The No. 19 Tennessee men’s Tennis team defeated No. 11 Mississippi and in-state competition Austin Peay Sunday to improve to 14-2 on the season, 2-1 in SEC play.
“I thought everybody played tough,” head coach Chris Woodruff said. “You savor (every win in this conference), and they all require work and preparation. As the season wears on, we’ll just keep doing it one day at a time.”
Things didn’t go as planned for coach Woodruff and the Vols to begin the day. Sophomore Pat Harper and Junior Mark Wallner defeated Jan Soren Hain and Simon Junk of Mississippi 6-1 on court two before Ole Miss would defeat the Vols on courts one and three to claim the doubles point for the match.
The Vols got back on track in singles play, winning the first and last two matches of the day, four of six overall. No. 31 ranked Adam Walton finished first, defeating No. 68 Tim Sandkaulen 6-2, 6-3 on court one to improve to 12-1 on the season.
Sophomore Martim Prata would be the next to finish. Prata defeated Jan Soren Hain 6-2, 6-3 on court two to give the Vols a 2-1 lead.
Mississippi would not back down easily, however. Nikola Slavic and Lukas Engelhardt would each win two sets against junior Andrew Rodgers and Pat Harper on courts four and six, respectively, for a 3-2 match lead.
The final two matches ultimately won the day for the Volunteers. On court five, graduate student Giles Hussey claimed two straight sets to defeat Simon Junk 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. Senior Luca Wiedenmann clinched the victory for the Vols on court three, also taking two straight set points 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.
With this, the Vols bested their fifth ranked opponent of the year with a final score of 4-3. Tennessee was not done winning. Vols Tennis earned their ninth shutout of the year in their second match of the day, defeating Austin Peay 4-0.
The Vols wasted no time in capturing the doubles point to take a 1-0 match lead.
Prata and Walton finished first on court three with a score of 6-1 over Thiago Nogueira and Hunter Sanders. Soon after, nationally ranked Andrew Rogers and Giles Hussey clinched the doubles victory 6-2 on court one.
The duo of Pat Harper and Mark Wallner went unfinished against Jacob Lorino and Oliver Andersson with a lead of 5-2 upon the victory of Rogers and Hussey.
Wiedenmann picked up right where he left off against Ole Miss as he defeated Julius Gold 6-0, 6-2 for the first finish of the singles match, giving the vols a 2-0 advantage. This victory puts Wiedenmann at 83 career wins, one shy of entering the top 20 in program history for singles victories.
Martim Prata was next to finish. The Lisbon, Portugal native defeated Anton Damberg 6-1, 6-1 for his second straight set victory of the day.
Freshman Finn Stodder would finish off the Governors on court five over Hunter Sanders for his second win of the season, 6-1, 6-1.
“I saw some good progress out there from a couple of our guys,” Woodruff later said. “Not really playing the score ... couldn’t have been better.”
Tennessee looks to improve their SEC record to 3-1 in Columbia, South Carolina against the 29th ranked Gamecocks. The match begins Friday, Mar. 13 at 6 p.m.