Feb. 27, 2011
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Junior Vikram Reddy rallied to win a third-set tiebreaker to clinch the team win for the 32nd-ranked men's tennis team over No. 46 Arizona, 4-1, on Sunday in the consolation draw finals of the 2011 Blue Gray National Tennis Classic. With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to 7-2 on the season, while the Wildcats fall to 6-5 overall.
"Certainly our goal coming into the Blue Gray was to win the tournament, but we felt it was crucial to win at least two of our three matches," Alabama head coach Billy Pate said. "We accomplished that today with a very good win against Arizona. It was a battle, and I am proud of how the guys competed. There was a period when it looked like the match could go either direction, but we really responded down the stretch and earned an important victory."
The decision was made prior to the match to start with singles instead of doubles, which is the case in the traditional dual-match format. Arizona earned the first point of the match with a win at No. 2 singles where Wildcat junior Jason Zafiros won 7-5, 6-0 over sophomore Jarryd Botha. The Tide would then take two in a row for the overall lead in the team count thanks to wins from freshmen Daniil Proskura and Carlos Taborga. Proskura took down senior Geoff Embry 6-2, 6-2 on court four before Taborga collected a 7-6, 6-2 win over Arizona freshman Mario Urquidi on court six.
The remaining singles matches all came down to a third set where Alabama came up big to take two of the matches and have a significant lead in the other before play was called. Junior Michael Thompson rallied in his match on court five to outlast freshman Kieren Thompson 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to put the Tide within one point of winning the match. After falling behind early in his third set, Reddy came back to win the tiebreaker and take the match by a score of 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 over freshman Andre Vidaller to clinch the team win.
"This weekend was a positive one for us," Pate added. "We are about to enter a challenging stretch in our schedule, so it was important for us to have a good weekend."
Next up, Alabama opens Southeastern Conference play on the road taking on a pair of SEC Eastern Division foes in No. 2 Tennessee and No. 12 Georgia. The Tide and Volunteers will face off on Friday, March 4, at 1 p.m. CT, while the Tide and Bulldogs are slated to play on Sunday, March 6, at 1 p.m. CT.
1. Ricky Doverspike (UA) vs. Jay Goldman (ARIZ) 6-7, 6-2, 3-0, unf.
2. Jason Zafiros (ARIZ) def. Jarryd Botha (UA) 7-5, 6-0
3. Vikram Reddy (UA) def. Andre Vidaller (ARIZ) 5-7, 6-2, 7-6
4. Daniil Proskura (UA) def. Geoff Embry (ARIZ) 6-2, 6-2
5. Michael Thompson (UA) def. Kieren Thompson (ARIZ) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
6. Carlos Taborga (UA) def. Mario Urquidi (ARIZ) 7-6, 6-2
Order of Finish: 2,4,6,5,3*