TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama men’s tennis team kicked off its 2011 fall season collecting four wins on Friday, with one coming in doubles and three in singles, at the OFCC Fighting Illini Invitational and the Duke Fab Four Invite.
The Crimson Tide had singles wins from senior Ricky Doverspike and junior Jarryd Botha, who are both competing at the Duke tournament, while sophomore Daniil Proskura earned his win at the OFCC Fighting Illini Invitational. Botha and Doverspike teamed up to provide Alabama with its lone doubles win on the day.
“Daniil registered an impressive win against a very seasoned player, while Ricky and Jarryd also had good outings today,” Alabama head coach Billy Pate said. “It is evident we need to work on doubles and make improvements there. The good thing about fall tournaments is you get a chance to get right back on court the next day and address those areas.”
Botha and Doverspike suffered an 8-5 loss to North Carolina senior Joey Burkhardt and freshman Oystein Steiro in their opening doubles match, but bounced back to get the 8-5 win in the consolation draw against junior Jamie Whiteford and sophomore Ben Guthrie of William & Mary.
At the OFCC Fighting Illini Invitational, both Tide doubles teams dropped their matches on the day with Proskura and freshman Stuart Kenyon falling 8-5 to freshman Wyatt McCoy and senior Sam Keeton of Notre Dame and 8-0 to Fighting Irish sophomore Ryan Bandy and junior Blas Moros. Sophomore Carlos Taborga and freshman Rens van der Vis also took on the Notre Dame teams, where they posted an 8-3 loss to Bandy and Moros and an 8-6 loss to McCoy and Keeton.
In singles, Botha and Doverspike both picked up straight set wins in North Carolina as Botha posted a 6-4, 6-3 win over NC State sophomore Matt Thompson, while Doverspike edged Steiro 7-6(7), 7-5. Senior Michael Thompson also represented the Tide at the Duke Fab Four Invite, falling to Duke’s Raphael Hemmeler 6-3, 6-1.
Proskura had a huge win for Alabama as he took down 28th ranked Casey Watt, a senior from Notre Dame, 7-6(2), 6-2. Kenyon and Taborga each had close matches as Kenyon was edged out by Notre Dame junior Spencer Talmadge 7-6(5), 7-6(4) and Taborga by Keeton 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-2. Van der Vis was forced to retire in his second set as he suffered an injury.
Matches will resume at 8 a.m. on Saturday.