Semifinal Saturday in the major conference tournaments brought us one huge surprise as the SEC men’s host and top seed Florida was stunned by Tennessee 4-3. The Gators were riding a 15-match winning streak but Tennessee seized the early momentum after rolling through the doubles point with a 6-1 win at No. 1 and a 6-3 win at No. 2. Florida rebounded quickly in singles with Oliver Crawford, Alfredo Perez, and Duarte Vale winning in straight sets at No. 1, No. 5, and No. 6 to put the Gators in front 3-1. Tennessee countered with a straight set win by Scott Jones at No. 3 but things looked grim for the Vols when Luca Wiedenmann trailed Andy Andrade 5-3 in the third at No. 4. However the Volunteer junior would hold for 4-5, break from 30/40 for 5-5, hold for 6-5, and then break from 15/40 to win 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
The deciding match at No. 2 between Tennessee sophomore Adam Walton and Florida freshman Sam Riffice went back and forth in the final set with several breaks being exchanged. Riffice broke Walton to go up 3-1 however Walton would break back and hold for 3-3. Walton broke again to go up 5-4 but Riffice would break back for 5-5. Walton broke for 6-5 and then he served it out from 40/15 to win it 1-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Tennessee advances to the SEC Tournament final for the first time since 2013 and earns a win over the Gators in Gainesville for the first time since 2010, as sophomore @AdamWalton99 clinches the 4-3 win over No. 3 Florida with a 3-6 6-3 7-5 win!
Tennessee Tennis (@Vol_Tennis) April 20, 2019
“That’s what Tennessee tennis is about,” assistant coach James McKie said. “It’s about guys that will fight to the end no matter what the score is. Florida is obviously a very good team but our guys believed we could do it and we proved again that we can go for the title tomorrow.”
Head Coach Bryan Shelton
“Hats off to Tennessee. They came and played just an awesome match. I thought those guys were really well prepared. I told our guys in the locker room after the match that we got to give them a lot of credit because they played us tough in the doubles and they played us tough in the singles. They were super super disciplined with their play. They made very few unforced errors, especially at the end of that match, so when the pressure really ramped up, they stayed steady and they allowed us to kind of make some unforced errors and they came up with some big shots of their own at big times in the match. I have to give credit to their coaching staff and every one of their guys, they brought a lot of energy. But I am also proud of our guys who competed extremely hard as we have all season. It’s always tough to lose those matches and it’s really tough to lose at home, where we feel like we have a huge advantage. But again, Tennessee was just a little bit too good today.
On the attitude of the guys post match and bouncing back from the loss
“That’s what we always talk about: being resilient. Shortly after the match, we didn’t look too resilient, but that’s to be expected. When you put it all out on the line and you work hard for things and you don’t get them, you are going to be disappointed. Certainly our guys love to win. They don’t like losing and they know how hard they work, so it hurts to lose those types of matches. But I know that we will bounce back. We talked in the locker room about giving it all we got from here on out. We’ve got the NCAA Tournament still ahead of us. We’ve had a great run so far this season. We had not lost an outdoor match all season until today, so we have a lot to be thankful for and to be proud of and I feel like the best is yet to come. So for us, let’s take a couple days, regroup and let’s double our effort and finish this thing as strong as we possibly can.”
#13 Tennessee 4, #3 Florida 3
4/20/2019 at Gainesville, Fla. (Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex)
1.#11 Oliver Crawford (UF) def. #28 Timo Stodder (UT) 6-4, 6-2
2. #71 Adam Walton (UT) def. #52 Sam Riffice (UF) 1-6, 6-3, 7-5
3. Scott Jones (UT) def. #91 Johannes Ingildsen (UF) 6-4, 6-2
4. Luca Wiedenmann (UT) def. #50 Andres Andrade (UF) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
5. Alfredo Perez (UF) def. Martim Prata (UT) 6-2, 6-2
6. #94 Duarte Vale (UF) def. Preston Touliatos (UT) 6-1, 6-4
1.#10 Timo Stodder/Preston Touliatos (UT) def. Oliver Crawford/Alfredo Perez (UF) 6-1
2. Pat Harper/Andrew Rogers (UT) def. McClain Kessler/Johannes Ingildsen (UF) 6-3
3. Duarte Vale/Andres Andrade (UF) vs. Scott Jones/Adam Walton (UT) 5-2, unfinished
Tennessee 20-7; National ranking #13
Florida 21-3; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (5,6,1,3,4,2)
Tennessee’s opponent in Sunday’s final will be the defending champs Mississippi State who will be making their third straight appearance in the final after a close 4-2 win over South Carolina. The Gamecocks took the doubles point after winning the decider at No. 3 in a tiebreak 7-5 and then the teams split opening sets in singles. MSU won the first three matches to finish with Niclas Braun and Trevor Foshey winning in straight sets at No. 4 and No. 5 while Nuno Borges came back from a set down to win in three sets at No. 1.
South Carolina pulled to within 3-2 after a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 win by Daniel Rodrigues at No. 2 and Yancy Dennis was in a third set tiebreak at No. 6 against Florian Broska after Broska fought off several match points to hold for 6-6. However the comeback would stop there because MSU senior Strahinja Rakic would break Raphael Lambling to go up 5-3 in the third at No. 3 and then would serve it out from 40/30 to win 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.
Rakic clinches with a 6-3 3rd coming from down a break 2-3 to win the last 4. pic.twitter.com/43QIrq3ZHk
CollegeTennisRanks (@College10sRanks) April 20, 2019
MSU Men’s Tennis ? (@HailStateMT) April 20, 2019
“Today was an awesome match by the guys,” head coach Matt Roberts said. “Give credit to South Carolina. They played really well in doubles, won three sets and almost won a fourth in singles. The guys did an excellent job of enjoying competing together and embracing the tough moments today. I’m very happy with the guys, their resiliency and how they competed. We’re excited to be back in the final, and we’re ready to get going against a very good Tennessee team tomorrow.”
#6 Mississippi State 4, #22 South Carolina 2
4/20/2019 at Gainesville, Fla. (Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex)
1. #3 Nuno Borges (MSU) def. #6 Paul Jubb (SC) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
2. #119 Daniel Rodrigues (SC) def. #61 Giovanni Oradini (MSU) 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
3. Strahinja Rakic (MSU) def. Raphael Lambling (SC) 7-5, 1-6, 6-3
4. Niclas Braun (MSU) def. Beau Pelletier (SC) 7-5, 6-1
5. Trevor Foshey (MSU) def. Thomas Brown (SC) 6-4, 6-2
6. Florian Broska (MSU) vs. Yancy Dennis (SC) 3-6, 6-2, 6-6, unfinished
1.Daniel Rodrigues/Raphael Lambling (SC) def. #3 Nuno Borges/Strahinja Rakic (MSU) 6-3
2. #20 Giovanni Oradini/Niclas Braun (MSU) def. Paul Jubb/Yancy Dennis (SC) 6-4
3. Beau Pelletier/Jake Beasley (SC) def. Gregor Ramskogler/Trevor Foshey (MSU) 7-6 (7-5)
South Carolina 17-9; National ranking #22
Mississippi State 21-3; National ranking #6
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (5,4,1,2,3)
In the SEC women’s final it will be a matchup between the top two seeds after No. 1 Georgia rolled 4-0 over host Texas A&M while No. 2 South Carolina held off No. 3 seed Vanderbilt 4-1.
Both the men’s and women’s finals in the ACC will match the top two seeds with Wake Forest set to face Virginia in the men’s final while North Carolina and Duke will meet in the women’s final. The closest match of the day in Cary took place between Virginia and North Carolina. With the score tied at 3-3, UNC’s William Blumberg led UVA’s Carl Soderlund 3-1 in the third set however Soderlund would take five of the next six games to win 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.
Virginia Men’s Tennis (@UVAMensTennis) April 20, 2019
#5 Virginia 4, #9 North Carolina 3
Apr 20, 2019 at Cary, NC — Cary Tennis Park
1. #5 Carl Soderlund (VA) def. #19 William Blumberg (NC) 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
2. #38 Benjamin Sigouin (NC) def. #82 Brandon Nakashima (VA) 6-0, 6-2
3. Henrik Wiersholm (VA) def. #102 Josh Peck (NC) 6-3, 7-5
4. Gianni Ross (VA) def. #116 Brian Cernoch (NC) 6-2, 7-6 (7-2)
5. Blaine Boyden (NC) def. Ryan Goetz (VA) 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3
6. Aswin Lizen (VA) def. Mac Kiger (NC) 6-3, 6-4
1. #28 William Blumberg and Blaine Boyden (NC) def. #37 Henrik Wiersholm and Brandon Nakashima (VA) 6-4
2. Carl Soderlund and Matthew Lord (VA) vs. Benjamin Sigouin and Brian Cernoch (NC); match was unfinished: 5-5
3. Mac Kiger and Simon Soendergaard (NC) def. Gianni Ross and Aswin Lizen (VA) 6-3
Order of finish: Singles — 2 6 4 3 5 1 ; Doubles — 3 1
Start Time: 10:30 am
The Big 12 finals will match No. 1 Texas versus No. 2 Baylor on the men’s side and No. 1 Texas versus tournament host No. 3 Kansas on the women’s side. In Saturday’s men’s matches Texas stopped Oklahoma 4-2 while Baylor overcame the loss of the doubles point to defeat Oklahoma State 4-1. In the women’s matches Texas blanked Texas Tech 4-0 while Kansas upset No. 2 seed Oklahoma State 4-2.
Other Saturday Conference Tournament Results:
#1 UCF def. #5 Wichita State 4-0
#3 USF def. #7 Temple 4-1
#1 UCF def. #4 Tulsa 4-0
#2 USF def. #6 SMU 4-3
#1 Florida Atlantic def. #5 Rice 4-1
#3 Middle Tennessee State def. #2 Old Dominion 4-1
#1 Old Dominion def. #5 North Texas 4-0
#2 Rice def. #3 Florida Atlantic 4-2
To see all the results check out my conference tournament pages with links at the top of the page.