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Men's Tennis Defeats No. 4-Seeded Auburn, 4-3; Advances To Semifinals

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Men's Tennis Defeats No. 4-Seeded Auburn, 4-3; Advances To Semifinals

BATON ROUGE, La – The No. 44 LSU Men’s Tennis team (16-2) defeated No. 21 Auburn (17-10) by a score of 4-3 in Friday’s match in the SEC quarterfinals. 

With the win, the LSU Tigers will advance to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2007.

Danny’s Thoughts

“Again, I am just so proud of the guys and that was one of the coolest environments I’ve been a part of with college tennis,” said head coach Danny Bryan. “The fans were insane and they helped push so many of these guys through. Obviously we’ve already played two matches and then dropping the doubles point and going to so many third sets was tough but that atmosphere was awesome.”


The LSU Tigers lost the doubles point to the Auburn Tigers in Friday’s match. On the No. 2 court, Will Nolan and Tyler Stice defeated Ben Koch and Stefan Latinovic by a score of 6-3.

Auburn clinched the doubles point after Billy Blaydes and Nicholas Heng defeated Welsh Hotard and Aleksi Lofman by a score of 6-3.


The Fighting Tigers refused to back down despite dropping the doubles point and fought in all six singles matches. On the No. 6 court, Welsh Hotard put LSU on the board after quickly defeating Raul Dobai by a score of 6-0, 6-2. Hotard has earned six wins this season including one from last night’s 4-3 win over Texas A&M, helping advance the Tigers to today’s quarterfinal match.

On the No. 3 court, Auburn created a 2-1 lead after Billy Blaydes defeated Rudy Ceccon by a narrow score of 6-4, 6-3.

No. 60 Finn Murgett defeated Alessio Vasquez 7-5, 6-4 on the No. 2 court making the scoreline 3-1 for Auburn and leaving them with only one more needed point to clinch the match.

Julien Penzlin closed the gap to 3-2 for LSU after defeating Alejandro Moreno on the No. 4 court in a three set battle. In the first set, Moreno defeated Penzlin by a score of 6-4. Penzlin came back and easily took the second set in six straight games, forcing the third set. After only dropping one game, Penzlin took the final set 6-1.

Stefan Latinovic, on the No. 1 court, was one of two courts remaining. He went to three sets against No. 29 Tyler Stice. In the first set, Latinovic quickly won by a score of 6-2. The second set went to Stice after winning a 7-3 tiebreaker. Latinovic put up a fight and took the final set by a score of 6-2, tying the match up 3-3 and leaving it up to the No. 5 court to conclude the match. 

Chen Dong faced Nicholas Heng in three tough sets on the No. 5 court and was the last court left standing to decide the outcome of the match. In the first set, Dong won by a narrow score of 7-5. The second set went to Heng but not without a fight from Dong who was only three points shy in a 7-4 tiebreak, forcing a third set. Dong refused to back down and took the final set by a score of 6-4, clinching the match for LSU and advancing the team to the SEC Semi-finals. 

“The level there on Court Five at the end, under pressure, was so good,” said Bryan. “Heng, from Auburn, wasn’t giving Chen anything and I have nothing but respect for how tough he was.”

Dong has earned seven wins this season with one being the clinch in the first round of the 2024 SEC Tournament on Wednesday night.

“For the seniors Stef and Chen to come through like that at the end just made me so proud of them,” said Bryan. They’ve never played in front of a crowd like that at LSU. In the biggest moment of their LSU careers they were able to come through for us. Overall this was so huge for our program to continue to advance in this tournament. We;ve really been working these last two years to get the fans to see how exciting it can be and they have really delivered in these past two days.”

The win advances the Tigers to the semifinal of the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2007, when current head coach Danny Bryan was a senior playing for the Tigers. The 2007 SEC Tournament was also the last time that Baton Rouge, Louisiana hosted the SEC Men’s Tennis Tournament. Bryan helped guide LSU to a semifinal in 2007 as a player. 17 years later, he guides them back to that stage as the head coach.


#44 LSU 4, #21 AUB 3


  1. Stefan Latinovic (LSU) def. #29 Tyler Stice (AUB) 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2
  2. #60 Finn Murgett (AUB) def. Alessio Vasquez (LSU) 7-5, 6-4
  3. Billy Blaydes (AUB) def. Rudy Ceccon (LSU) 6-4, 6-3
  4. Julien Penzlin (LSU) def. Alejandro Moreno (AUB) 4-6, 6-0, 6-1
  5. Chen Dong (LSU) def. Nicholas Heng (AUB) 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4
  6. Welsh Hotard (LSU) def. Raul Dobai (AUB) 6-0, 6-2


  1. #59 Chen Dong/Julien Penzlin (LSU) vs. #21 Raul Dobai/Finn Murgett (AUB) 5-3, unfinished
  2. Will Nolan/Tyler Stice (AUB) def. Ben Koch/Stefan Latinovic (LSU) 6-3
  3. Billy Blaydes/Nicholas Heng (AUB) def. Welsh Hotard/Aleksi Lofman (LSU) 6-3

Match Notes: 

Auburn 17-10; National ranking #21 LSU 16-12; National ranking #44 

Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (6,3,2,4,1,5)

Up Next

The Tigers will face No. 4 Kentucky (22-2) on Saturday at 3 p.m. CST in the SEC Semifinals at the LSU Tennis Complex.

Fans can buy tickets at Adults can purchase all-session passes for $15 and all-session passes for youth (12 and under) for $12. Day passes can also be purchased at $5 for adults and $2 for youth. Gates will open one hour prior to the first match of each day. The match will be free for LSU Students. 

LSU vs. UK (April 19)

Live StatsLive Video | SECN+  

Notes On The Opponent

Kentucky is the SEC regular season champion with a record of 22-2 on the season and 12-0 in conference play. They are currently ranked No. 4 in the latest ITA rankings.

The Wildcats have two team members in the ITA singles rankings. Taha Baadi sits at No. 35 with a 12-8 record on the season. Joshua Lapadat has a narrow 8-9 record on the season and is currently ranked No. 97.

In doubles, Lapadat appears in the rankings again with his partner JJ Mercer at No. 7. The duo leads Kentucky in doubles with a 13-5 record on the season.

Series History

In series history, LSU and Kentucky have a record of 33-24, in favor of the Tigers.

The teams last met in March of 2024 in Baton Rouge. The Tigers fell by a score of 4-2 with LSU taking the doubles point and a singles win from Stefan Latinovic.

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