TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Alabama men’s tennis team continued its stellar season with a first-round victory over No. 23 Tulane in the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
The victory marked the first time UA has advanced past the opening round since 2009.
The No. 3-seeded Crimson Tide (19-12) snapped a seven-match win streak for the No. 2-seed Green Wave (18-7).
“It feels great, I’m very happy for the guys and the fight that they gave today,” head coach George Husack said. “As I said yesterday, the best competitor would win and we really competed our tails off today.”
UA is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013, while earning its first tournament win since 2009 when Alabama defeated Furman 4-0 in the Tuscaloosa Regional.
The Tide started the regional by earning the doubles point in thrilling fashion. Alabama’s Zhe Zhou and Patrick Kaukovalta won their doubles match while UA’s Mazen Osama and Edson Ortiz lost, setting up a big finish at No. 2 doubles.
Alexey Nesterov and Thibault Cancel trailed 6-5 in the match and 30-0 in the game, before battling back to force a tiebreak at 6-6. In the tiebreaker, the duo battled back-and-forth before winning, 9-7, to take the doubles point.
In singles play, the Green Wave briefly tied the match after Ewan Moore defeated Kaukovalta. The Crimson Tide responded with Cancel bouncing back with a straight-set win over Hamish Stewart, and moments later Nesterov earned the 6-2, 6-4, victory over Tyler Schick to put Alabama up 3-1.
The match was then clinched when Ortiz, after dropping the first set, answered by winning the second and third set to give the Crimson Tide the match-clinching point.
Alabama will be back in action Saturday against either No. 11 Florida State or Alabama State at 3 p.m. CT. The match will be streamed live through Seminoles.com.
1. No. 18 Mazen Osama vs. No. 15 Constantin Schmitz, 7-5, 5-7, 1-0, unf.
2. No. 113 Ewan Moore def. Patrick Kaukovalta, 6-2, 6-0
3. Thibault Cancel def. Hamish Stewart, 6-4, 6-2
4. Edson Ortiz def. Luca Erlenbusch, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
5. Alexey Nesterov def. Tyler Schick, 6-2, 6-4
6. Zhe Zhou vs. Tim Ruetzel, 6-4, 6-6 (5-5), unf.
1. No. 34 Schmitz/Moore def. No. 26 Osama/Ortiz, 6-3
2. Cancel/Nesterov def. Stewart/Schick, 7-6 (9-7)
3. Zhou/Kaukovalta def. Erlenbusch/Ruetzel, 6-