AUBURN - The 31st-ranked Auburn men's tennis team once again saw a home SEC match come down to the final point, but No. 27 Alabama held on to claim a 4-3 decision over the Tigers before one of the biggest crowds in recent memory at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
The Tigers (10-5, 2-3 SEC) have only dropped the doubles point three times this season, but all three times have come in conference play, and all led to 4-3 losses. Alabama (12-5, 3-2 SEC) snapped a three-match losing streak against Auburn with the win.
"Give credit to Alabama, they played a good match today," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "I thought we played hard. We came back, pushed back in singles, but we're still not playing as well as we can and should in doubles. We got off to a good start, but they pushed back. We've got to keep getting better. There's going to be a lot of those matches in the conference. I told the guys that we've got to step up at home next weekend; we need to get a couple of wins in the conference at home. But today is something to build on. We've got to build from it."
The Tigers jumped out early in doubles, getting early breaks on courts one and two, but the Tide fought back and eventually pulled ahead on courts 2 and 3. The 75th-ranked Alabama team of Becker O'Shaughnessey and Daniil Proskura struck first with an 8-6 win over Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso, and the Tide clinched the point with an 8-4 win from Stuart Kenyon and Philippe Tsangarides on court three over Lukas Ollert and Joseph Van Dooren.
For the second time in conference play, third-ranked Andreas Mies and Daniel Cochrane were unable to claim a victory when doubles play was halted after the clinching point. The Auburn duo was leading Alabama's Jarryd Botha and David Vieyra 7-4 and serving for the match when play was suspended.
Alabama maintained a 2-1 lead when matches on courts one and six ended nearly simultaneously. The Tigers got a win from 46th-ranked Mies on at the No. 1 spot over 58th-ranked Botha, 6-4, 6-3, but just seconds later, Van Dooren fell to Kenyon at No. 6 singles, 6-4, 6-3. The Tide increased its lead to 3-1 as Proskura defeated 86th-ranked Cochrane at the second singles slot, 6-3, 6-3.
But as they have done in their previous two SEC home matches, the Tigers fought back. Lengsfeld held off a late charge from Tsangarides at the No. 4 singles spot for a 6-4, 6-4 win, and Lopasso fought off two set points in a second-set tiebreak and held on for a 6-4, 7-6 (6) win over Vieyra on court five.
It all came down to a battle between 79th-ranked O'Shaughnessey and 85th-ranked Ollert at the No. 3 singles spot. O'Shaughnessey claimed the first set with a 7-3 tiebreak win, but Ollert sent it to a third with a 6-4 win in the second. However, O'Shaughnessey was too much in the third, getting up an early break and pulling away for a 6-1 clinching victory.
The Tigers will be back in action next weekend for two more Southeastern Conference home matches. The South Carolina Gamecocks visit the Yarbrough Tennis Center next Friday at 2 p.m., and the Florida Gators will come calling at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Auburn Men's Tennis Results
March 16, 2013
Yarbrough Tennis Center - Auburn, Ala.
#27 Alabama 4, #31 Auburn 3
1. #46 Andreas Mies (AU) def. #58 Jarryd Botha (UA), 6-4, 6-3
2. Daniil Proskura (UA) def. #86 Daniel Cochrane (AU), 6-3, 6-3
3. #79 Becker O'Shaughnessey (UA) def. #85 Lukas Ollert (AU), 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1
4. Dennis Lengsfeld (AU) def. Philippe Tsangarides (UA), 6-4, 6-4
5. Lucas Lopasso (AU) def. David Vieyra (UA), 6-4, 7-6 (6)
6. Stuart Kenyon (UA) def. Joseph Van Dooren (AU), 6-4, 6-3
Order of finish: 1, 6, 2, 4, 5, 3
1. #3 Daniel Cochrane/Andreas Mies (AU) vs. #72 Jarryd Botha/David Vieyra (UA), 7-4 unfinished
2. #75 Becker O'Shaughnessey/Daniil Proskura (UA) def. Dennis Lengsfeld/Lucas Lopasso (AU), 8-6
3. Stuart Kenyon/Philippe Tsangarides (UA) def. Lukas Ollert/Joseph Van Dooren (AU), 8-4
Order of finish: 2, 3
Auburn 10-5, 2-3 SEC; National ranking #31
Alabama 12-5, 3-2 SEC; National ranking #27
T - 3:26