas A&M, Friday to Monday.
"We've put the work in," said Winterbotham. "These guys have been working really hard. As a coaching staff going into a big tournament, it's not like we have to clamber to get them ready. They need to now rest emotionally (and) physically.
"They know that they've put the effort in to be able to handle whatever's coming."
UF W-Tennis Earns Impressive Win vs. No. 6 Southern California at ITA National Team Indoors
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The second-ranked Gators bounced back from Saturday's disappointing loss with an impressive 4-1 win against no. 6 Southern California at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships hosted by Virginia at the Boar's Head Sports Club on Sunday.
Florida lost to No. 16 Northwestern, 4-2, yesterday in the quarterfinal round of the national 16-team event.
The Gators dropped the doubles point for the second consecutive match, however, this time recovered with powerful play on the singles court.
Freshman Kourtney Keegan (Roswell, Ga.) provided the first singles decision of the match and tied the scoring at 1-all.
Sophomore Brianna Morgan (Beverly Hills, Calif.) played at a career-high No. 2 spot in the lineup and was next off the court with an impressive 6-1, 6-3 victory against Brynn Boren.
Senior Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) followed with a thrilling 2-6, 6-4, 10-6 decision against No. 13 Sabrina Santamaria, before senior Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) provided the clinching victory, a 7-5, 6-1 win over Zoe Scandalis.
Gamecocks Win Third Straight With 7-0 Triumph Over Davidson
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The No. 33 South Carolina women’s tennis team coasted to a 7-0 victory over Davidson on Sunday afternoon in the second match of a doubleheader at Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C., in just under two hours. It marked the Gamecocks’ third win in a row and improved their record to 6-1 while the Wildcats fell to 2-4.
The Gamecocks dominated doubles play, jumping out to leads of 4-0, 4-1 and 5-0 on courts one through three. Eventually, South Carolina led 5-1 on all three courts and it became a matter of what two teams would finish to secure the point. The No. 3 squad of Dominika Kanakova and Ximena Siles Luna won first 6-1 over Elise Held and Tamara Hill, and Katerina Popova and Brigit Folland finished off Jenna Brunner and Sarah Stein by the same score at two to clinch the point.
At No. 1 doubles, Elixane Lechemia and Meghan Blevins played match point up 5-1 and 40-30 with Blevins serving against the duo of Nisha Crouser and Elaina Cummer, but Davidson managed to win the point and the match was subsequently abandoned.
Lechemia and Popova grabbed 3-0 leads early in the singles matches on courts two and three versus Cummer and Stein. Soon afterward, Folland went on top of Crouser 3-1 and Natalie Looney, a late addition to the lineup, bounced back from a 1-0 deficit to Hill on court six to lead 3-1. Folland ended up winning her first set before anyone else 6-1, and it was not long afterward that Popova recorded a 6-0 win in her first set.
With the Gamecocks in command of nearly every match, Blevins found herself in a battle at four against Brunner. Blevins faced a 2-1 hole on the changeover but managed to fight back and take a 3-2 lead with a break. In her next service game, she fell behind 0-30, however, Blevins kept her composure and won four straight rallies capped off by a forehand winner down the line as Brunner approached the net. Blevins fought hard to break Brunner again for a comfortable 5-2 lead.
Folland continued to roll in the second set of her match by taking a 3-0 lead before Blevins finished the seventh game of her first set. As she was about to take a 4-0 advantage, Siles Luna picked up a 6-0 first-set win over Held at the No. 5 slot. Lechemia also won her first set on court three over Stein 6-1 and was tied 1-all in the second when Siles Luna finished. Looney took her first set next by a 6-2 count and Blevins completed the Gamecocks’ sweep of the first sets 6-3.
Once Blevins began her second set, Folland ended her match with Crouser with a 6-1, 6-0 triumph to put Carolina on top 2-0. Blevins sprinted to a 3-0 lead in the second, hitting an ace down the T after getting a 40-0 lead on her serve in the third game. As she played the fourth game, Popova moved within a game of winning her match up 5-2. Popova broke Cummer’s serve in the next game to earn the 6-0, 6-2 win and join the double digit win club for the season with 10-5 record.
Both Blevins and Lechemia were two points away from winning their matches when Popova finished, making it a race as to whom would clinch the Gamecocks’ third consecutive victory. Lechemia led 5-3 with Stein serving and Blevins held a 5-0 advantage with Brunner serving to stay alive. Stein held and Brunner was in position to as well up 40-30, but a clutch drop shot from Blevins sent the game to deuce. Blevins took the next rally to snare the distinction of securing South Carolina’s win over the Wildcats.
With a 5-4 lead on court three, Lechemia held to make the team score 5-0. Siles Luna and Looney both had large leads of 5-1 and 4-1 when Lechemia picked up her 11th win of the season. Siles Luna then captured her 11th win of the season by dropping just one game against Held on court five 6-0, 6-1. All eyes then turned to Looney’s match on court six where the redshirt freshman went on to earn her first career dual match win 6-2, 6-1.
South Carolina returns home for the third match in its current 10-match homestand next Sunday against instate rival and No. 13-ranked Clemson at noon.
Auburn moves to 4-1 with Sunday sweep of Georgia Southern, Samford
AUBURN, Ala. -- The No. 21 Auburn women’s tennis team picked up a pair of wins on Sunday, knocking off Georgia Southern, 7-0, before topping Samford, 4-0, at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
“Georgia Southern made us play every point. I think they got a lot of balls in and they made us earn the point. We had to really work on dictating play and finishing,” Auburn head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. “It was a great opportunity for us to get others in the lineup with a chance to play and win. We tinkered with the lineup (this morning ) and I’m always excited to see that we could put different combinations out there to get the job done.”
The Tigers cruised to a win outdoors on Sunday morning, as Auburn (4-1) took down the Eagles with a sweep to begin play. Auburn secured the doubles point behind Paula de Man and Jackie Kasler’s 8-3 victory over Georgia Southern’s (3-1) McKinsey Fiveash and Stephanie Woods.
The 60th-ranked duo of Michala Kucharova and Reka Muller moved their record to 5-0 in dual match play with an 8-0 victory on court one. Pleun Burgmans and Lindsey Whitehead also claimed an 8-0 victory on court one over Georgia Southern’s Paola Garrido and Mary Phillips.
Auburn picked up five wins in straight sets in singles. Ashley Kitcken took a 6-2, 6-2 win over the Eagles’ Stephanie Woods in No. 4 singles. The Tigers followed that up with a 6-0, 6-3 win by Jen Pfeifler on court three. Playing at the No. 1 spot, No. 98 Emily Flickinger posted a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Georgia Southern’s Paola Garrido to clinch the match for Auburn.
With that match in hand, the Tigers also picked up a 7-5, 6-1 win from Kasler in court four. Whitehead earned her first win in dual match play with three-set victory, 6-2, 3-6, 1-0 (5). de Man wrapped up the morning session with a 7-5, 6-4 win on court two.
Jomby and Lopez’s Comebacks Fuel Kentucky to 4-1 Win
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The No. 17 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team used singles comebacks from No. 68 Tom Jomby and freshman Jerry Lopez to aid it to a 4-1 win over No. 50 Michigan State on Sunday afternoon at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in a match that lasted over four hours.
“It was good for our guys to get back on track today,” UK head Cedric Kauffmann said. “We are still playing nowhere our best tennis, but it was good to get a win under our belts today. We need to play with a little more confidence and we need to loosen up a bit to be a successful team down the stretch.”
After dropping the doubles point in three-straight matches for the first time under Kauffmann, the Wildcats shook up the doubles lineup. The freshman/senior combination of Nils Ellefsen and Ryuji Hirooka moved up a court to play No. 2 doubles, with Beck Pennington sliding to the No. 3 position and teaming up with fellow Kentuckian, Maks Gold.
In the doubles point, Ellefsen and Hirooka were the first to finish at 6-4 on court two and give UK the early leg up in the point. After falling behind an early break at 0-1 to start the match, Gold and Pennington fought back to square the match and eventually force a tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Gold andPennington never lost serve, and won 7-5 to clinch the 1-0 lead in the match for Kentucky.
On the first doubles court, Kentucky’s top-ranked pair of Jomby and sophomore Kevin Lai got a break early in the match, and were serving for it all at 7-6. The Michigan State pair were able to break, and forced the match into a tiebreak at seven-all. The tiebreak was never started once UK clinched the doubles point on court three.
In singles, Michigan State quickly squared the match at 1-1 overall, as No. 55Beck Pennington fell in straight sets to Aaron Pfister of Michigan State. Pennington lost the first set, getting broken twice before fighting in the second set. Pennington and Pfister were all square at 4-4 in the second frame before Pfister broke, and won the match.
Kentucky would take the lead back at 2-1 when No. 68 Tom Jomby earned his 75th-career win in a UK uniform coming from behind to take the win. Jomby and Drew Lied of Michigan State did not see a single service break in the first set, as Jomby eventually wound up losing the opening-set tiebreak, 7-4 to go down a set. Jomby then took control of the match, only losing serve one time the rest of the match in the final two frames, and breaking three different times to collect a 6-3, 6-3 final two sets and give UK the 2-1 lead in the match.
No. 97 Kevin Lai broke through in three sets as well, knocking off Gijs Linders on court four to give Kentucky the 3-1 lead. Lai took the first set 7-5, breaking Linders’ serve at 6-5 in the first set to collect the opening-set win. Lai then dropped a second-set tiebreak, 8-6, as the match went to a decisive third set. In the third set, Lai was broken at 3-2 and found himself serving at 5-2 late in the set. Lai proceeded to hold, and then broke at 5-4 to square the match at 5-5. Lai would win his third-straight game, breaking after an extended deuce battle to take the 6-5 lead, and serve for the match. After falling behind 15-30, Lai collected himself and finished off the match and a 7-5 win in the third set.
Freshman Jerry Lopez had a similar match for Kentucky, as he found himself on court three for the first time in his young career. Lopez was down a set and two breaks at 5-1 in the second set and battled back to make a match of it. Lopez worked his opponent, John Patrick Mullane into severe cramping during the stretch run of the second set after long points, and hard hitting from the Mexican. Lopez got both breaks back after being down 5-1 and ended up taking a second-set tiebreaker, 7-4. Lopez then buckled down and took complete control of the third set, battling to a 6-3 win, collecting three breaks in the final set to clinch the win for Kentucky.
Sunday marked the first career match-clinching win for Lopez. With the result, Lopez upped his season record to 5-3 overall.
Grant Roberts and Ryuji Hirooka both took the court, and won their respective first sets at the time of the clinch and the matches were both abandoned.
The Wildcats are back in action on Friday, Feb. 21, as Kentucky travels to No. 7 Oklahoma to take on the Sooners at 5 p.m. ET in Norman, Okla.
In the night match, Kentucky swept all six singles courts in a 6-0 win over Wright State. Jomby, Pennington, Lai, Ellefsen, Lopez and Hirooka all recorded wins.
Vanderbilt Women's Tennis Falls to No. 13 Clemson, 4-0
Charlottesville, Va. -- The Vanderbilt women’s tennis team fell to No. 13 Clemson, 4-0, on the final day of action at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, Sunday, at the Boar’s Head Sports Complex in Charlottesville, Va.
Vanderbilt got down quickly, losing the doubles point to the 13th-ranked Tigers. Georgina Sellyn and Frances Altick dropped their match, 6-3, at No. 3 doubles. Shortly after Vandy’s No. 1 team of Lauren Mira and Ashleigh Antal fell, 6-4.
The Commodores didn’t fair much better in singles play, losing two quick matches at No. 1 and No. 6 to fall into a 3-0 hole. Mira, lost 0 and 0 at No. 1 to 74th-ranked Yana Koroleva, meanwhile, Antal fell 6-2, 6-0 at No. 6.
The match was clinched at No. 2 singles, as Courtney Colton was knocked off by No. 44 Beatrice Gumulay, 6-2, 6-2.
When the match was clinched three matches went unfinished. At No. 3 singles, Sellyn was tied 9-9 in the third set tiebreak. At No. 4 singles, Altick was leading 6-1, 3-4, and at No. 5 singles, Marie Casares was leading 6-4, 3-2.
Vanderbilt will be back in action this weekend with road matches against Baylor and Texas.
Crimson Tide Falls to No. 7 Sooners, 4-1
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Alabama men’s tennis team put up a valiant effort against the No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners on Sunday, but fell short losing 4-1 at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility. The loss moves the Crimson Tide to 4-4 on the season, while the Sooners remain undefeated at 6-0.
Alabama fell into a deficit early after dropping the doubles point from losses on courts one and two; however, the singles portion of the match was highly contested throughout. Oklahoma would take a 2-0 lead after getting win on court four as 37th-ranked Andrew Harris beat Nikko Madregallejo, 6-1, 6-3. After dropping his first set 6-2, No. 51 Becker O’Shaughnessey stormed back against No. 6 Axel Alvares, only to go down in heartbreaking fashion, 6-2, 6-5(5).
Sean Donohue then picked up the Tide’s lone win on the day when he defeated the Sooners’ Nick Papac in straight sets. The first set was close throughout, but Donohue dug deep to find a way to edge out Papac in the tiebreaker, 7-5. He then went on to defeat Papac in the second set in relatively simple fashion, 6-3, to put the Tide on the board. The match was clinched on court one for Oklahoma as fifth-ranked Guillermo Alcorta edged out No. 14 Daniil Proskura, 6-5(4), 6-2. The two remaining matches were left unfinished.
The Tide will be back in action in two weeks when it heads to Montgomery for the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic, which runs Feb. 21-23.
Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaMTN on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.
No. 8 Texas A&M Loses Close Matchup with No. 5 Ohio State
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The eighth-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team upset bid fell just short against fifth-ranked Ohio State, falling 4-3, at the Varsity Tennis Center on Sunday afternoon. The Aggies saw their season ledger fall to 6-2 while the Buckeyes remain a perfect 9-0.
“We played significantly better as a team today,” A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “I was very encouraged by our performance today. I feel bad for our guys. They competed well and deserved to win, but sometimes it’s a game of inches. There’s a reason Ohio State has the impressive win streak. We had numerous chances today but couldn’t get that elusive fourth point. Despite the two losses this weekend, I really like this team and their fight. I believed today’s match will make us a better team.”
A&M claimed the doubles point in thrilling fashion, giving the Aggies the doubles point in all but one contest this season. The 20th-ranked tandem of juniors Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo rolled to a 6-1 victory over Chris Diaz and Ralf Steinbach at the No. 3 line. The All-American and sixth-ranked duo of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow defeated their second top-10 opponent on the weekend, claiming the 6-5 (5) victory over the seventh-ranked pair of Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka at the top doubles line.
“Junior and Jackson were clutch in the tiebreaker,” Denton said. “Their match came down to a point or two and they were up to the task.”
The Aggies were unable to capitalize on the momentum from claiming the doubles point, however, as the Buckeyes claimed four-of-six first sets in singles. No. 38 Shane Vinsant defeated Herkko Pollanen, 6-2, 6-4, at the No. 2 line and 13th-ranked Efferding down Diaz at the No. 3 line, 6-1, 6-5 (6) for the Aggies singles victories. Ohio State extended their home win streak to 181 matches.
The Aggies will be in action again on Friday when they host the 2014 ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Houston. Stay tuned to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter for complete tournament coverage.
Bulldogs Fall in Nail-Biter to No. 3 UNC, 4-3
ATHENS, Ga. -- The fourth-ranked Georgia women's tennis team fell to third-ranked North Carolina in a tightly contested 4-3 match. Georgia lost the doubles point, but charged back in singles to tie the match at three before No. 4 Lauren Herring fell to No. 2 Jamie Loeb 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.
"I think that we learned a lot this weekend up in Charlottesville and have found some things to work on," said head coach Jeff Wallace. "We're excited to get back to Athens, get back to work, and get ready for a great outdoor season."
Five of the six singles matches went to third-set super tiebreakers, with the Tar Heels winning three of them.
In doubles, the No. 12 duo Hayley Carter and Jamie Loeb beat Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia and the No. 42 pair Laura Slater and Kate Vialle topped Lilly Kimbell and Caroline Brinson, both by scores of 6-2, to give North Carolina an early 1-0 lead.
In singles, Mia King came from behind to force a third set, but fell to Vialle 0-6, 6-4, 11-9. Georgia, however, roared back, tying the match at 2-2 when No. 25 Maho Kowase beat Caroline Price 7-5, 6-1 and No. 33 Kimbell outlasted No. 88 Whitney Kay, 4-6, 6-4, 10-8. The Tar Heel's reclaimed the lead when No. 5 Carter hung on to beat No. 10 Garcia 6-2, 5-7, 10-4. After Fuller tied the match at 3-3 with a 7-6, 3-6, 10-5 win over No. 118 Ashley Dai, Loeb snuck by Herring in the third set to clinch the North Carolina win.
This weekend marked the final time in 2014 that the ITA's experimental rules will be used. For the spring outdoor season, doubles matches will be played to eight games and third sets will not be shortened to super-tiebreakers.
Georgia will return to Athens and play host to Furman on Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. The match is scheduled to be played outdoors at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex and admission is free.
Razorback MTEN Drops Match Against Purdue
FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas men's tennis team fell 6-1 to Purdue on Sunday.
Seniors Hall Fess and Pete Thomason recorded a victory at the No. 2 doubles position, 6-4. Sophomore Santiago Munoz and freshman Johan den Toom were unable to battle back on court three and fell in a tiebreaker, 6-5 (7-4).
Den Toom notched the only Razorback singles victory, battling back in his second set to force a tiebreaker and eventually winning 6-3, 5-6, 10-7.
Arkansas will return to action on Feb. 14, as they head to Tulsa, Okla., to take on Tulsa University. For more information on Arkansas tennis, follow @RazorbackMTEN on Twitter.
Gamecocks Suffer Near Miss at NC State
RALEIGH, N.C. -- No. 26 South Carolina dropped a tough 4-3 decision at No. 32 NC State Sunday afternoon at J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center. The Wolfpack won the doubles point and staved off a rally from the Gamecocks with a third-set tiebreak win in the No. 2 match. South Carolina's Thiago Pinheiro and Andrew Adams scored singles wins over nationally ranked opponents to highlight the Gamecocks' effort.
South Carolina struggled in doubles, falling behind quickly at the top of the lineup, and could not recover to trail NC State 1-0 heading into singles play. With the top four spots in the order taking the court, the Gamecocks went up a set in three as Kyle Koch, Pinheiro and Adams put their Wolfpack opponents on their heels early.
Pinheiro was the first to finish off his opponent, No. 82 Thomas Weigel, using early breaks in the second set to post a 6-4, 6-2 win in the No. 3 match and even the team scoring at 1-1. The Wolfpack reclaimed the lead as No. 50 Austin Powell topped No. 41 Tsvetan Mihov 7-5, 6-2 after the Gamecocks' All-American fought back from early breaks in the first set.
Adams, like Pinheiro, was efficient in his second set, closing out No. 83 Nick Horton 6-3, 6-3 to again level the match, 2-2. The Nos. 5 and 6 matches took the court, and the Wolfpack got a boost from Sean Weber, who jumped out to an early lead on Chip Cox in the No. 5 match.
Back in the No. 2 match, Koch was rallying against No. 76 Robbie Mudge, though. The Gamecock junior got a late service break to take the second set 7-5 after dropping the first 3-6. Andrew Schafer, ranked No. 91 in the nation, posted a 6-4 first-set win over Simon Norenius in the No. 6 match, and things looked to be going the Gamecocks' way.
Weber kept his foot on the gas against Cox, bringing the Wolfpack within a point of the team win with his 6-1, 6-2 decision over Cox. On Court 2, Koch and Mudge battled to a tiebreak with the outcome of the team match in the balance. Mudge sprinted out to an early lead and delivered the win for the Wolfpack with his 7-6 (1) victory.
In the final match on court, Schafer suffered a tiebreak loss in his second set with Norenius, 7-6 (4), but fought through the super-tiebreak third set 11-9 to close out the scoring for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina takes a short break from match competition, returning to the courts on Fri., Feb. 21, when the Gamecocks host South Florida at 4 p.m. at Carolina Tennis Center.