Men's tennis edged by No. 4 UT
April 12, 2009
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - For the second match in a row, Vanderbilt's men's tennis team battled a top-five opponent to the wire. After losing to No. 5 Georgia by one point on Friday, the Commodores gave No. 4 Tennessee all it could handle on Sunday before falling to the Vols, 4-3, at the Currey Tennis Center.
Sunday's match concluded what was as hard of a stretch as any team in the country will face this season. The Volunteers (19-4, 8-2 SEC) were the third straight top-five opponent No. 52 Vanderbilt (5-15, 1-9 SEC) has faced. Vanderbilt previously faced No. 2 Ole Miss and No. 5 Georgia. In two of the three matches, Vanderbilt lost by just one point. Eight of the team's 15 losses have now been by one point.
Tennessee was able to jump out to a 2-0 advantage in the match by taking the doubles point and first completed singles match in the No. 1 position. Vanderbilt had won the doubles point in two of the last three matches.
With work to do, the Commodores quickly began to chip into Tennessee's lead. First it was freshman Alex DiValerio, who defeated Christopher Williams, 6-2, 6-4, in the No. 6 singles position. DiValerio's win gave Vanderbilt its first point and moved his record to 5-2 in dual play and 3-1 in the SEC.
Vanderbilt evened the match at two when Alex Zotov topped Tennessee's Christian Hansen, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2), in the No. 5 position. Zotov faced set point in the second set before coming back to earn the win. The win was Zotov's 17th of the season, tying him with Charlie Jones for the team lead.
Tennessee was able to regain the lead for a brief moment when No. 33 Boris Conkic defeated Vanderbilt's Bryant Salcedo, 7-6 (7-2), 6-0, in the No. 2 position. Early on the match looked as if it would be all Salcedo as he took a 4-0 lead in the first set before Conkic came firing back.
Less than five minutes after Tennessee took a 3-2 lead, the Commodores tied things back up at three when Adam Baker overcame a one-set deficit to defeat Matt Brewer, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, in the No. 4 position.
Unfortunately for Vanderbilt, as Baker was putting the final touches on his win, Tennessee was edging closer to the overall match win. In the No. 3 position Vanderbilt senior Nick Cromydas was in a tight battle with Matteo Fago. Fago took the first set, 7-5, and was leading, 3-2, in the second set when he broke Cromydas' serve and took the remaining games to win the set, 6-2, and clinch the overall match, 4-3.
Vanderbilt will conclude its regular season next Saturday when the Commodores host No. 14 Kentucky at the Currey Tennis Center.
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