May 11, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The 19th-ranked Vanderbilt men's tennis team suffered a heart-breaking 4-3 loss to the No. 16 Columbia Lions in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Tournament, Sunday at the Currey Tennis Center.
The loss ends Vanderbilt's season with an overall record of 17-11. With the win Columbia advances to Athens, Ga. for the round of 16 and will face No. 1 overall seed Southern Cal.
The Commodores came out with a lot of energy, taking the doubles point, earning wins at No. 1 and No. 2.
With doubles at one a piece, the No. 2's kept the match on serve forcing at tiebreak at 7-all. Vandy's team of Ryan Smith and Suresh Eswaran locked in during the tiebreak and ran away with it, clinching the point with a 7-2 breaker win.
Despite the outcome, the match between the 19th-ranked Commdores and 16th-ranked Lions lived up to expectations - a grinder.
Vandy and Columbia split first sets, with the `Dores earning first set wins at one, two and three.
Kris Yee's first set win was huge for the Dores, as it brought some of the momentum that Columbia back on the side of the Commodores.
Prior to Yee's 7-5 first set win, the `Dores dropped matches at both five and six, giving Columbia a 2-1 advantage. Eswaran fell 6-4, 6-3 at No. 5, while Smith couldn't hold off CU's Mike Vermeer to force a split, also falling in straights one and five.
With the match at 2-1, Lipman earned a 6-3, 7-6 (2) win at No. 2 over Schnur. Lipman's performance was his final one in front of the Currey faithful and was career win No. 94, positioning him just five behind the VU record of 99. Lipman also sits just two wins shy of the career combined wins record, he currently has 170 total wins.
Johnson, playing at the No. 4 position needed to force a third set after falling 7-6 (4) in the first but it was Columbia's Narayana who was able to fend the Aussie off winning it 6-4 in the second. The win put the Lions up 3-2, setting up the clinch and a trip to their first ever Sweet 16.
With the match still in the balance, Yee was at 3-all in the second and Austin was trailing 1-5 in the third set to No. 17 Winston Lin.
Austin was able to rattle of three straight games and keep the match alive long enough for Yee to pick up the 7-5, 6-3 win at No. 3.
The hole was too much to overcome.
The Vandy junior faced three match points with Lin serving in the 10th game, but he could only fend off two before the Ivy League Player of the Year put the match away 6-4 in the third.
Despite the disappointing home loss Vanderbilt has had much to hang its hat on this season. It started with the first win over Tennessee since 2006. That was then followed up by wins over Florida and Georgia, both firsts since 2004. The Commodores also earned a trip to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the first time in 10 years.
With the team's season over the Commodores will look to have runs from Austin and Lipman at the singles and doubles championships in a week. Both players will compete as at-large selections in the singles tournament and will pair up as the No. 3 overall seed in the doubles championship.
The 2014 Singles and Doubles Championships begins on May 21 in Athens, Ga. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia.
#16 Columbia 4, #19 Vanderbilt 3
1. #17 Winston Lin (CU) def. #21 Gonzales Austin (VU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
2. #59 Ryan Lipman (VU) def. Max Schnur (CU) 6-3, 7-6 (7-2)
3. Kris Yee (VU) def. Dragos Ignat (CU) 7-5, 6-3
4. Ashok Narayana (CU) def. Rhys Johnson (VU) 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
5. Bert Vancura (CU) def. Suresh Eswaran (VU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Mike Vermeer (CU) def. Ryan Smith (VU) 6-1, 7-5
1. #4 Gonzales Austin/Ryan Lipman (VU) def. #12 Ashok Narayana/Max Schnur (CU) 8-4
2. Suresh Eswaran/Ryan Smith (VU) def. Bert Vancura/Richard Pham (CU) 8-7 (7-2)
3. Winston Lin/Mike Vermeer (CU) def. Rhys Johnson/Pen Binet (VU) 8-2
Columbia 22-1; National ranking #16
Vanderbilt 17-11; National ranking #19
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (5,6,2,4,3,1)
NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament
Columbia advances to the Sweet 16