Men's Tennis Victorious Over Rice, Incarnate Word
Baton Rouge—The LSU men’s tennis team defeated both Rice, 4-1, and Incarnate Word, 6-1, Sunday night at the LSU Tennis Complex.
The Tigers improve to 6-0 on the year which is the best record that LSU has started a season with since Andy and Chris Brandi have been at the helm. It is also the Tigers’ best record to start any season since 2004-05.
The Tigers kicked the day off against Rice University. The wind was whipping around Baton Rouge making Sunday less than ideal for tennis, but LSU didn’t let it phase them.
Sunday was the first day LSU dropped a doubles point all season after Rice won on courts one and two. Malik Bhatnagar and Ben Koch fell to the Owl’s Jacob Eskeland and AJ Valenty, 6-1. Rice clinched the doubles point after No. 90 Rafael Wagner and Ronald Hohmann were defeated by Sumit Sakar and Conrad Russell, 6-4.
The Tigers proved they didn’t need the doubles point to be victorious as they took it to the Owls in singles. Freshman Benjamin Ambrosio made his LSU debut on court six and quickly tied up the match at one, defeating Rice’s Trinity Grear, 6-3, 6-4. Two other freshmen, Joao Graca and Tom Pisane also walked away with victories. Graca defeated Wes Barnett, 6-4, 7-6(5), and Pisane defeated Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, 6-2, 7-6(2). With the match at 3-1, the Tigers saw themselves needing one more victory from either Ronald Hohmann, Rafael Wagner, or Boris Kozlov. Each court had LSU one set away from the win with Kozlov leading 7-6, 5-1, Wagner leading 7-6(5), 5-5, and Hohmann up 4-6, 6-3, 5-2. Hohmann eventually won the race to six, giving LSU the 4-1 victory.
For the second match of the day, LSU returned to the doubles form that fans are used to. Nick Watson and Boris Kozlov remained a perfect 5-0 on the season after a 6-1 victory over Marwin Kralemann and Marco Kermet. Rafael Wagner and Ronald Hohmann clinched the doubles point for LSU after a 6-1 win over Marko Galic and Pietro Perego.
Rafael Wagner gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead after quickly putting Luka Stojanovic away, 6-3, 6-0. The Cardinals lone point of the day came from Marwin Kralemann after he defeated Malik Bhatnagar, 6-4, 6-3. Tom Pisane got his second victory of the day after defeating Joao Sasso, 6-4, 6-0. Tomas Descarrega gave the Tigers their four points for victory after defeating Warren Fulgenzi, 6-3, 6-4. LSU and Incarnate Word played the match out, leading to two more victories for the Tigers. Freshman Ben Koch defeated Marko Galic, 6-2, 6-3, and Benjamin Ambrosio got his second victory in his LSU debut, defeating Arnau Miralles, 7-5, 6-2.
Co-head coach Chris Brandi
On how he felt about the team’s play today…
“It was a good day for us. The conditions were rough all day and I feel bad for the fans and staff that came out, but it was ugly, but what happens is that nobody is going to play well. When it’s that windy, it’s impossible for you to play your best because you have to increase your margins and you have to play safer and that can be frustrating for guys. I was also pleased because we lost doubles [against Rice]. It was a great opportunity to show that we don’t have to win doubles to win a match. We were confident even after losing doubles. I thought a couple of things didn’t go our way and Rice played really well. We came out and won five or six of the first sets in singles. The younger guys had some good wins. [Benjamin] Ambrosio; it was his first match, and he was nervous, but he did a good job and found a way. He’s certainty not playing as well as he wants or hopes or will be in the future. Dual matches are a lot different, and all our freshmen are experiencing that now. You can tell them all you want, but once they start playing one, they actually understand what the difference really is.”
On how he feels about the tougher part of the schedule coming up…
“These next two matches [Texas Tech and Tulane] were the underdog, so which is going to be fun. We’ve been favored every match so far this year, we’ve had all the pressure. Texas Tech is top-25 and they’ve been playing really well the last couple of years. Tulane beat us last year in a close match. They’ve got a good team, as always. They have some really experienced players at the top of their lineup and then some new guys. We’re excited to see what our guys are made of. The level we’re at, every match to be tough, every match is a battle. We’ve got 16 dual match dates left until the SEC tournament so it’s going to be a grind.”
On how he felt about his performance today…
“I’m really happy with it. It was a tough one against UTSA, losing in a third-set tiebreaker, but I think I bounced back well. I improved my level today. I think I was playing well in the important points and I was mentally there which I think was the most important thing.”
On how he feels about the rest of the freshman class…
“I think it’s really fun. We have a really fun group of guys right now… Overall we’re improving every day and getting ready for the next matches.”
For up-to-date information and behind-the-scenes access on the Tigers, follow the LSU men’s tennis team on Twitter and Instagram at @lsutennis and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lsutennis.
LSU 4, Rice 1
1. #90 Ronald Hohmann (LSU) def. Sumit Sarkar (RICE) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
2. Rafael Wagner (LSU) vs. Jacob Eskeland (RICE) 7-6 (7-5), 5-5, unfinished
3. Tom Pisane (LSU) def. Mohamed Abdel-Aziz (RICE) 6-2, 7-6 (7-2)
4. Boris Kozlov (LSU) vs. Campbell Salmon (RICE) 7-6 (9-7), 5-1, unfinished
5. Joao Graca (LSU) def. Wes Barnett (RICE) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
6. Benjamin Ambrosio (LSU) def. Trinity Grear (RICE) 6-3, 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (6, 5, 3, 1)
Official: Richie Weaver
LSU 6, Incarnate Word 1
1. Rafael Wagner (LSU) def. Luka Stojanovic (UIW) 6-3, 6-0
2. Tom Pisane (LSU) def. Joao Sasso (UIW) 6-4, 6-0
3. Marwin Kralemann (UIW) def. Malik Bhatnagar (LSU) 6-4, 6-3
4. Benjamin Ambrosio (LSU) def. Arnau Miralles (UIW) 7-5, 6-2
5. Tomas Descarrega (LSU) def. Warren Fulgenzi (UIW) 6-3, 6-4
6. Ben Koch (LSU) def. Marko Galic (UIW) 6-2, 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,3,2,5,6,4)
Official: Richie Weaver