BATON ROUGE, La. – For the first time since 2005, the Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (16-7, 6-5 SEC) has downed three-straight top 20 opponents, as the Bulldogs defeated the No. 20 LSU Tigers (13-10, 4-7 SEC) 4-1 in Baton Rouge Wednesday afternoon. With the win, State has now won its last four matches against the Tigers, including a 7-0 victory earlier this season.
The win continues what has been an impressive road showing for State this spring, improving to 6-0 in away matches. That is MSU's best mark on the road since the 1975 Bulldogs were 7-0. MSU has also won back-to-back matches in Baton Rouge for the first time since doing so in 1992 and 1994.
State took the early lead Wednesday by grabbing the doubles point, but would have to fight off a tough Tiger squad to get it. On court three, the two teams traded holds until the MSU duo of Pedro Dumont and Ethan Wilkinson earned a break to go up 6-5, eventually defeating LSU’s Boris Arias and Tam Trinh 8-6.
The State tandem of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp, ranked 12th in the nation, went up a break to start and then earned another break later in the match to go up 6-3. The Tigers’ No. 52 team of Chris Simpson and Stefan Szacinski would earn a break and then a hold to come within one, but Angus and Stropp held strong to take the match 8-6, clinching the doubles point for State. Play on court two was suspended at that point, with LSU’s Roger Anderson and Olivier Borsos leading MSU’s Romain Bogaerts and Zach White 7-6.
In singles, tiebreakers would be the determinant for the first set on four courts. After the teams had traded first sets on courts two and five, the Bulldogs would claim three of the breakers (two by 8-6 scores), capturing four of the six first sets in the process.
The MSU junior White was the most dominant point of the day, only dropping two games en route to defeating LSU’s Arias 6-2, 6-0 on court five for a 2-0 MSU lead. On court six, the freshman Dumont battled to take the first set tiebreaker 7-6(4) and then cruised to victory in the second set, downing the Tigers’ Harrison Kennedy 7-6(4), 6-1, pushing MSU’s lead to 3-0.
LSU’s lone point of the day came on court two, as No. 104 Szacinski upended MSU’s No. 58 Stropp 6-3, 6-4.
The Bulldogs then clinched the match thanks to the work of senior James Chaudry who, after taking a first-set tiebreaker 7-6(6), found his groove in the second, blasting LSU’s Borsos to win 7-6(6), 6-0 and hand the Bulldogs the win.
Play on courts one and four were suspended once the match was clinched, with MSU freshman No. 12 Bogaerts leading 7-6(6), 2-3 against LSU’s No. 51 Simpson at the top spot and LSU’s Mark Bowtell leading MSU’s Angus 7-6(1), 1-3 at No. 4.
“For the past two matches, we have traveled to two of the toughest venues in the Southeastern Conference and come out with wins,” head coach Per Nilsson said. “I’m extremely proud of my guys and now we have to get ready to take on Texas A&M Friday.”
The Bulldogs will close out their regular season this Friday, April 12, in College Station, Texas, as they battle No. 14 Texas A&M. Following Friday’s 6 p.m. CT match with the Aggies, the Bulldogs will prepare for the SEC Championship in Oxford, Miss., to be held April 17-21.
For more information on Mississippi State men’s tennis, follow the Bulldogs on Twitter (www.twitter.com/mstatemt) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mstatemt).
No. 11 Mississippi State 4, No. 20 LSU 1
April 10, 2013 – W.T. “Dub” Robinson Stadium – Baton Rouge, La.
1) No. 12 Bogaerts (MSU) vs. No. 51 Simpson (LSU) 7-6(6), 2-3(susp.)
2) No. 104 Szacinski (LSU) def. No. 58 Stropp (MSU) 6-3, 6-4
3) James Chaudry (MSU) def. Borsos (LSU) 7-6(6), 6-0
4) Mark Bowtell (LSU) vs. Angus (MSU) 7-6(1), 1-3(susp.)
5) White (MSU) def. Arias (LSU) 6-2, 6-0
6) Dumont (MSU) def. Harrison Kennedy (LSU) 7-6(4), 6-1
Order of finish… Doubles (3,1)… Singles (5,6,2,3)