April 3, 2011
BATON ROUGE, La. - The 43rd-ranked men's tennis team dropped a 5-2 decision to No. 34 LSU at W. T. "Dub" Robinson Stadium on Sunday. The Crimson Tide (9-8, 2-6 SEC) was edged out in doubles by the Tigers (9-10 4-4 SEC) and fell in four of the singles matches, a trio of which were decided in three sets.
"I am proud of the effort from the team, but we just were not able to get the win," Alabama head coach Billy Pate said. "It is another result that is going to be tough to stomach. Midway through the match, we put ourselves in position to win, but we just are not believing in ourselves the way we should be. We are close to being a good team, but without seizing opportunities at key moments, it is hard to win against any tough opponent, especially on the road."
In doubles, it would be the matchup on court one finishing first as the 10th-ranked pair of senior Sebastian Carlsson and junior Neal Skupski gave LSU a leg up with an 8-5 win over Alabama junior Ricky Doverspike and sophomore Jarry Botha, ranked No. 76. Carlsson and Skupski got out to an early lead before Doverspike and Botha battled back to make it a close match, but the Tiger duo held on late for the win. Alabama senior Trey Walston and freshman Daniil Proskura got off to a commanding 5-0 start on court three over senior Julien Gauthier and sophomore Olivier Borsos helping the Tide duo to edge the Tigers, 8-6. The doubles point would come down to court two, which went game-for-game until LSU sophomores Roger Anderson and Stefan Szacinski broke late to take a 7-5 lead. From there, Alabama juniors Vikram Reddy and Michael Thompson would win one more game before the Tigers closed it out in the next game to take the match, 8-6.
LSU would take a 2-0 lead after 81st-ranked Skupski posted the first victory in singles with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Proskura on court two. Botha gave the Tide its first point of the afternoon after coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the first to beat Szacinski 6-4, 6-2 on court three. Reddy evened the match score at 2-2 with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against No. 124 Carlsson 6-4, 6-4, which was Reddy's first win over a nationally ranked opponent this season. The remaining singles contest would advance to third sets with all three going in favor of the Tigers. On court six, Gauthier tacked on a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 win over freshman Carlos Taborga to put LSU in front, 3-2. The matchups on court one and five were neck-and-neck down the stretch and would go on for quite some time. On court one, Doverspike came back after dropping his first set, 6-4, to take the second, 6-3, over Borsos. The third set would be pushed to a tiebreaker where Borsos overcame match point at 8-7 to win three straight games for the 7-6(8) win to clinch the match for LSU. Thompson led 6-5 in his third set but would retire once the match was decided, giving the Tigers the final point. Thompson won his first set over Bowtell 6-2, but the LSU netter picked up a 6-3 win in the second to force a third set.
Next up, the Tide will return home for its final three home matches of the season, beginning with Mississippi on Friday, April 8, at 3 p.m. CT.
"Though we return home next weekend, we will get a very tough challenge from Mississippi and Mississippi State," Pate added. "They are both playing very well right now."
1. No. 10 Carlsson/Skupski (LSU) def. No. 76 Doverspike/Botha (UA) 8-5
2. Szacinski/Anderson (LSU) def. Thompson/Reddy (UA) 8-6
3. Proskura/Walston (UA) def. Gauthier/Borsos (LSU) 8-6
Order of Finish: 1,3,2
1. Olivier Borsos (LSU) def. Ricky Doverspike (UA) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(8)
2. No. 81 Neal Skupski (LSU) def. Daniil Proskura (UA) 6-1, 6-2
3. Jarryd Botha (UA) def. Stefan Szacinski (LSU) 6-4, 6-2
4. Vikram Reddy (UA) def. No. 124 Sebastian Carlsson (LSU) 6-4, 6-4
5. Mark Bowtell (LSU) def. Michael Thompson (UA) 2-6, 6-3, 5-6, ret.
6. Julien Gauthier (LSU) def. Carlos Taborga (UA) 5-7, 6-4, 6-1
Order of Finish: 2,3,4,6,1*,5