March 12, 2010
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The 32nd-ranked Alabama men's tennis team picked up its first Southeastern Conference win on Friday with a 6-1 victory over No. 50 South Carolina at the Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center. With the win, the Crimson Tide improved to 7-7 overall and 1-2 against league opponents, while the Gamecocks dipped to 6-5 on the season and 0-3 in the conference.
"From top to bottom we played a solid match," head coach Billy Pate said. "I thought we executed a bit better in doubles and then came out and won five of the first six sets in singles, most of which were very tightly contested."
Alabama began the match with a sweep of doubles to claim the early point. First off the courts was the matchup at No. 2 where the sophomore duo of Ricky Doverspike and Michael Thompson, who won 10 matches together last season, picked up an 8-6 win over South Carolina junior Johannes Pulsfort and sophomore Ivan Machado. The Tide pair of senior Saketh Myneni and sophomore Michael Davis sealed the point at No. 1 with a hard-fought 9-7 victory over Gamecock seniors Diego Cubas and Pedro Campos. Alabama would wrap things up on court three with another 8-6 decision as junior Trey Walston and freshman Jarryd Botha took care of business against senior Ivan Cressoni and freshman Alexander Kostanov.
The Tide continued its winning ways in singles starting at No. 5 as senior Houssam Yassine extended his win streak to four matches with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Cressoni. Shortly after, Botha scored Alabama's third point of the afternoon at No. 3 with a 6-4, 6-1 win of his own against Kostanov. The match was clinched by Thompson at No. 3 with a 6-1, 6-4 decision. The Tide netter was down 3-1 in the second set, but battled back to take the frame and hand Alabama its first conference win of the season.
The next pair to finish was the matchup at No. 6 where freshman Ian Chadwell recorded the first conference win of his career. Chadwell won his first set 7-5 over Pulsfort before falling 6-3 in the second. The Tide newcomer took the super tiebreaker by a score of 11-9 for the victory. The battle of ranked opponents on court one was also sent into a super tiebreaker as No. 38 Myneni took the first set 6-4, but fell in the second 6-2 to 65th-ranked Cubas. Myneni came back in the deciding frame 10-3 to hand Alabama its sixth point.
The final contest of the afternoon to finish went in favor of South Carolina as Doverspike fell in a close 7-5, 7-6(2) match to Campos.
"It was great to get a road conference win, but we need to be ready to play a tough match at Florida on Sunday," Pate added.
Alabama finishes its conference road swing Sunday when it takes on No. 7 Florida. Opening serve is slated for 1:00 p.m. (CST).
1. Myneni/Davis (UA) def. Cubas/Campos (SC) 9-7
2. Doverspike/Thompson (UA) def. Machado/Pulsfort (SC) 8-6
3. Botha/Walston (UA) def. Kostanov/Cressoni (SC) 8-6
Order of Finish: 2,1,3
1. No. 38 Saketh Myneni (UA) def. No. 65 Diego Cubas (SC) 6-4, 2-6, 1-0(3)
2. Pedro Campos (SC) def Ricky Doverspike (UA) 7-5, 7-6(2)
3. Jarryd Botha (UA) def. Alexander Kostanov (SC) 6-4, 6-1
4. Michael Thompson (UA) def. Ivan Machado (SC) 6-1, 6-4
5. Houssam Yassine (UA) def. Ivan Cressoni (SC) 6-4, 6-1
6. Ian Chadwell (UA) def. Johannes Pulsfort (SC) 7-5, 3-6, 1-0(9)
Order of Finish: 5,3,4*,6,1,2