Alabama rolls over Tulane at home match

CW Staff

The No. 19 Alabama men’s tennis team qualified for the 2010 ITA National Indoor Championships after defeating No. 23 Arizona and No. 18 Duke. The Tide’s win in their match against Tulane Sunday moved them to 3-1, while the Green Wave will now move to 2-2.

“(We thought) it’s going to be tough playing at home in this weather,” said senior Saketh Myneni. “It’s a trap game, like we call it, because we are coming right off a win. I thought the team did pretty well and came back on top.”

Alabama won all of their matches in doubles against Tulane. Myneni and freshman Jarrod Botha both broke at 2-2, 4-2, 6-2 in the No. 1 doubles, defeating Tulane’s sophomore Shaye Wali and freshman Joe Young with a final score of 8-2.

The Green Wave was not able to stop the Tide in the No. 2 doubles, either, after sophomore Michael Davis and sophomore Michael Thompson won a 2-2, 5-5 over freshman Adam Bernstein who broke at 4-5 and freshman Rodrigo Rappaccioli. The final score of the No. 2 doubles match was 8-5. In the No. 3 doubles match, senior Houssam Yassine and junior Trey Walston won 8-3 against Tulane’s freshmen Trevor Getz and Etham Frenkel.

“It was a good win for us today against Tulane, which is definitely a program that is back on the rise,” said head coach Billy Pate. “We put up a good fight. I think we had a little bit of an advantage with our experience, but I think the guys handled it well.”

The Tide’s singles overcame the Green Wave at the match as well. No. 1 singles Myneni—who is individually ranked No. 62 in the nation—started off 5-0 in the first set and eventually finished off the match against Young 6-1, 6-1. In the No. 2 singles match, No. 123 Thompson had an early break 5-2 against Tulane’s Wali, finishing with a 6-2, 6-2 victory. No. 3 singles Botha also defeated the Green Wave’s Bernstein 6-2, 6-1 and No. 4 singles Davis had the Tide’s only loss to Rappaccioli in a super tiebreaker 2-6, 7-6 (3), 1-0 (3). No. 5 singles Yassine also squared away Kramer-Golinkoff 6-2, 6-0, while No. 6 singles Blanchard ended his match against Getz in a super tiebreaker 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (8).

“It’s hard to point out one person, but today was more a matter of them taking care of business on their perspective courts,” Pate said. “I was really happy with the top two, Saketh at No. 1 and Thompson at No. 2. Thompson had a really top matchup, but he played well. He got up early, and had a good battle.”

The Tide’s (3-1) next opponent will be No. 2 Virginia (4-1) in Charlottesville, as the Cavaliers host the 2010 ITA National Team Indoor Championships at the Boar’s Head Sports Club. The No. 15 seed Alabama will play the No. 2 seed Virginia on Feb. 12 at 5 p.m.

“(The match) will definitely help us next week in playing against Virginia, which is top two in the nation,” Myneni said. “It’s going to be a good contest playing at their place. We are going to be the underdogs, so we have to step up one more step and then go through with it.”