Tigers Fall to No. 13 Kentucky in 4-3 Loss
March 29, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - The No. 22 Auburn men's tennis team (10-6, 3-3 SEC) took a down-to-the-wire 4-3 loss against No. 13 Kentucky (13-5, 3-3 SEC) Sunday afternoon at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
The Tigers started slowly by dropping the doubles point, but rebounded in singles action to bring the decision down to a tie-break on court one. Auburn faced a 3-0 deficit late in singles play, but found wins on courts two, four and five to even the match.
Starting the afternoon, the Wildcats took the doubles point as they swept the three match-ups. The sweep was the first for the Tigers this season, and only the fourth time this season that they were unable to take the early point.
The Cats took the advantage after Graeme Dyce and Eric Quigley topped Auburn's two-spot pair of Lukas Marsoun and Alex Stamchev, 8-3. Clinching the point for Kentucky were Alberto Gonzalez and Alex Musialek with their 8-5 win on court three over Milan Krnjetin and Michel Monteiro.
"We didn't have good energy in doubles," head coach Eric Shore said. "We've been very good there all year, and we just didn't bring enough energy today."
In singles, the Wildcats built their lead as No. 111 Quigley beat Auburn's Marsoun on court three, 6-3, 6-2. Next up was Gonzalez with his 6-1, 6-3 win over Alex Petropoulos on court six.
With Kentucky only one point away from clinching the match, No. 44 Tsyrenov stepped up to make Auburn's first mark. The senior took a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Cox, Kentucky's two-seed. Tsyrenov finished the weekend with two SEC wins to even his conference record at 3-3.
The Tigers found another singles win as Stamchev downed Musialek, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), bringing the score to 3-2 in Kentucky's favor. The freshman has won 11 of his past 12 match-ups.
"Stamchev has done a great job coming in as a freshman," Shore stated. "He took down a very good player at four today and he's given us a great lift in that position."
Senior Krnjetin brought the match to a standstill at three apiece with his 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 victory over Dyce on court five. With all eyes on center court, the continuation of the match came down to a tie-break, with No. 5 Agostinelli emerging with the 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) win over No. 106 Puetz.
"If we can tighten up the energy in doubles and not play loose on some points, then we'll get over the hump because we're very close to beating those top 15 teams," Shore noted. "We're moving in the right direction."
The loss brings the Tigers to 10-6 overall and 3-3 in SEC competition, while the Wildcats improve to 13-5, 3-3 SEC.
Next up for the Tigers will be No. 3 Georgia, who the team will face in Athens on Friday. Auburn will then travel to Knoxville to take on No. 5 Tennessee to finish the weekend.
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