MT loses another nail-biter, 4-3
March 15, 2009
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -For the second match in a row, Vanderbilt's men's tennis team saw its 3-2 lead evaporate as No. 53 Arkansas rallied to top 39th-ranked Vanderbilt, 4-3, on Sunday in what was Vanderbilt's first home outdoor match of the season at the Currey Tennis Center.
Vanderbilt (4-10, 0-4 SEC) got wins from Alex DiValerio, Charlie Jones and Alex Zotov in singles play, but it was not enough to hold off the Razorbacks (7-7, 1-3 SEC), who dealt the Commodores their eighth straight loss. Vanderbilt held a 3-2 lead over No. 41 LSU on Friday.
The match marked the third straight time the two schools have played within one point of each other. Arkansas won the regular season meeting, 4-3, in the Fayetteville last year before the Commodores topped Arkansas by the same score in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Six of Vanderbilt's 10 losses this season have been by one point, while the other four have been by two points.
Vanderbilt won the first completed doubles match in the No. 3 position when Vijay Paul and Charlie Jones defeated Tyler Tarnasky and Taylor King, 8-6, for their first win of the season, but it wasn't enough to win the doubles point.
Arkansas' Dmitry Lebedev and Chris Nott evened the doubles match with a 9-8 (10-8) win over No. 30 Adam Baker and Alex Zotov. After trailing 6-3 in the tiebreaker, Vanderbilt's duo evened the score at six and were tied at eight before Arkansas won the final two points to claim the match.
Arkansas clinched the doubles point when No. 60 Blake Strode and Matt Hogan defeated Vanderbilt's 58th-ranked duo of Bryant Salcedo and Nick Cromydas, 8-6. The match was destined for a tiebreaker before Arkansas broke Vanderbilt's serve to clinch the doubles point. It was the sixth straight match Vanderbilt has lost the doubles point.
In singles play, Vanderbilt's Alex Zotov evened the overall match at one when he earned his fifth straight win, defeating Tyler Tarnasky, 6-4, 6-0, in the No. 5 singles position. The win moved Zotov's record to 14-7 overall and 8-3 in dual play.
Shortly after Zotov's win Arkansas was able to regain the lead when Chris Nott defeated Vanderbilt's Vijay Paul, 6-4, 6-3, in the No. 2 position.
The Commodores tied the match at two when Charlie Jones earned his first-career win in the No. 4 position. After cruising to a 6-1 win in the first set against Dmitry Lebedev, Jones fell behind 2-0 in the second set before rallying for a 7-6 (9-7) win. Jones had multiple chances at match point when leading the set 6-5 and finally finished Lebedev on his third match point of the tiebreaker.
With the match tied, Vanderbilt took its first lead of the match when Alex DiValerio rallied from one set down to top Arkansas' Bradwin Williams, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, in the No. 6 position. The win came in DiValerio's first SEC match of his career and moved his record to 3-1 this spring.
Arkansas evened the match at three when No. 15 Blake Strode defeated Vanderbilt's Nick Cromydas in three sets, 6-2, 0-6, 6-3, in the No. 1 position.
The Razorbacks were then able to clinch the overall match when 120th-ranked Matt Hogan topped Vanderbilt's Adam Baker, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-3, in the No. 3 position.
Vanderbilt will have next week off and will return to the courts March 27 when Auburn visits the Currey Tennis Center. It will be the second meeting of the season between the two schools. Auburn defeated Vanderbilt, 4-3, on Jan. 31 at the ITA National Kick-off Weekend in Boise, Idaho.
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