April 24, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - Despite a hot start in day two of the Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Tournament, the 19th-ranked Auburn men's tennis team was unable to hold the momentum during their 4-1 loss to defending NCAA champion Georgia.
The second round loss drops the Tigers to 13-10 on the season, while Georgia improves to 22-2.
"We played good today but tomorrow as a team we need to play a little bit better," said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. "At the end of the day we made the tough adjustments."
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.
Auburn started the day on a high note, taking the doubles point by storm. Seeing action in the top-spot for the Tigers, Lukas Marsoun and Alex Stamchev topped the fourth-ranked duo of Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg, 8-6. Clinching the point for Auburn was Alexey Tsyrenov and Alex Petropoulos, who rallied to defeat Drake Bernstein and Javier Garrapiz, 8-6.
On court three, the match-up between Georgia's Borja Malo and Christian Vitulli and Auburn's three-spot pair of Milan Krnjetin and Michel Monteiro went unfinished as Auburn had already taken the point.
Moving into singles play, the Tigers were unable to keep the heat. Georgia quickly evened the match with their win on court six as Monteiro fell to Christian Vitulli, 6-2, 6-0. Finding another Bulldog win was No.
66 Javier Garrapiz, topping Auburn's Marsoun, 6-3, 6-0.
The Bulldogs pulled within one of the win when sophomore Drake Bernstein defeated Petropoulos on court five, 6-4, 6-3.
Giving Georgia the match was No. 11 Nate Schnugg, who came from behind to defeat No. 34 Tsyrenov, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.
"I lost to Alexey Tsyrenov in the regular season, so coming in it was a little tough for me to play him," Schnugg mentioned. "After the first set, I served better and returned better. I ended up coming away with the win, but it could have definitely gone either way."
When the Bulldogs took the win, Auburn freshman Stamchev was leading No. 78 Jamie Hunt, 7-5, 4-4, and senior Krnjetin was locked in the third set against Josh Varela after a 6-3, 4-6, 1-1 start.
Auburn was still playing without sophomore Tim Puetz, who is sitting out because of injury.
"We did a good job on doubles, but you have to give it to Georgia," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "They came back in singles and played hard and getting the four points to win. They are number three in the country and are a good team."
The win lands the fourth-ranked Bulldogs in the Semi Finals against the six-ranked Tennessee Volunteers. The match will take place at 3 p.m., Saturday at the Yarbrough Tennis Center. In the morning match, Ole Miss will take on Florida at 11 a.m.
In other second-round action, No. 1 seed Ole Miss defeated No. 8 LSU, 4-2, and No. 4 seed Florida topped No. 5 seed Alabama, 4-3. Finishing the day, No. 3 seed Tennessee beat No. 6 seed Kentucky
For more information on the 2009 SEC Tournament, check out the Tournament Central web page at www.AuburnTigers.com.