April 23, 2009
AUBURN - Auburn senior Alexey Tsyrenov came from behind in his No. 1 singles match at the 2009 Southeastern Conference Tournament, downing Mississippi State's Ryan Farlow to give the 19th-ranked Tigers a 4-1 victory and a meeting with defending NCAA champion Georgia in the second round.
The win brings the Tigers to 13-9 on the season while No. 63 Mississippi State falls to 6-15.
The 2009 SEC Men's Tennis Tournament is a four-day tournament hosted by Auburn University at the Auburn University/City of Auburn Yarbrough Tennis Center. One of the toughest tennis leagues in the country, the SEC features seven teams currently ranked in the top-25 in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
"I thought we just out-competed them today and we needed to do that today after losing to them earlier in the year," head coach Eric Shore said. "I was proud of our guys for what they did."
Playing without sophomore Tim Puetz, Auburn was forced to shift its lineup and place some players in new positions.
The Tigers started off rolling by taking the doubles point with wins at Nos. 1 and 2 singles. Playing in the No. 1 spot for the first time this season, the team of Lukas Marsoun and Alex Stamchev downed MSU's Tanner Stump and Christpher Doerr, 8-6.
Also playing in a new spot for the first time, the No. 2 team of Milan Krnjetin and Michel Monteiro picked up an 8-4 win over Antonio Lastre and Daniel Sanchez, 8-4. The No. 3 team of Alexey Tsyrenov and Alex Petropoulos was ahead 8-7 in their match over Artem Ilyushing and Louis Cant, but the match was called after the Tigers won the point.
"It gives you a little more motivation," Shore said. "But when your number two guy (Puetz) comes out of the match an hour before, it puts that doubt in your mind but these guys stepped up and ran with it. They did a great job and I was impressed with that."
In singles play, it was Doerr tying up the match for the Bulldogs as he picked up a quick, 6-0, 6-2 win over Montiero.
But, it would be the last time Mississippi State would be that close as Auburn won the next three matches for the victory.
Freshman Stamchev started the Auburn run as he made quick work of Louis Cant, 6-1, 6-3, on court three. Marsoun then put the Tigers within one point of the win with his 6-2, 7-6 (4) win against No. 93-ranked Artem Ilyushin. Both Stamchev and Marsoun saw their first matches of the season on courts three and two, respectively.
Auburn's top-spot Tsyrenov finished off the Tigers' surge and put on a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 comeback performance, downing No. 95 Ryan Farlow. The win clinched the match for Auburn.
"The conditions in the first set were very tough for me," Tsyrenov said. "In the second set, he started missing a little bit and I changed my plan. I found my game and kept it going to the end."
Tsyrenov's win placed the Tigers in the second round of the SEC tournament, where they will face the defending NCAA champions of Georgia. The match is set to begin at 3 p.m. on Friday at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
In other action during the first day of the SEC Tournament, No. 5 seed Alabama downed No. 12 seed Vanderbilt, 4-0, while eighth-seeded LSU downed No. 9 seed South Carolina, 4-2. Rounding out the day was No. 6 seed Kentucky going late for a 4-2 win over No. 11 seed Arkansas.
For more information on the 2009 SEC Tournament, check out the Tournament Central web page at www.AuburnTigers.com.