Bulldog Tennis Trio Advances To Second Round Of NCAA Singles
ATHENS, Ga. -All three of Mississippi State men's tennis entries into the 2012 NCAA Singles Championship - Louis Cant, George Coupland and Artem Ilyushin - advanced to Thursday's second round with impressive victories on Wednesday.
With all three of them winning, it marks the first time since 1997 that three Bulldogs have advanced to the NCAA Singles second round in the same year.
In his first round draw against 37th-ranked Ben McLachlan of the University of California, MSU's No. 13 Ilyushin quickly breezed past his Golden Bear foe as he never lost serve and took a solid 6-1, 6-3 victory. Ilyushin, a 9-16 alphabetical seed, will face 45th-ranked Jonas Lutjen of Ole Miss at 9 a.m. CT on Thursday in the second round.
Also drawing a first round Cal foe in No. 58 Nick Andrews, the 56th-ranked Coupland dropped a tough first set as Andrews broke to take the 6-4 decision. In the second, Andrews would build a 5-2 lead until Coupland regained his composure and answered by winning three straight games and eventually sent the set to a tiebreaker. With Andrews holding the advantage most of the way, Coupland was able to earn an 8-7 edge and take the second set 7-6(7) on a wayward backhand from Andrews. Andrews took the first break of the third set but Coupland quickly answered and held to take a 4-3 advantage. With a 5-4 lead, Coupland forced Andrews' serve to deuce and then downed his Golden Bear foe 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 on a beautiful crosscourt forehand winner on match point. With a set time of 11 a.m. CT tomorrow, Coupland will face 39th-ranked Alex Domijan of Virginia, who upset the tournament's No. 6 overall seed on Wednesday.
In the final Bulldog match of the day, MSU's 50th-ranked Cant boosted himself into the top 10 in career singles wins all time at Mississippi State with a solid win. Facing No. 51 Yannick Hanfmann of Southern Cal, Cant had his hands full as his opponent was the Trojans' 2012 NCAA Team National Championship match clincher the evening before in Athens. Falling behind 2-0 quickly, Cant battled back to take the first set 6-3. Hanfmann took another 2-0 advantage to start the second but Cant once again answered, this time by winning five straight games. Hanfmann was able to break and hold serve but Cant held serve and became the third Bulldog senior of the day to advance with an impressive 6-3, 6-4 victory. Cant is slated to face 42nd-ranked Bob van Overbeek of Florida, who upset the tournament's No. 8 seed Wednesday, Thursday at 12 p.m. CT.
Also, tomorrow begins the first round of the 32-team NCAA Doubles field. The 25th-ranked MSU duo of Coupland and Ilyushin will square off with the No. 21 Illinois duo of Roy Kalmanovich and Dennis Nevolo at 5:30 p.m. CT.
2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Individual Championships - Singles
5/23/12 - Dan Magill Tennis Complex - Athens, Ga.
#13 Artem Ilyushin (MSU) def. #37 Ben McLachlan (California) 6-1, 6-3
#56 George Coupland (MSU) def. #58 Nick Andrews (California) 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4
#50 Louis Cant (MSU) def. #51 Yannick Hanfmann (Southern Cal) 6-3, 6-4