The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Bulldogs dominate opening weekend

Both men’s and women’s tennis teams opened up the 2017 spring season with a bang as the men’s team defeated San Diego State University 5-2 and the No. 24 Women’s team defeated the University of Alabama-Birmingham 4-0 this weekend.

The Men’s season opener against Pepperdine was cancelled due to weather on Friday, so the Bulldogs took on San Diego State University on Saturday. 

In doubles play, the tandem of Nuno Borges and Strahinja Rakic dominated SDSU’s Joel Popov and Nicholas Mitchell 6-0. Soon after, the duo of Mate Cutura and Vaughn Hunter won their match 6-2. After that win clinched the double’s point for MSU, No. 59 Niclas Braun and Trevor Foshey’s match was suspended tied 4-4.

Head coach Matt Roberts said the doubles play by the team set the tone for the rest of the match and got the Bulldogs in position to win for singles play.

“Our play today in doubles really was very smooth,” Roberts said. “We got out to a good start and that kept the momentum going into singles play.”

In singles play, Rakic struck first once again and defeated his opponent 6-2, 6-2, and put Mississippi State up 2-0. That gave Rakic his first ever win at the No. 3 spot.

The Bulldogs top ranked player, Borges, continued his run from the fall and won his singles match 7-6(3), 6-2. That put the Bulldogs up 3-0 and on the verge of clinching the win. Borges is now 13-3 as a sophomore this year.

To clinch the mast, Braun won in straight sets in the No. 4 spot in the lineup. He downed Popov, 6-2, 7-6(4) and gave the Bulldogs the win. 

Leading 4-0, the teams continued play with the three remaining matches. SDSU grabbed two points when the Aztecs defeated Cutura and Foshey. Freshman Simon Baudry played in his first collegiate match and shined, grabbing the final point of the day and finished the 5-2 win for the Bulldogs.

Coach Roberts was pleased with Baudry’s play, and said he is excited about the bright future the freshman has on the team.

“Simon had to fight back today, but he figured it out and I’m proud of how he competed,” Roberts said. “Even though this was his first match as a collegiate player, he showed a lot of heart and fight and truly loved the challenge out there today. He was very impressive.”

The Bulldogs travel to Texas next weekend for the 2017 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-off Weekend. They will face Florida State on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 12 p.m. 

In the women’s match on Sunday, the Bulldogs routed UAB 4-0 in the season opener. Mississippi State set the tone in a dominant doubles performance when the young tandem of freshman Sara Lizariturry and sophomore Anastasia Rentouli defeated the blazers duo 6-1. 

On court one, MSU clinched the doubles point when senior Jasmine Lee and freshman Lisa Marie Rioux beat another Blazer duo 6-1 and put the Bulldogs up 1-0.

Using the momentum from the doubles matches, the Bulldogs swept the Blazers in three sets in singles play. Rioux beat UAB’s Hermann in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, to put the Bulldogs up 2-0. Soon after, No. 27 Lee beat Pardis Kianoush 6-1, 6-4.

To clinch the game, Rentouli dominated UAB’s Reghan Lynch 6-1,6-2 in her first match as a Bulldog. Mississippi State’s Lizariturry was leading 6-4, 1-0 when the match was clinched and her game was suspended. 

Two Bulldogs were set to play, but the match was clinched before they could get on the court. 

Head coach Daryl Greenan said he thought Sunday was a great day to get the team’s youth adjusted to playing at the college level. He said he thought his team did a great job dealing with the transition. 

“Today was a really good day for us to get experience for our young players,” Greenan said. “We started the day off in doubles playing really well and it carried over into singles play. I thought both Lisa and Sara performed well. Playing indoors will obviously help for next weekend and after today’s performance, we will be better prepared to play indoors at Michigan.”

The Bulldogs head to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the 2017 ITA Kick-off Weekend. Mississippi State faces Syracuse on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 1 p.m.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Bulldogs dominate opening weekend