April 17, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - The No. 18 men's tennis team will bring its regular season to a close Saturday afternoon with Senior Day as they hold their final dual match of the year against No. 15 Alabama at the Yarbrough Tennis Center at 5 p.m.
The match will serve as the final home dual match for the Auburn seniors: Milan Krnjetin, Lukas Marsoun, Hunter Mills, Alex Petropoulos and Alexey Tsyrenov. The five will be honored during the match with senior ceremonies and promotions.
The Tigers will be fighting for second place in the Western Division as they hold a 12-8 (5-5 SEC) record going into the match, while Alabama has the upper-hand with an 18-6 (6-4 SEC) mark.
Auburn made its largest jump of the season in the ITA rankings, moving from 27 to 18 after a weekend full of victories. The Tigers took two wins as they topped then-No. 24 South Carolina and No. 10 Florida.
During their Friday win over the Gamecocks, Auburn swept the doubles play and did not let up in singles action. The Tigers took five of the six singles match-ups to walk away with the 6-1 win, the team's greatest margin of victory since Feb. 6.
The Tigers then rode the momentum into their Sunday match against No. 10 Florida. After clinching the doubles point, Auburn fell behind, 3-1, in singles competition. With the match on the line, senior Alexey Tsyrenov and sophomore Tim Puetz each stepped up to bring the match within reach, taking their singles match-ups on courts one and two, respectively. The match came down to a court six match-up, with Auburn senior Milan Krnjetin fighting through an injured ankle to take the third-set tiebreaker and the match point. The 4-3 win over the Gators was the Tigers first win of the season over a top-10 opponent.
Going into the match, Tsyrenov checks in as the No. 35 singles player in the ITA rankings with his 9-8 (6-4 SEC) record, while Puetz claims the No. 118 spot and a 13-5 (6-4 SEC) record. In doubles, the two team up to form the No. 10 duo in the nation. They are 14-3 (6-3 SEC) when playing together in doubles on the front court. Behind the top-seed pair, Auburn's second doubles team of Lukas Marsoun and Alex Stamchev are 13-5 (6-4 SEC) on the season, providing an effective one-two punch for the team.
On the other side of the courts, the No. 15 Alabama team is coming off of a split weekend. On Friday, the Tide fell, 5-2, to the Gators, but rebounded to take a 4-0 win over South Carolina.
When playing on the road, Alabama is 5-3 (3-2 SEC). The team boasts two nationally ranked singles players, No. 24 Saketh Myneni (12-7, 6-4 SEC) and No. 75 Mathieu Thibaudeau (12-8, 6-3 SEC). In doubles play, Thibaudeau teams with Dan Buikema to form the No. 33 pair, and also ranks as the No. 59 duo when playing alongside Ricky Doverspike. The Tide's two-seed doubles pair of Myneni and Billy Mertz rank as the No. 83 duo.
The series between the two teams favors the Tide, as they hold a 54-29-1 record in the rivalry. The Tigers have not defeated Alabama since 2004 and have not taken a home victory against the Tide since 2003.
The match is set to begin at 5 p.m. at the Yarbrough Tennis Center with promotions, such as t-shirts, free tennis balls and food in between singles and doubles play. Senior Day will be celebrated during the match with a special ceremony.
Attendance to all home matches is free. Fans that are unable to attend the match may follow along with live stats at AuburnTigers.com