STARKVILLE, Miss. – For the third-straight season, the 10th-ranked Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (17-9) has advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship, shutting out the Austin Peay Governors (17-4) 4-0 in its first-round contest Friday at MSU’s A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
The Bulldogs will now face No. 27 Harvard (a 4-0 winner over No. 63 Samford Friday) Saturday at 1 p.m. CT at the Pitts Tennis Centre for the right to advance to the round of 16 in Champaign, Ill, May 16-21. Saturday’s match will mark the first time an MSU squad in any sport has hosted a Harvard opponent on the Starkville campus.
MSU has now won its opening match in the NCAA Championship for the 14th time in school history and its eighth first-round match since the field expanded to 64 in 1999. With the win, State also improves its record in the NCAA Team Championship to 18-17 all-time.
The Bulldogs opened up play Friday by grabbing the doubles point with nearly simultaneous victories on courts one and three. The 13th-ranked MSU duo of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp defeated APSU’s Jasmin Ademovic and Sean Bailey 8-6 on court one. The MSU duo of Romain Bogaerts and Zach White immediately followed up with an 8-4 victory against the Govs’ Aleksas Tverijonas and John Storie to clinch the doubles point for State.
Play on court two was suspended following the clinch, with the MSU tandem of Pedro Dumont and Ethan Wilkinson leading APSU’s Dimitar Ristovski and Iago Seffrin 7-4.
In singles, State’s victory was spearheaded by two of MSU’s veteran players in Stropp and senior James Chaudry. Stropp, ranked 57th in the nation, dominated APSU’s Ademovic on court two for a 6-2, 6-2 victory. Following the junior’s win, the Govs began to make a push against the Bulldogs on several courts.
MSU’s Dumont found himself down 4-2 in the second set after being broken, but then won four straight games to take the match from the Govs’ Seffrin 6-4, 6-4 on court 6, putting MSU one point away from victory.
The match clincher came from Chaudry on court three, as he broke to go up 4-3 in the second set and holding serve twice from there to take the match and clinch the Bulldog victory 6-4, 6-4 against APSU’s Ristovski.
The MSU junior White was near victory on court five when play was suspended, leading APSU’s Storie 6-3, 6-5, while MSU’s 6th-ranked Bogaerts led the Govs’ Bailey 6-2, 3-3 on court one. The Governors’ Tverijonas led MSU’s Angus 7-6(5), 3-1 on court four when Chaudry clinched.
The victory moved MSU’s all-time record against Austin Peay to 7-0 and 5-0 when at home.
“It’s never easy to take three weeks off and then play an NCAA match and it showed out there today for both teams,” head coach Per Nilsson said. “It took us a while to get going, but once we did I felt really good about our performance. Now we have to get ready for a big second round match tomorrow against Harvard.”
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). Full details and ticket information on the first and second rounds in Starkville can be found at www.HailState.com/NCAAtennis.
No. 10 Mississippi State 4, Austin Peay 0
May 10, 2013 – A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre – Starkville, Miss.
2013 NCAA Team Championship – First Round
1) No. 13 Jordan Angus/Malte Stropp (MSU) def. Jasmin Ademovic/Sean Bailey (APSU) 8-6
2) Pedro Dumont/Ethan Wilkinson (MSU) vs. Dimitar Ristovski/Iago Seffrin (APSU) 7-2(susp.)
3) Romain Bogaerts/Zach White (MSU) def. Aleksas Tverijonas/John Storie (APSU) 8-4
1) No. 6 Bogaerts (MSU) vs. Bailey (APSU) 6-2, 3-3(susp.)
2) No. 57 Stropp (MSU) def. Ademovic (APSU) 6-2, 6-2
3) James Chaudry (MSU) def. Ristovski (APSU) 6-4, 6-4
4) Tverijonas (APSU) vs. Angus (MSU) 7-6(5), 3-1(susp.)
5) White (MSU) def. Storie (APSU) 6-3, 6-5(susp.)
6) Dumont (MSU) def. Seffrin (APSU) 6-4, 6-4
Order of finish… Doubles (1,3)… Singles (2,6,3)