OXFORD, Miss. - - The No. 32 ranked University of Memphis men's tennis team (15-7) advanced to the NCAA Second Round with a 4-0 win over No. 38 BYU (21-7) in NCAA First Round Action at Ole Miss, Friday.
The match was moved indoors as the rain kept the Palmer/Salloum Tennis courts unplayable for the noon start. But the change in venue did not slow down the Tigers. For an eighth straight match, Memphis won the doubles point, using victories at No. 1 and No. 2 to go up 1-0 in the match.
The Tigers had to adjust to a lineup without C-USA Player of the Year Connor Glennon, who suffered a wrist injury two weeks ago. Memphis had the same number one duo of Joe Salisbury and David O'Hare who used an 8-6 win at No. 1 to seal the doubles point, but moved the normal number three duo of Lukas Vrnak and Johnny Grimal up to number two. That tandem responded with the first victory of the day for Memphis, winning 8-3. The number three team of David O'Leary and Glennon's normal doubles partner, Cedric De Zutter, were also standing strong when the match was decided, knotted at seven-all. Moving up was the theme of the day for the Tigers, who got wins at one, two and three singles from players that have normally played spots two thru four in the line-up.
Grimal, who had the deciding point in the last two Memphis victories in the C-USA semifinals and finals, was the first one through the singles competition this time, made quick work of Andrey Goryachkov, 6-2, 6-0, at number three to put Memphis up 2-0.
Salisbury was next in the win column, picking up a 7-5, 6-4 win at No. 1 to set up freshman Lukas Vrnak's third set heroics.
Playing number two singles for the first time in his collegiate career, Vrnak had his hands full with BYU's Keaton Cullimore, who happily traded long baseline rallies with Vrnak. The tandem ended up going to a first set tiebreak, which was won by Cullimore, and Cullimore jumped out to a quick 3-0 start in the second before Vrnak sought treatment from the Tigers' athletic trainer. Treatment worked, as Vrnak stormed back to win six straight games to win the second set 6-3. He then found himself down 3-2 in the third set before he mounted yet another comeback with a break and a hold to take a 4-3 lead. He closed out his win at No. 2 and the team's 4-0 victory with a 6-3 third set victory.
Memphis now awaits the winner of the Ole Miss/Lehigh match. That match was delayed as heavy rains rolled through Oxford right at the match's appointed 3 p.m. start time. The Tigers will face the winner of that match at 2 p.m., Saturday, at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center.