Men's Tennis Advances to Face Georgia in SEC's

by Sidney Kleinpeter
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Men's Tennis Advances to Face Georgia in SEC's

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The 33rd-ranked LSU men’s tennis team shut out No. 51 Alabama 4-0 in the first round of the 2011 Southeastern Conference Championships on Thursday afternoon at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, Fla.

With the win, the seventh-seeded Tigers (11-12) advance to the second round to face the fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs, who are the tournament’s No. 2 overall seed, tomorrow at 11 a.m. CDT. As the No. 2 seed, the Bulldogs received a first round bye.

It was the Tigers’ second win of the season over the Crimson Tide (10-12), as LSU notched a tough 5-2 victory over the Crimson Tide back on April 3 in Baton Rouge.

The Tigers took an early 1-0 in the match lead by capturing the crucial doubles point. The 10th-ranked Tiger pair of senior Sebastian Carlsson and junior Neal Skupski were first off the courts as they cruised to their 17th dual victory of the season with an 8-3 win over Alabama’s Daniil Proskura and Vikram Reddy. The duo have won four out of their last five matches and are now 8-3 in SEC play.

The Crimson Tide evened things up as the Tiger pair of sophomores Roger Anderson and Stefan Szacinski fell 8-4 to the hands of the Alabama’s Michael Thompson and Rickey Doverspike on Court 2. With the first two doubles matches split, the point rested on the Court 3 match between LSU’s Olivier Borsos and Julien Gauthier and Alabama’s Jarryd Botha and Trey Walston.

Botha and Walston jumped out to an early 4-1 lead, but the Tiger duo turned it around and reeled off five straight games to take a 6-4 lead in the match. Alabama tried to reverse the momentum by winning the next game to make the score 6-5, and then take a love-40 advantage in the next game. But Gauthier and Borsos wouldn’t let their lead slip away as they rallied to win the game and take a comfortable 7-5 lead before blanking the Crimson Tide duo the next game to clinch the match 8-5 and seal the doubles point for the Tigers.

LSU rolled its doubles momentum into singles play as the Tigers won five out of six first sets. Borsos put LSU up 2-0 as he made quick work of Botha 6-2, 6-3 on Court 2, and Carlsson increased the lead to 3-0 with a dominant second set to defeat Alabama’s Ian Chadwell 7-5, 6-0 on Court 5.

On Court 1, No. 87 Skupski split a pair of lopsided sets with Doverspike, but he came through in the clutch with a dominant third set to win the match 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 and clinch the 4-0 win for the Tigers.

“We really fought hard in doubles to come back on Court 3 and win the point,” LSU head coach Jeff Brown said. “Then we did a great job in singles to win a lot of first sets and really put the pressure on them. This was a good win for the team, and we’re looking forward to a tough match tomorrow against Georgia.”

The win marked the fifth-straight year the Tigers have advanced to the second round of the SEC tournament. Last year, LSU knocked off then-31st-ranked Alabama in the first round before falling to then-second-ranked Tennessee in the next round. Historically, the Tigers have won the tournament twice since its inception in 1990, with LSU bringing home the trophy in back-to-back years in 1998 and 1999.

The 2011 tournament features some of the best teams in the nation, as once again the SEC has proven itself to be one of the best and deepest conferences from top to bottom in the country. The SEC has 10 teams ranked in the Top 75, including six in the Top 20 with Tennessee (2), Georgia (5), Kentucky (11), Florida (17), Mississippi State (19) and Auburn (20). Vanderbilt (30), Ole Miss (31), LSU (33) and Alabama (51) round out the ranked SEC teams.

Live stats for Friday’s match against the Bulldogs will be provided by Florida on its official athletics website www.GatorZone.com.

For up-to-date information and behind the scenes access to the Tigers, fans can follow the LSU men’s team on Twitter @lsutennis and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lsutennis.

2011 SEC Championships
Apr 21-24, 2011 in Gainesville, Fla.
Ring Tennis Complex

First Round:

#33 LSU 4, #51 Alabama 0

Singles competition
1. Neal Skupski (LSU) def. Ricky Doverspike (UA) 6-2, 0-6, 6-3
2. Olivier Borsos (LSU) def. Jarryd Botha (UA) 6-2, 6-3
3. Stefan Szacinski (LSU) vs. Daniil Proskura (UA) 6-3, 4-5, unfinished
4. Mark Bowtell (LSU) vs. Vikram Reddy (UA) 3-6, 2-5, unfinished
5. Sebastian Carlsson (LSU) def. Ian Chadwell (UA) 7-5, 6-0
6. Julien Gauthier (LSU) vs. Michael Thompson (UA) 6-3, 3-6, 2-0, unfinished

Doubles competition
1. #10 Neal Skupski/Sebastian Carlsson (LSU) def. Daniil Proskura/Vikram Reddy (UA) 8-3
2. Michael Thompson/Ricky Doverspike (UA) def. Stefan Szacinski/Roger Anderson (LSU) 8-4
3. Olivier Borsos/Julien Gauthier (LSU) def. Jarryd Botha/Trey Walston (UA) 8-6

Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (2,5,1)