BATON ROUGE, La.- The No. 16 University of Alabama men’s tennis team defeated South Carolina, 4-1, today to earn its first victory of the SEC men’s tennis tournament. With the win, Alabama improves to 20-6 overall and 8-4 against conference teams.
“It was good to get through today with a win,” said Alabama head coach Billy Pate. “It wasn’t an easy match and I thought we started off slow in doubles but we rebounded well and got off to a positive start in singles. We really need to be at our best tomorrow against Florida.”
Alabama started off the match the same way they have all season, with strong doubles play. The Crimson Tide earned a quick victory on court two but had to fight for the second victory. The Tide earned the doubles point for the 25th time this season, giving the team a 1-0 advantage heading into singles play.
The No. 2 tandem of Joseph Jung and Saketh Myneni set the tone for the rest of the Alabama squad with a commanding victory over South Carolina’s Ivan Cressoni and David Wolff, 8-2. With the win, the pair improves to 19-7 overall and 13-7 from the No. 2 slot.
On court three, Alabama’s Billy Mertz and Javier Bes trailed 6-4 before winning four unanswered games to clinch the match. The pair broke South Carolina’s serve to pull within one, then capitalized on their serve to tie the match. The No. 3 tandem was unstoppable in the last two games, defeating South Caronlina’s Thomas Stoddard and Joe Veeder, 8-6.
Alabama’s No. 1 pair of Dan Buikema and Mathieu Thibaudeau led South Carolina’s Pedro Campos and Yevegeny Supeko, 7-6, before calling the match.
In singles, The Tide’s Bes cruised by Wolff, 6-0, 6-0, at the No. 5 spot to finish first and give Alabama a 2-0 lead. Myneni picked up the second Tide victory over South Carolina’s Stoddard, 6-3, 6-2, at the No. 6 slot, extending the Alabama lead to two.
Alabama’s No. 1 singles player Mertz clinched the match for the Tide with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over South Carolina’s Supeko. With the win, Mertz improves to 26-8 overall and 9-2 over SEC opponents.
“I felt good going into the match because I had played Supeko before so I knew his weaknesses,” said Alabama junior Billy Mertz. “We had beaten South Carolina before so we were pretty confident heading into the match.”
Alabama will face the No. 3 seed Florida Gators tomorrow at 8:00 am at the WT Dub’ Robinson Tennis Center in Baton Rouge, La. Alabama and Florida tied for third in the SEC with LSU and Tennessee but the Gators ended up the higher tournament seed and earned a first round bye in the tournament. Tournament information and results are available through www.lsusports.com.
#6 Alabama 4, #11 South Carolina 1
Baton Rouge, La.
WT Dub’ Robinson Tennis Complex
Time: 2 hrs. 52 min.
1. No. 76 Billy Mertz (UA) def. Yev Supeko (SC) 6-3, 6-4
2. Joseph Jung (UA) vs. No. 115 Pedro Campos (SC) 6-3, 5-4 unf.
3. Sammy Struyf (UA) vs. Pedro Rodrigues (SC) 6-3, 4-6 unf.
4. Ivan Cressoni (SC) def. Mathieu Thibaudeau (UA) 6-4, 6-2
5. Javier Bes (UA) def. David Wolff (SC) 6-0, 6-0
6. Saketh Myneni (UA) def. Thomas Stoddard (SC) 6-3, 6-2
1. No. 26 Dan Buikema/Mathieu Thibaudeau (UA) vs. Pedro Campos/Yevgeny Supeko (SC) 7-6 (unfinished)
2. Joseph Jung/Saketh Myneni (UA) def. Ivan Cressoni/David Wolff (SC) 8-2
3. Billy Mertz/Javier Bes (UA) def. Thomas Stoddard/Joe Veeder (SC) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3*); Singles (5,4,6,1*)
Round 1 of SEC Tournament
No. 16 Alabama 20-6, 8-4 SEC
st victory of the SEC men’s tennis tournament. With the win, Alabama improves to 20-6 overall and 8-4 against conference teams.