NEW ORLEANS, La.- Three Alabama men’s tennis players competed in their first matches of the spring season today at the SEC Coaches’ Indoor Championships.
Freshman Houssam Yassine from Rabat, Morocco played indoors for the first time on Friday in his first collegiate singles match. He also teamed up with sophomore Mathieu Thibaudeau for his first collegiate doubles match.
In the singles ??A’ draw, Yassine faced No. 79 Robbye Poole from Ole Miss and was defeated in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3. In doubles, Yassine and Thibaudeau, playing together for the first time, lost to Tennessee’s Johnny Thornton and Davie Sandgren 8-5.
“Houssam held in there pretty well after being on campus for only a week and then facing a ranked player in his first college match,” said assistant coach Lee Nickell. “It was his first ever match indoors. He is used to playing on red clay, the slowest tennis surface, and came here to play on indoor courts, the fastest surface, so it is quite an adjustment and will take some time for him to catch up.”
Thibaudeau played No. 40 Erling Tveit, who is projected to play in the No. 1 spot for Ole Miss this season in the singles ??A’ draw. Despite a close match, Thibaudeau eventually lost by a tiebreaker in the second set, 6-4, 7-6 (2).
Taylor Striplin, a junior from Birmingham, lost in straight sets to Ole Miss’ Edouard Benchetrit, 6-3, 6-4 in the singles ??B’ draw.
Alabama will finish play at the tournament tomorrow with action beginning at 9 a.m.
No. 40 Erling Tveit (Ole Miss) def. Mathieu Thibaudeau (Alabama) 6-4, 7-6 (2)
No. 79 Robbye Poole (Ole Miss) def. Houssam Yassine (Alabama) 6-1, 6-3
Edouard Benchetrit (Mississippi State) def. Taylor Striplin (Alabama) 6-3, 6-4
Johnny Thornton and Davey Sandgren (Tennessee) def. Houssam and Thibaudeau (Alabama)