STARKVILLE, Miss. - Battling its third-consecutive top 25 opponent, the No. 13 Mississippi State men's tennis squad (12-5, 2-3 SEC) dropped a tight match to No. 23 Vanderbilt (12-4, 3-1 SEC) 4-3 at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre Friday afternoon.
State will conclude its four-match homestand Sunday afternoon as the Bulldogs welcome No. 10 Kentucky, a 4-1 upset winner at No. 4 Ole Miss Friday, to Starkville. Start time is set for 1 p.m. CT.
Vanderbilt jumped ahead early Friday by taking the doubles point with victories on courts two and three. VU's Rhys Johnson and Jeff Offerdahl defeated MSU's Romain Bogaerts and Pedro Dumont on court three 8-4, while the Vandy duo of Gonzales Austin and Suresh Eswaran took an 8-6 victory against State's Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson on court two to clinch the doubles point. Play on court one was suspended as MSU's No. 14 tandem of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp were leading Vandy's Ryan Lipman and Marc van der Merwe 7-6.
The Bulldogs fired back in singles play with victories on courts four, two and three. After a lengthy game early in the match, MSU senior James Chaudry dropped only one game in his match on court four, cruising past VU's van der Merwe 6-1, 6-0 to get the Bulldogs on the board.
State's 59th-ranked Stropp followed Chaudry's performance with another victory for MSU, defeating No. 54 Austin of Vanderbilt 6-0, 7-6(5) at No. 2. On court three, the MSU freshman Angus earned his team-leading 13th win of the spring, defeating VU's Offerdahl 6-3, 6-3, putting State up 3-1.
But Vandy answered back with three straight wins of its own to steal the match from the Bulldogs. First was a 6-3, 6-3 victory from No. 19 Lipman against MSU's No. 19 Bogaerts on court one. The equalizer came when VU's Kris Yee defeated MSU's White 6-2, 7-5 on court five.
The match then came down to court six, where MSU freshman Stefan Vinti and Vanderbilt freshman Johnson battled into a deciding third set. The two went back-and-forth until Vinti earned a late break to go ahead 6-5. However, Johnson would break back to force a tiebreaker. Johnson would go on to take the match and clinch the Commodores victory 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(1).
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No. 23 Vanderbilt 4, No. 13 Mississippi State 3
March 15, 2013 - A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre - Starkville, Miss.
1) No. 14 Jordan Angus/Malte Stropp (MSU) vs. Ryan Lipman/Marc van der Merwe (VU) 7-6(susp.)
2) Gonzales Austin/Suresh Eswaran (VU) def. Zach White/Ethan Wilkinson (MSU) 8-6
3) Rhys Johnson/Jeff Offerdahl (VU) def. Romain Bogaerts/Pedro Dumont (MSU) 8-4
1) No. 19 Lipman (VU) def. No. 18 Bogaerts (MSU) 6-3, 6-3
2) No. 59 Stropp (MSU) def. No. 54 Austin (VU) 6-0, 7-6(5)
3) Angus (MSU) def. Offerdahl (VU) 6-3, 6-3
4) James Chaudry (MSU) def. van der Merwe (VU) 6-1, 6-0
5) Kris Yee (VU) def. White (MSU) 6-2, 7-5
6) Johnson (VU) def. Stefan Vinti (MSU) 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(1)
Order of finish... Doubles (3,2)... Singles (4,2,3,1,5,6)