Tennessee Advances Quarterfinals; 4-0 Sweep of Alabama
ATHENS, Ga. (April 21, 2022) - For the second time in three matches, the fifth-ranked Tennessee men's tennis team rolled to a sweep of Alabama, doing so Thursday in 4-0 fashion to advance to the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals.
The Vols will face fourth-seeded Georgia Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET.
Tennessee (21-6) won the doubles point and five first sets in singles en route to Thursday's convincing victory. Alabama (9-21) has now fallen to the Vols twice in seven days, failing to tally a point in either match.
"We were steady," head coach Chris Woodruff said. "Steady is what I think you want in the first round. We just played Alabama (last week) so that is always a mental challenge to get into a groove and beat a team when playing them so close together. I thought we did a good job of coming out and getting off to a good start in the doubles. Overall, it was a solid, steady performance."
In doubles action, Tennessee's 21st-ranked doubles duo of Emile Hudd and Shunsuke Mitsui broke Alabama's Enzo Aguiard and Juan Martin in the first game of the match on court two and later took a 3-1 lead, up a break en route to a 6-4 win.
On court three, Mark Wallner and Johannus Monday toppled German Samofalov and Joao Ferreira, 6-4 for the doubles point clinch after earning a break in the first game. Tennessee's Pat Harper and Adam Walton went up a break at 2-1 and trailed 4-5 heading into a service game, before narrowly going unfinished while leading 6-5 over Alabama's #53 Filip Planinsek/Patrick Kaukovalta.
Singles began with five first set victories for the Big Orange, with #72 Hudd finishing first on court three with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Kaukovalta. The momentum of the match swung when Hudd earned a break on deuce point to tie the first set at 4-4.
Seventh-ranked Walton extended Tennessee's lead to 3-0 with a straight-set, 6-4, 6-3 win over #32 Planinsek at the top of the singles lineup. Walton went up a break in the first game of set one and willed his way to his 115th career singles victory.
The clinch came from Mitsui, as he defeated German Samofalov, 6-3, 6-2 on court four. In the first set, Mitsui went up a pair of breaks at 3-0.
Monday's singles match against Aguiard on court two went unfinished, with Monday holding a 7-5, 5-2 lead. Court six saw Tennessee's Martim Prata earn a 7-6(1) first-set win over Zach Foster before going unfinished leading 7-6(1), 2-0. Junior Angel Diaz was up 2-1 in the second upon going unfinished, after dropping the first set, 5-7 to Martin on court five.
POSTSEASON CLINCHES HIT DIFFERENT
The match clinch from Mitsui ties the freshman with Hudd for the team lead in clinches this season, with six. For Mitsui, a three-time SEC Freshman of the Week honoree this season, the win marks his 31st singles win (31-7) of the year and 11th in dual singles matches.
SO WE MEET AGAIN
Friday will mark the fourth match between Tennessee and Georgia since last season, with two of those four meetings coming in the postseason. The Vols knocked off the Bulldogs in the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2021.
The Vols take on Georgia at 3 p.m. ET Friday at the Feild Courts.