Jan. 22, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. - After more than four hours on court, the 18th-ranked men’s tennis team dropped a 4-3 decision Friday night to No. 47 Northwestern at the Combe Tennis Center. With the loss, the Crimson Tide stands at 0-1 on the season while the Wildcats improve to 3-0 thus far.
“I felt going into this match it would be 4-3 for one team or the other,” head coach Billy Pate said. “We’re both young teams with great futures. The entire match was back and forth with both teams having numerous chances. It came down to one or two points, and unfortunately we couldn’t quite put them away.”
Doubles action lasted over an hour with the Tide pair of sophomore Michael Thompson and freshman Jarryd Botha eventually securing the point for Alabama. The South African duo outlasted the Wildcat team of freshmen Spencer Wolf and Sidarth Balaji 9-7 at the No. 3 spot. The Tide also got a win at No. 1 where senior Saketh Myneni and sophomore Michael Davis edged sophomore Tobias Reitz and junior Andrew McCarthy 9-8. At No. 2, the Northwestern tandem of senior Alex Sanborn and sophomore Joshua Graves were the first off the courts with a win, beating Tide sophomore Ricky Doverspike and freshman Ian Chadwell, 8-4.
Graves got the Wildcats on the board, tying the overall match score at 1-1, when he picked up a 7-6, 6-2 victory at the No. 1 singles spot over 62nd-ranked Myneni. Alabama jumped back on top with a pair of wins on court three and court four from Doverspike and Botha. After winning a close 7-5 decision in the first, Doverspike was broken once in the second by Balaji giving the Northwestern netter the 6-4 win to force the decisive third frame. Doverspike took control in the final set winning by a 6-3 mark. Botha picked up a straight-sets win over Sanborn by the narrowest of margins 7-5, 7-6 for his third consecutive singles victory of the season.
The remaining trio of matches on court would all go to three sets making for a down-to-the-wire finish. Next to cease was on court six where Wildcat freshman Mark Schanerman dropped his first set to Chadwell 6-2 before coming back to win 7-6, 6-1 in the end. Northwestern would tie the match at 3-3 quite a while later as Wolf bested Tide senior Houssam Yassine 7-6, 1-6, 6-4. Yassine was down 5-2 in the final set and managed to win the next two games, but Wolf would finish things off shortly thereafter. The final match to be decided was on court two where McCarthy got an early break to win the first set 6-4, but No. 123 Thompson came back in the second winning 7-6 in the tiebreaker. In the final set, McCarthy came out strong and put it away by a score of 6-2.
“I’m proud of the way we fought,” Pate added. “Despite the loss, we know we’ll have many chances to rebound, and that starts next weekend.”
Next up, Alabama serves as one of the 16 ITA Kickoff Weekend sites hosting No. 19 Duke, No. 23 Auburn and No. 24 Arizona. The Tide takes on the Wildcats Saturday at 1:00 p.m. (CST) and will either play the Blue Devils or Tigers Sunday at Noon (CST).
1. Davis/Myneni (UA) def. Reitz/McCarthy (NW) 9-8
2. Sanborn/Graves (NW) def. Doverspike/Chadwell (UA) 8-4
3. Thompson/Botha (UA) def. Wolf/Balaji (NW) 9-7
Order of Finish: 2,1,3
1. Joshua Graves (NW) def. No. 62 Saketh Myneni (UA) 7-6, 6-2
2. Andrew McCarthy (NW) def. No. 123 Michael Thompson (UA) 6-4, 6-7, 6-2
3. Ricky Doverspike (UA) def. Sidarth Balaji (NW) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
4. Jarryd Botha (UA) def. Alex Sanborn (NW) 7-5, 7-6
5. Spencer Wolf (NW) def. Houssam Yassine (UA) 7-6, 1-6, 6-4
6. Mark Schanerman (NW) def. Ian Chadwell (UA) 2-6, 7-6, 6-1
Order of Finish: 1,3,4,6,5,2*