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    SEC Men's Tennis Weekly Notebook

    The Alabama men’s tennis team enters the week at 4-4 after losses last weekend to Oklahoma State, 4-0, and No. 7 Oklahoma, 4-1, at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility. In the 15 sets combined across doubles and singles that finished in Saturday’s match against the Cowboys, six were played out in a tiebreaker, including two in doubles to decide who won the first point of the match. The lone win against Oklahoma State would come at No. 1 doubles where Daniil Proskura and Nikko Madregallejo came away with the 6-4 victory. In Sunday’s match against the Sooners, the Crimson Tide fell into a deficit early after dropping the doubles point; however, the singles portion of the match was highly contested throughout. Sean Donohue would earn the lone point of the afternoon for Alabama, winning 7-5, 6-3 on court five. 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.
    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.
    The No. 24 Auburn men’s tennis team (8-1) defeated Florida Gulf Coast, 5-2, in its lone match of the week last Friday in Ft. Myers, Fla. The Tigers dropped the doubles points on Friday night, but rallied to pick up five of six singles matches against the Eagles. Senior Daniel Cochrane picked up a three-set win at the top of the lineup, knocking off FGCU’s Jordi Vives 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 and ending the nation’s longest winning streak at 14 matches. Freshman Dante Saleh moved his winning streak to 11 straight with a 6-1, 6-4 victory at the No. 4 spot. The Tigers have won four straight matches and hit the road again this weekend with a pair of matches against ACC foes. On Friday, Auburn faces Georgia Tech at 5 p.m. in Atlanta before traveling to Clemson on Sunday at 2 p.m.
    The Florida men’s tennis team traveled cross-country last weekend to Los Angeles for the Pac-12/SEC Challenge against two top-5 opponents. On Saturday, the Gators faced No. 2 UCLA. After winning the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead, UF’s No. 1 singles player Spencer Newman suffered an injury in the first set of singles play and had to resign, giving UCLA its first point. The Gators then dropped matches at No. 4, 3 and 6 singles and the Bruins took the victory, 4-1. Freshman Maxx Lipman had double match point in his match when play was halted, while Diego Hidalgo had won the first set in his match and was suspended in the second set. On Sunday, Florida faced No. 4 USC and fell behind early after losing the doubles point. The Trojans momentum continued with three straight-set wins at 1, 2 and 4 singles for the win. Two of the three remaining matches were in a third set, while Mike Alford had won the first set and was tied 4-4 in the second set. UF is off until the National Team Indoors in Houston on Feb. 14-17.
    The fourth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team (3-2) won the doubles point and never looked back en route to a commanding 7-0 sweep of No. 67 East Tennessee State last Thursday afternoon at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility. The Bulldogs then took the weekend off and are preparing to head to Houston for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships Feb. 14-17. With the win, Georgia responded from two dual match losses last weekend on the West Coast to earn the commanding shutout victory. The clinch came from sophomore Ben Wagland at No. 3 singles, while senior Hernus Pieters bounced back from a loss in the first set to complete the sweep. In the ETSU match, both Nathan Pasha and Austin Smith won their 20th singles matches of 2013-14.
    The No. 17 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team got back on track with two wins on Sunday afternoon, knocking off No. 50 Michigan State 4-1, and Wright State 6-0.  With the two results, Kentucky snapped a three-game losing streak and upped its record to 7-3 on the season. Senior Tom Jomby earned career win No. 75 on Sunday as he came backfrom down a set to win his match 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 on court one to pick up the victory. Jomby has the highest win total of any active UK player, and currently sits seventh on the all-time wins list at Kentucky. The Wildcats’ win over Michigan State upped Kentucky’s record to 2-0 on the season against teams representing the B1G conference. Four of UK’s seven wins in 2014 have come against teams in the current ITA top 50. Kentucky will take a week off before returning to action on Feb. 21 when UK will venture to Norman, Okla., to face off against current No 7, Oklahoma for a 5 p.m. ET match.
    The No. 27 LSU men’s tennis team (5-2) swept two doubleheaders in back-to-back days in Baton Rouge this past weekend. After winning defeating North Florida 4-0 and Liberty 7-0, LSU defeated Southern Miss 6-1 and Jackson State 7-0 to finish the weekend with four total wins. Multiple Tigers recorded their first singles wins. No. 60 Chris Simpson and Boris Arias went 4-0 in doubles this weekend. No. 72 Chris Simpson has clinched four of LSU’s five victories this season. The Tigers return to action on February 21 when the Tigers travel to the No. 31 Michigan Wolverines.
    Ole Miss
    Playing without their No. 1 player, the No. 21 nationally ranked Ole Miss shut out visiting Southern Miss 7-0 last Friday at the Gillom Sports Center. The Rebels picked up their first win of the season to improve to 1-2. Junior William Kallberg, playing only his second match ever at No. 1 singles, won 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the victory.  Vinod Gowda earned his first career dual match victory, after coming so close on the opening weekend, winning in straight sets at No. 4 singles. Sophomore Joe Rogers, playing in his first singles dual match and first singles match in more than two years, won 6-4, 1-6, 10-6 at No. 5 singles to complete the sweep.  Senior Johan Backstrom picked up his 60th career win in singles. The Rebels are off until Feb. 22 when they travel to Texas to face SMU and No. 7 Baylor (Feb. 23).
    Mississippi State
    Returning home to the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre for a quick home stand, the Mississippi State men’s tennis Bulldogs (8-0) swept a Sunday doubleheader featuring No. 69 Samford and Alcorn State. MSU used a dominating performance in Sunday’s first match against Samford, not dropping a set en route to a 7-0 victory. The Bulldogs continued their domination by routing their in-state foes, Alcorn State, 6-0 in the final match of the day. The wins moved MSU to 8-0 to start the 2014 season, the best start under head coach Per Nilsson and the best start in program history since Alan Jones’ 1972 squad started 9-0. The home victories also gave the Maroon and White its eighth-straight victory at home, dating back to last season. Individually, senior and 39th-ranked Malte Stropp earned his 80th-career singles victory and 50th-career dual match singles win in the day’s first match, defeating Samford’s Fares Kilani 6-2, 6-4. Also of note is freshman Florian Lakat, ranked 63rd nationally, who swept play in singles and doubles, earning two straight-set victories in singles play, while only relenting three games total in doubles. The Bulldogs now travel to Houston, Texas, for the 2014 ITA National Team Indoor Championship, where they will face the nation’s top squads in a battle for the ITA national championship. Play begins Friday, Feb. 14 and ends Monday, Feb. 17.
    South Carolina
    South Carolina welcomes a two-week break between competitions after dropping a pair of road matches at ACC foes Wake Forest and NC State. The Gamecocks mounted a rally in both matches but saw the home teams deliver in the clutch to collect the victories. Junior Thiago Pinheiro swept both his singles matches over the wekend and teamed with Tsvetan Mihov to topple the nation’s 30th-ranked doubles team from Wake Forest. His singles results included his first win over a ranked opponent this season as he dispatched the No. 82 player in the country in straight sets against NC State. Freshman Andrew Schafer lost his first dual-match of the season on Friday night but battled back with a win on Sunday to push his 2013-14 record to 15-6  and hist dual-match slate to 8-1.
    The Tennessee Volunteers (9-1) collected their first two top-20 victories of the season in their final week of preparation before the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The Vols started the weekend by defeating No. 13 Duke 4-2 at home via a three-set clinching victory by Jarryd Chaplin. The Vols followed that performance with a 4-1 victory over No. 19 Wake Forest, capped by a straight set win by junior Mikelis Libietis. Libietis and Hunter Reese, the nation’s No. 1 doubles pair, won two more matches to improve to 20-2 this year. Freshman Markus Kerner stayed unbeaten in singles and doubles with Andrew Dromsky to start the spring, improving his record to 9-0 in both categories.
    Texas A&M
    The No. 8 Texas A&M men’s tennis team lost two hard fought road contests last week to No. 22 Illinois (4-1) and No. 5 Ohio State (4-3). The Aggies captures the doubles point in both contests thanks to two impressive victories from No. 7 Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow over the No. 4 duo of Kopinski/Guignon of Illinois, 6-4, and besting the No. 7 tandem of Kobelt/Metka of Ohio State,6-5 (5). The maroon and white threatened to end Ohio State’s 180-match home win streak after No. 13 Jeremy Efferding defeated Chris Diaz, 6-1, 6-5(6) on court 3, but Ohio State was able to win the final two matches. Up next the Aggies will host the ITA National Indoor Championships in Houston beginning Feb. 14 and lasting until Feb. 17.
    The No. 20 Vanderbilt men’s tennis team improved to 6-1 this weekend with wins over both Middle Tennessee State and Lipscomb. The Commodores took down 56th-ranked MTSU in the first half of their Sunday doubleheader, 6-1, before downing Lipscomb in the second half, by the same score. No. 9 Gonzales Austin clinched the match against the ranked Blue Raiders playing out of the No. 1 position. After dropping his first set 2-6, Austin was able to win 6-0 in the second and clinch in the third set breaker 7-3. Against a short-handed Lipscomb the ‘Dores saw much of the same success. Freshman Ryan Smith picked up his first career singles win in dual play at the No. 4 position. Vanderbilt will be back in action on Friday, February 14 for a 2 p.m. match with Memphis.