April 21, 2010
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After concluding its regular season at Kentucky on Sunday, Vanderbilt's 32nd-ranked men's tennis team will make the trek back to Kentucky for a second straight week when it opens postseason play at 11 a.m. CT Thursday against at the 2010 SEC Tournament.
Seeded No. 7, Vanderbilt (13-9, 5-6 SEC) will play No. 10 Mississippi State (9-11, 2-8 SEC) in the first round with the winner advancing to play second-seeded Florida at 11 a.m. CT on Friday. The 2010 SEC Tournament will be played at the Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Ky.
Vanderbilt has won three straight matches against 52nd-ranked Mississippi State. On March 7, the Commodores built a 3-1 lead over the Bulldogs before posting a 5-2 win. In that match, the Commodores won the doubles point and got singles wins from Ryan Lipman (No. 1), Vijay Paul (No. 3), Alex Zotov (No. 4) and Alex DiValerio (No. 6). The Commodores' last loss to Mississippi State was at the 2007 SEC Tournament, where the eighth-seeded Commodores lost to ninth-seeded Mississippi State, 4-0.
The Commodores have lost two straight matches in the SEC Tournament after losing to Alabama in the first round last season and Georgia in the quarterfinals in 2008. Vanderbilt's last SEC Tournament win was a 4-3 victory against Arkansas in 2008.
Winners of three of its last four matches, Vanderbilt enters the SEC Tournament with its highest seed since 2004. Vanderbilt's five SEC wins are also the most it has had since 2004. Vanderbilt is 0-1 all-time as the No. 7 seed in the SEC Tournament.
Vanderbilt is led by freshman Ryan Lipman, who is ranked 32nd nationally and is 6-5 in SEC play in the No. 1 singles slot. Both Adam Baker and Vijay Paul finished the regular season with five SEC wins. Alex Zotov paces the squad with a 23-9 record in singles and finished SEC play with four wins.
Vanderbilt has won the doubles point in all 13 of its wins. Just once this season has Vanderbilt won the doubles point and not gone on to win the overall match. Leading Vanderbilt in doubles is its No. 1 duo of Baker and Zotov, who entered the rankings this week at No. 61. Lipman and Bryant Salcedo finished league play with a 7-3 record in the No. 2 position and Alex DiValerio and Paul finished 6-2 in the No. 3 position.
Mississippi State has two players ranked in singles. Louis Cant is ranked No. 62 and George Coupland is ranked No. 109. Mississippi State's doubles team of Coupland and Artem Ilyushin is ranked No. 35.
2010 SEC Men's Tennis Tournament Schedule
Thursday, April 22
8 a.m. Match 1: #11 Arkansas vs. #6 Auburn
11 a.m. Match 2: #10 Mississippi State vs. #7 Vanderbilt
2 p.m. Match 3: #12 South Carolina vs. #5 Ole Miss
5 p.m. Match 4: #9 LSU vs. #8 Alabama
Friday, April 23
8 a.m. Match 5: Winner Match 1 vs. #3 Georgia
11 a.m. Match 6: Winner Match 2 vs. #2 Florida
2 p.m. Match 7: Winner Match 3 vs. #4 Kentucky
5 p.m. Match 8: Winner Match 4 vs. #1 Tennessee
Saturday, April 24
9 a.m. Match 9: Winner Match 5 vs. Winner Match 6
12 p.m. Match 10: Winner Match 7 vs. Winner Match 8
Sunday, April 25
12 p.m. Match 11: Winner Match 9 vs. Winner Match 10
All times central and subject to change.