March 26, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 37 men’s tennis team (8-9, 1-4 SEC) defeated Southern Mississippi (6-7, 0-1 C-USA) 5-2 Friday night at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium. The Crimson Tide dropped the doubles point to the Golden Eagles, but rebounded in singles play to win the match.
“Southern Mississippi played an inspired match,” head coach Billy Pate said. “They are a very talented and capable team. I didn’t think we overlooked them, but we got off to a slow start in doubles.”
In doubles action, Southern Mississippi took control of two courts early en route to claiming the doubles point. The one court Alabama was able to claim was court two, which featured junior Trey Walston and freshman Jarryd Botha cruising past seniors Diego and Oscar Machuca. Walston and Botha did not drop a game, sweeping the match 8-0.
The Golden Eagles had simultaneous 7-4 leads on court one and three, putting them in prime position to take a 1-0 lead in the match. At the No. 3 position, sophomore Patricio Alvarado and senior Strate Krstevski were able to hold off sophomores Michael Davis and Creighton Blanchard, taking the match 8-5. Davis and Blanchard trailed by two breaks late in the match, and were only able to recover one of those. At the No. 1 spot, juniors Julien Roussel and Jan Burmeister lost momentum briefly at 7-4, dropping serve to let sophomore duo Ricky Doverspike and Michael Thompson stay in the match. However, Roussel and Burmeister were able to serve out the 8-5 victory in the next game.
The Tide responded in singles, earning two straight sets victories to take a 2-1 lead. On court three, Botha defeated Burmeister 6-0, 6-4. Botha won the first nine games of the match before Burmeister got on the board, and was able to hold on for the victory. At the No. 2 spot, Doverspike battled past Diego Machuca 6-4, 6-4. The players traded breaks in the first before Doverspike broke late to secure the set. He was also able to gain a break early in the second and hold his serve the rest of the set to claim the win.
Davis gave Alabama a 3-1 lead, fighting through a tough three-set match for the win at the No. 6 position. He was down 3-0 quickly to open the match against Krstevski, but fought back to take the opening set 6-4. In the second, Krstevski again took an early lead, but this time would not let it slip away. He played consistent tennis throughout the set to take it 6-2 and force a third. The final set saw Davis steal the momentum away early from Krstevski en route to winning the set easily 6-1.
Just a few seconds after Davis won his match, Yassine clinched the victory with a 6-3, 7-5 win on court four. He raced out to a 3-0 lead against Roussel, easing his way to taking the first set 6-3. Roussel would up his play in the second, eventually leading 5-2. Yassine managed to hang in several extended rallies to hang in the match, closing out the win by taking the last five games of the match.
The final two matches of the day were decided in three sets. At the No. 5 position, freshman Ian Chadwell was locked in a battle with Oscar Machuca. The first set was tightly contested, with Chadwell taking an early break lead before Machuca came back to take a 4-3 lead. The set would go to a tiebreak. Chadwell responded well in the second when he secured an early lead, winning the set 6-3. With the match having already been decided, the third set was reduced to a super tiebreak. Once again, it was Chadwell with an early lead and Machuca forced to play from behind. Machuca was able to even the score at 4-4, but Chadwell won the next three points to seemingly take command. However, Machuca won the next five points to earn to match points, taking the victory on the second.
On court one, No. 47 Myneni struggled with consistency against Alvarado. Myneni earned the first break, but Alvarado broke back to get the set back on serve. Then, with Myneni serving at 4-5, Alvarado broke again to take the set. In the second, Myneni once again took a break lead only to see Alvarado come back. The Alabama senior found himself down triple match point when serving at 4-5, but found a way out trouble to hold. The set ended in a tiebreak, which Myneni breezed through seven points to zero, including a booming ace on set point. The final set was on serve until 4-3, when Myneni broke Alvarado for a chance to serve out the match, which he did successfully.
“We did a good job of coming out in singles and winning four first sets,” Pate added. “The positive of this match is that we were tested, and that prepares us for stiffer competition.”
Alabama returns to Southeastern Conference action on Sunday, March 28 when it hosts No. 9 Kentucky. Opening serve is slated for 1:00 p.m. (CST).
1. Roussel/Burmeister (USM) def. Doverspike/Thompson (UA) 8-5
2. Walston/Botha (UA) def. D. Machuca/O. Machuca (USM) 8-0
3. Alvarado/Krstevski (USM) def. Davis/Blanchard (UA) 8-5
Order of Finish: 2,3,1
1. No. 47 Saketh Myneni (UA) def. Patricio Alvarado (USM) 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-3
2. Ricky Doverspike (UA) def. Diego Machuca (USM) 6-4, 6-4
3. Jarryd Botha (UA) def. Jan Burmeister (USM) 6-0, 6-4
4. Houssam Yassine (UA) def. Julien Roussel (USM) 6-3, 7-5
5. Oscar Machuca (USM) def. Ian Chadwell (UA) 7-6(4), 3-6, 1-0(8)
6. Michael Davis (UA) def. Strate Krstevski (USM) 6-4, 2-6, 6-1
Order of Finish: 3,2,6,4*,5,1