Men's Tennis Pushes Past Alabama, 4-2

by Elizabeth Stuart
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Men's Tennis Pushes Past Alabama, 4-2

LEXINGTON, KY. — The LSU men’s tennis team pushed past Alabama on Thursday at the Boone Tennis Center, 4-2, when junior Sebastian Carlsson clinched his court in a stunning three-setter against Jarryd Botha on court No. 3, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).

The Tigers dropped their first doubles match on court No. 3 when LSU duo Mark Bowtell and Julien Gauthier fell to Ricky Doverspike and Ian Chadwell, 8-6, but LSU continued to fight for the early lead.

On court No. 2, Stefan Szacinski and Roger Anderson edged out Botha and Trey Walston, 8-5, and pushed the doubles decision to the top court where LSU’s 55th-ranked Neal Skupski and Sebastian Carlsson entered a tiebreaker with Alabama’s Saketh Myneni and Houssam Yassine.

Skupski and Carlsson battled through the tiebreaker to earn a 9-8 (7-4) mark over Myneni and Yassine and secured the 1-0 lead for the Tigers.

LSU’s intensity carried into several close singles matches.

Alabama evened the score at 1-1 after the Crimson Tide took the first match at court No. 6 when Cody Loup dropped his match to Walston, 6-0, 6-3, but the Tigers took back the momentum in the next match.

Szacinski rolled to a straight-set win on court No. 5 against Ian Chadwell, 6-3, 6-3, to put the Tigers back into the lead, 2-1.

The Crimson Tide took the next point to once again pull even when Gauthier dropped his match to Yassine on court No. 4. Gauthier narrowly slipped in the first set 5-7 to Yassine, and although he fought back in the second set, Yassine took the match, 7-5, 6-3.

With the score tied at 2-2, Skupski, Bowtell and Carlsson remained in action on the top-three courts.

Bowtell’s court was the first to finish. After narrowly pushing past Doverspike, 7-6 (7-3), in the first set, the LSU sophomore missed the second set by a 6-1 mark. A 6-3 third-set score by Bowtell put LSU one step closer to winning the match with a 3-2 overall score against the Crimson Tide.

Skupski trailed 22nd-ranked Myneni, 2-5, in the third set when Carlsson took his match for the Tigers’ 4-2 win.

LSU will face top-seeded Tennessee in the second round of the tournament on Friday at 5 p.m. CT in the Boone Tennis Center.

“It was an exciting match,” LSU head coach Jeff Brown said. “The doubles point came down to a tiebreaker and the last singles court did as well. Both teams fought very hard, and we are excited about a chance to play a very good Tennessee team that could possible play for a national championship this year. We are going to work on our games, hopefully in preparation for the NCAA Tournament.”

Tennessee is the second-ranked team in the nation with a 23-1 record and an 11-0 SEC record. The Vols post the top-ranked player in John Patrick Smith with a 35-6 overall record. Boris Conkic and Rhyne Williams post in the rankings for Tennessee at No. 37 and No. 44, respectively, and Tennys Sandgren lists at No. 114.

In doubles, Davey Sandgren and Smith hold the No. 4 spot in the rankings, Conkic and Smith check in at No. 7 and Conkic and Williams list at No. 8.

#9 LSU (ITA No. 48) 4, #8 Alabama (ITA No. 31) 2
2010 SEC men’s Tennis Championships
Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center Lexington, Ky.
First Round Match 4

Doubles
1. No. 55 Neal Skupski/Sebastian Carlsson (LSU) vs. Saketh Myneni/Houssam Yassine (UA) 9-8 (7-4)
2. Stefan Szacinski/Roger Anderson (LSU) def. Botha/Walston (UA) 8-5
3. Ricky Doverspike/Ian Chadwell (UA) def. Bowtell/Gauthier (LSU) 8-6

Singles
1. No. 52 Neal Skupski (LSU) vs. No. 22 Saketh Myneni (UA) 2-6, 6-4, 2-5, unfinished
2. Mark Bowtell (LSU) def. Ricky Doverspike (UA) 6-7 (3-7), 1-6, 6-3
3. No. 121 Sebastian Carlsson (LSU) def. Jarryd Botha (UA) 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4)
4. Houssam Yassine (UA) def. Julien Gauthier (LSU) 7-5, 6-3
5. Stefan Szacinski (LSU) def. Ian Chadwell (UA) 6-3, 6-3
6. Trey Walston (UA) def. Cody Loup (UA) 6-0, 6-3

Order of Finish: Doubles: 3, 2, 1* Singles: 6, 5, 4, 2, 3*