MONTGOMERY – Alabama men’s tennis team (9-3) started Saturday with a 4-2 victory over No. 46 Arizona, before falling to No. 20 Ole Miss (9-1), 4-3, in the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic finale on in Montgomery.
In doubles vs. Arizona on Friday, the Tide picked up a win from Patrick Kaukovalta and Alexey Nesterov at the No. 1 spot, before Edson Ortiz and Marcelo Sepulveda Garza dropped in a tiebreaker, 6-7(5).
In singles vs. Arizona, the Wildcats (10-3) were up 2-0 before the Crimson Tide stormed back. No. 125 Riccardo Roberto cruised to the 6-3, 6-4 win over Alejandro Requant, while Jeremy Gschwendtner won in straight sets to tie it up at 2-2. Nesterov defeated Igor Karpovets, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Kaukovalta won two tiebreakers to take the three-set victory over Carlos Hassey and clinch a spot in the championship.
Ole Miss dominated doubles play to take the 1-0 lead to start.
In singles, Kaukovalta picked up his second win of the day, 6-3, 6-3, over Simon Junk. Ole Miss’ win on court three gave the Rebels the 2-1 edge.
No. 80 Ortiz defeated No. 40 Tim Sandkaulen, 6-3, 6-2, then the Rebels took another singles win. Alabama made it 3-3 after Zhe Zhou earned a 6-2, 7-6(6) victory against Jan Soren Hain. Nikola Slavic edged Nesterov, 6-7(6), 7-6(1), 6-4.
Alabama opens Southeastern Conference play on Friday in Gainesville, Fla., against No. 6 Florida.