TUSCALOOSA – The Alabama men’s tennis team won a 5-2 decision over the Clemson Tigers on Sunday afternoon at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility. The Crimson Tide improves to an overall 5-2 record, while Clemson recorded its first loss on the year moving to 7-1.
“After an emotionally and physically draining match on Friday night we had the challenge of coming out with energy and intensity that would exceed that level,” said head coach George Husack. “Clemson was tough and they came out swinging.”
Clemson tallied the first doubles victory of the match, as Carlos Kelaidis and Robert Dudley topped senior Ritchie Kruunenberg and freshman Alexey Nesterov on court two in a 6-4 decision. Alabama responded with a victory on court three, as freshmen Thibault Cancel and Edson Ortiz teamed up to defeat Christian Harris and Daffra Sanon, 6-3. With the doubles point on the line, the Tide’s 32nd-ranked doubles team notched Alex Favort and Sam Edwards, 6-4, on court one to give Alabama a 1-0 match advantage going into singles play. Alabama’s record for the doubles point improves to 6-1 on the season with today’s doubles performance.
“The doubles point was tight,” said Husack. “Mazen and Spencer did a great job of keeping their poise and closing it out to give us some juice going into singles play.”
The tempo carried into singles play for the Tide, as Alabama’s 78th-ranked singles player Cancel (No. 2) won in straight sets over the Tigers’ 120th-ranked singles player Sanon, 6-2, 6-2, to extend Alabama’s match lead to 2-0. Ortiz (No. 5) picked up the Tide’s second singles win in straight sets, as the talented freshman topped Harris, 6-1, 6-4, to give the Tide a 3-0 match advantage. The Tide’s 63rd-ranked singles player in Osama (No. 1) notched Favort in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6(8), to clinch the Alabama match victory. The Tide went on to tally one more match point, as Richey (No. 4) won a three set thriller over Edwards, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
“We were challenged on all six courts today, which was important for our growth,” said Husack. “I am really impressed with Thibault Cancel. He enjoys tennis and competition just as much as a kid loves candy. His play today was inspirational and I’m sure many of the kids in the crowd were impacted by his performance.”
The Tide will be back in action on Friday, Feb. 10, when it travels to Stillwater, Okla., to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a match that is set to start at 5 p.m. CT.