SEC Men's Tennis Weekly Honors - March 31, 2021
Player of the Week: Giles Hussey was a perfect 3-0-a whisker away from being 4-0-this weekend in helping the Vols grab a pair of SEC wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky. On Friday, in Tennessee's, 7-0, drubbing of Vanderbilt, Hussey downed Max Freeman, 6-2, 6-2 on court five to put Tennessee up, 3-0, and on the verge of clinching match point. In doubles on Friday, Hussey and doubles partner Mark Wallner were up a break at 4-3 when their match went unfinished as Tennessee clinched the dubs point on court two. On Sunday, Hussey and Wallner clinched the all-important doubles point on court three, with a 6-3 dispatching of Kentucky's Yasha Zemel and Joshua Lapadat. In singles, Hussey would clinch match point. With the Vols leading 3-2 and two matches on court, Hussey battled through a first set tiebreak and won the matches final three games to earn a 7-6(3), 6-2 victory over Lapadat and the Vols 19th win of the 2021 dual season. The wins improved Hussey to 14-3 in dual play with a 6-1 mark in SEC action. Him and Wallner's doubles victory on Sunday was also crucial as the Vols are riding a 36-match win streak when claiming the doubles point.
Freshman of the Week: Ole Miss' John Hallquist Lithén claimed victory in his first career Magnolia State rivalry match last Sunday (March 28). Lithén earned the Rebels' five decision point by defeating the Bulldogs' Alberto Colas in three sets, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 1-0 (6). Lithén won the second set after dropping the first for the first time this season (improved to 2-0 in three-set matches). Lithén improved to 9-5 overall in 2021 (5-3 in SEC dual competition). Lithén and the No. 9 Rebels improved to 8-7 (5-3 SEC) this season.
Co-Newcomers of the Week: Kentucky's Liam Draxl moved to 16-1 on the season as No. 20 Kentucky's top singles player, earning his third and fourth wins over top-20 opponents last weekend on the road. First, the sophomore recovered from a slow start against No. 20 Trent Bryde of No. 13 Georgia to defeat the junior 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Then, Draxl avenged his only doubles loss of the weekend with a commanding 6-3, 6-4 straight-set victory over No. 17 Johannus Monday of No. 3 Tennessee in the contest's first completed singles matchup.
Kentucky's Gabriel Diallo earned his first and second wins over ranked singles opponents and a doubles win over the nation's No. 3 pair last weekend on the road. First, the sophomore avenged his only doubles loss of the weekend with a commanding 6-1, 6-1 straight-set victory over No. 68 Tyler Zink of No. 13 Georgia in the contest's first completed singles matchup. Then, he defeated third-ranked Adam Walton and Pat Harper of No. 3 Tennessee 6-3 alongside César Bourgois in the top doubles spot. Diallo recovered from a slow start against Walton, the Volunteers' most highly ranked singles player, on the second court to defeat the senior 1-6, 6-0, 6-3.