Men's Tennis Falls to Kentucky 5-2
March 28, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 37 men’s tennis team (8-10, 1-5 SEC) fell to No. 9 Kentucky (14-6, 4-2 SEC) on Sunday at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium. The Crimson Tide dropped the doubles point in a hard-fought tiebreak and could not rebound in singles play against the Wildcats.
“We had a good opportunity in doubles being in control for the most part, but we kind of let that slip away,” UA head coach Billy Pate said. “The point was crucial since we got off to such a slow start in singles.”
Doubles play would last for over an hour, with a tiebreak on court one deciding the doubles point. Alabama picked up a win on court three, as freshman Jarryd Botha and junior Trey Walston breezed by freshman Anthony Rossi and sophomore Alex Musialek 8-2. Botha and Walston raced out to a 5-0 lead, but suffered a brief drop in play, allowing the Kentucky duo to close the gap to 5-2. However, the Tide tandem would take the final three games of the match for the win. The Wildcats countered by taking the match at the No. 2 spot thanks to an 8-5 win by junior Alberto Gonzalez and senior Alex Lambropoulos over sophomores Ricky Doverspike and Michael Thompson. Kentucky earned the first break of the match for a 5-4 lead, but Doverspike and Thompson were able to get the match back on serve at 6-5. It was Gonzalez and Lambropoulos who would respond, breaking serve and successfully serving out the victory.
On court one, senior Saketh Myneni and sophomore Michael Davis were up an early break over the 15th-ranked duo of sophomore Eric Quigley and junior Brad Cox, and it appeared that would be enough to give them the win. However, Quigley and Cox were able to break Davis’ serve to tie the score at 6-6. The match went into a tiebreak from there. The Wildcats opened with a booming ace, followed by a double fault by Myneni. Myneni responded with an ace, but Kentucky took the next two points for a 4-1 lead. Alabama rallied to even the score at 4-4, but the Wildcats earned a match point at 6-5, netting an easy volley to keep the match going. Quigley and Cox held another match point at 7-6, this time able to execute a passing shot to clinch the doubles point.
Kentucky continued its strong play into singles action, winning all six of the opening sets. No. 37 Musialek was the first Wildcat to come away victorious, knocking off Doverspike 6-4, 6-1 on court two. Musialek took a quick 2-0 lead to open the match, but Doverspike responded by winning four of the next five games. Trailing 4-3, Musialek took over the set from there, winning it 6-4. Doverspike was broken in his opening game of the second set, giving Musialek all the momentum he needed for the win.
The match at the No. 4 position was over minutes later. Thompson started slowly against Rossi, not even able to claim a game in the opening set. Thompson was able to earn the first break of the second, but Rossi responded with consecutive breaks for a 4-3 lead. Rossi served for the match at 5-4, and was finally able to close it out on his third match point. Kentucky clinched the match when the next match was completed, as Gonzalez battled past senior Houssam Yassine 6-4, 6-3 at the No. 5 spot. The players traded breaks to open the match, and then Gonzalez broke at 4-4 and served out the set. Gonzalez earned the first break of the second at 2-2, breaking again at 5-3 to claim the win and clinch the match.
Cox was the next to pick up a victory for Kentucky. He took the first set from Botha 6-3, but fell behind an early break in the second on court three. The one break would be all Botha needed, as he won the second set 6-4. The match turned drastically early in the third, as Cox took an early 2-0 lead. Botha faded quickly in the final set, falling 6-1.
Alabama claimed the final two matches of the day, both in three sets. Freshman Ian Chadwell took down sophomore Graeme Dyce by the identical score line of 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 6 position. Dyce broke to open the match and secured a second break at 4-2 for an easy win in the first set. The players traded early breaks in the second set, but it was Chadwell who was able to break two more times in the set to win. The third was much of the same, as Chadwell was solid with his returns to run away with the set.
On court one, it was a battle of ranked players that lived up to its expectations. The opening set went to a tiebreak after the players exchanged breaks in the middle of the set. In the tiebreak, it was No. 47 Myneni who took a 3-0 lead, but No. 10 Quigley fought back for 3-3. Myneni took a 5-4 edge, but he would not win another point, as Quigley took it seven points to five. Myneni responded well, getting an early break and easily winning the second set 6-3. With the Wildcats already having clinched the victory, the final set was reduced to a super tiebreak. Myneni raced out to a 3-1 lead, eventually stretching the lead to 6-3. Quigley continued to fight back, eventually tying the score at 9-9. Once again, it was Myneni with the response, taking the final two points for the 11-9 victory.
“We had guys winning second sets, but it was too late,” Pate added. “Against a top-10 team you have to be firing on all cylinders all the time.”
Alabama remains at home next weekend hosting LSU and Arkansas on April 2 and April 4, respectively. Friday’s match against the Tigers is slated for 3:00 p.m. (CST), while Sunday’s contest with the Razorbacks will begin at noon (CST).