Jan. 30, 2010
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 25 men’s tennis team earned its first victory of the 2010 season, cruising past No. 23 Arizona 4-0 despite cold weather conditions on Saturday at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium. The Crimson Tide will play either No. 18 Duke or No. 22 Auburn on Sunday at noon (CST) for the right to advance to the ITA National Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va., Feb. 12-15.
“Today wasn’t the most ideal tennis conditions, but we talked about coming out and embracing the adversity,” head coach Billy Pate said. “We wanted to be as tough as we could, and I think we did a good job of that.”
Alabama started strong in doubles action, winning courts one and two to take the doubles point. Sophomore Ricky Doverspike and freshman Ian Chadwell earned an early break at the No. 2 position against Arizona junior Geoff Embry and senior Ravid Hazi. The Tide duo raced out to a 3-1 lead and only dropped two more games en route to an 8-3 victory. The Wildcats countered with a win on court three. Junior Andres Carrasco and senior Andres Arango were locked in a struggle with Alabama’s South African tandem of sophomore Michael Thompson and freshman Jarryd Botha. There were a total of five breaks in the match, with the Wildcats breaking at 7-6 for the win. The match at the No. 1 spot would decide the doubles point, and it was tight the entire match. The Tide pair of senior Saketh Myneni and sophomore Michael Davis fell behind an early break against senior Pat Metham and junior Borja Malo. The break lasted until the Wildcats were serving at 6-4. Myneni and Davis won the next two games to tie the score at 6-6. The server held comfortably in the next three games before Davis had to save to match points serving at 7-8. In the tiebreak, the score was tied at 2-2 before Alabama rattled off the final five points to take the tiebreak seven points to two.
“The doubles point was closely contested,” Pate said. “It went back and forth all the way to the finish, but we did a great job of clinching that. It really set the tone for the rest of the match.”
In singles action, the Tide carried over the momentum from winning the doubles point to jump out to an early lead on several courts. Senior Houssam Yassine was the first off the court, picking up a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Embry at the No. 5 position. Yassine raced out to a 3-0 lead, but Embry rallied to tie it at 3-3. The Wildcat junior was broken late in the first set, and Yassine took control from there. On court one, No. 62 Myneni and No. 113 sophomore Jason Zafiros of Arizona featured the only battle of ranked players. Things were on serve until Myneni broke at 4-3, taking the set 6-3. Zafiros was clearly dejected from dropping a tough opening set, and Myneni easily took the second 6-1. Doverspike provided the clincher for Alabama with a 6-0, 6-3 win on court two over Carrasco. The Wildcat junior never sunk his teeth into the match, with Doverspike winning the first eight games of the match.
“Ricky (Doverspike) had a tremendous performance today,” Pate added. “He played as well as I’ve seen him from start to finish and executed quite well.”
The final three matches of the day were suspended since Alabama had already claimed the victory. On court three, Thompson dropped the first set 7-5 to Arango as both players struggled to hold serve. Thompson served for the set at 5-4, but was broken and Arango took the final two games of the set. Thompson won the opening game of the second set before play was suspended. Botha was in danger of dropping his match against Malo at the No. 4 spot, trailing a set and 5-3 when play was stopped. Botha was broken at 5-5 in the first set, and Malo had all the momentum the rest of the match. The final match, on court six, was the only match to go three sets. Chadwell dropped the first set quickly 6-2, but bounced back to take the second 6-3. However, Metham went back on top 3-1 by gaining an early break in the final set.
Live scoring will be available for Sunday’s match and can be found by clicking here.
1. Myneni/Davis (UA) def. Metham/Malo (ARIZ) 9-8(2)
2. Doverspike/Chadwell (UA) def. Embry/Hazi (ARIZ) 8-3
3. Carrasco/Arango (ARIZ) def. Thompson/Botha (UA) 8-6
Order of finish: 2,3,1
1. No. 62 Saketh Myneni (UA) def. No. 113 Jason Zafiros (ARIZ) 6-3, 6-1
2. Ricky Doverspike (UA) def. Andres Carrasco (ARIZ) 6-0, 6-3
3. No. 123 Michael Thompson (UA) vs. Andres Arango (ARIZ) 5-7, 1-0, unf.
4. Jarryd Botha (UA) vs. Borja Malo (ARIZ) 5-7, 3-5, unf.
5. Houssam Yassine (UA) def. Geoff Embry (ARIZ) 6-4, 6-1
6. Ian Chadwell (UA) vs. Pat Metham (ARIZ) 2-6, 6-3, 1-3, unf.
Order of finish: 5,1,2*