April 22, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - After wrapping up its regular season on Saturday, Vanderbilt's 57th-ranked men's tennis team will begin postseason play on Thursday at 11 a.m. when it faces No. 13 Alabama in the first round of the SEC Tournament at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
Vanderbilt (5-16, 1-10 SEC) is seeded 12th in the tournament, while Alabama (19-6, 7-4 SEC) is seeded fifth. The winner of Thursday's match will face fourth-seeded Florida in the quarterfinals at 11 a.m. Friday.
Last season, the Commodores earned the No. 8 seed and defeated ninth-seeded Arkansas, 4-3, in the first round. It was Vanderbilt's first win in the SEC Tournament since 2003. The Commodores then lost, 4-2, in the quarterfinals to eventual national champion Georgia.
Thursday's meeting will be the second of the season between the two programs. On March 29th, Alabama defeated Vanderbilt, 6-1, in Tuscaloosa. Earning Vanderbilt's lone point was Vijay Paul, who defeated No. 76 Mathieu Thibaudeau in the No. 2 singles position.
The Commodores are 0-5 all-time as the 12th seed. The last time Vanderbilt was seeded 12th was in 2002. Vanderbilt is 0-3 all-time against Alabama in the SEC Tournament with the last meeting coming in 1999.
Alabama has two players ranked in singles: No. 22 Saketh Myneni and No. 87 Mathieu Thibaudeau. Thibaudeau also teams with Daniel Buikema and Ricky Doverspike to form the 26th-ranked and 49th-ranked duos, respectively.
After dropping three consecutive matches, Alabama finished the season by defeating South Carolina and Auburn. Vanderbilt has lost four straight matches, but has won the doubles point in three of its last five.
Vanderbilt's match against the Crimson Tide will be one of two matches that open the 2009 SEC Tournament. Ninth-seeded South Carolina and eighth-seeded LSU will also play at 11 a.m.
The top four seeds are No. 1 Ole Miss, No. 2 Georgia, No. 3 Tennessee and No. 4 Florida.