Men's Tennis Completes Comeback



Men's Tennis Completes Comeback to Defeat Oklahoma, Remains Unbeaten

Friday, February 10, 2006

TUSCALOOSA – Joseph Jung won his twelfth consecutive match in dual-match competition and Alabama (3-0) claimed the first five singles matches to complete a comeback Friday and earn a 5-2 upset win over Oklahoma (3-3) at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility.

Jung (9-6) defeated No. 22 Marek Velicka at No. 1 singles to clinch the win for Alabama just moments after freshman Mathieu Thibaudeau (4-2) pushed the Tide to the brink of victory with a win of his own at No. 2 singles. The victory runs Alabama’s record to a perfect 3-0 this season and marks the second straight match that the Tide has fought back to win after losing the doubles point. 

“This is an exceptional start for us,” Alabama head coach Billy Pate said. “This match was closer than the score indicates, but we were able to win a few third sets to swing the match in our favor. I’m proud of the fight that (Jung) showed and (Thibaudeau) continues to be gutsy as a freshman.”

Jung finished strong, but things didn’t start out so smoothly. Jung committed several uncharacteristic unforced errors early and dropped the opening set 6-2. He hung in however, and clawed his way back into the match by winning the second-set tiebreaker 7-6(4). Then in the third set, Jung finally broke Velicka’s serve to take a 4-3 lead. He then held serve the rest of the way the finish the comeback.

Not only did Jung’s win help seal the victory for Alabama, but it kept Jung’s winning streak alive in dual-match play and improved his all-time record at No. 1 singles to 8-0. During this streak, four of Jung’s 12 wins have come against ranked opponents, with Velicka being Jung’s highest ranked victim.

“Joe really showed a lot of composure tonight,” Pate said. “He picked his times to attack, stayed consistent and was able to neutralize Velicka’s power.”

Sophomore Billy Mertz (5-7) got the ball rolling in Alabama’s favor early in singles play. He took a commanding 3-0 first set lead and never allowed his opponent, Sergey Avdeyev, to gather any momentum. Mertz cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win and evened the match at 1-1.

Then at No. 3 singles, No. 87 Javier Bes (7-8), kept momentum going in Alabama’s favor with a 6-4, 6-1 win. Bes is now 2-0 this season at the No. 3 position.

Even after the match was clinched though, Alabama continued to have success. Andrew Felsenthal (11-8) picked up his team-leading 11th victory with a 6-4, 6-0 win at No. 5 singles over Lee Gregg.

Alabama will get another tough test on Sunday as it puts its undefeated record on the line against No. 42 Michigan (4-2). The Wolverines are coming off a loss Friday night to at home to LSU.

Tennis Match Results
Oklahoma vs Alabama
Feb 10, 2006 at Tuscaloosa, Ala.

#58 Alabama 5, #47 Oklahoma 2

Singles competition:
1. #100 Joseph Jung (ALA) def. #22 Marek Velicka (OU) 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
2. Mathieu Thibaudeau (ALA) def. Alexei Ivanov (OU) 7-6, 2-6, 6-2
3. #87 Javier Bes (ALA) def. Tommy Garrison (OU) 6-4, 6-1
4. Billy Mertz (ALA) def. Sergey Avdeyev (OU) 6-3, 6-2
5. Andrew Felsenthal (ALA) def. Lee Gregg (OU) 6-4, 6-0
6. Cale Planck (OU) def. Dan Buikema (ALA) 6-1, 4-6, 6-1

Doubles competition:
1. #20 Marek Velicka/Alexei Ivanov (OU) def. Joseph Jung/Javier Bes (ALA) 8-3
2. Tommy Garrison/Federico Chavarria (OU) def. Mathieu Thibaudeau/Sammy Struyf (ALA) 8-3
3. Andrew Felsenthal/Dan Buikema (ALA) def. Matt Long/Cale Planck (OU) 8-4

Match Notes:
Oklahoma 3-3; National ranking #47
Alabama 3-0; National ranking #58
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (4,3,2,1,5,6)