The No. 19 Tennessee men’s tennis team defeated No. 41 Mississippi State 6-1 Friday evening. The Vols improved to 12-2 overall, and 1-1 in SEC play. The Bulldogs fell to 9-5 overall, and 1-1 in SEC play.
“It’s nice to open up the SEC season at home,” junior Andrew Rogers said. “The guys really showed up. It’s a match we’ve been looking forward to since Georgia.”
Tennessee started off the day by winning the doubles point. The first match to finish was on court two, where junior Mark Wallner and sophomore Pat Harper beat Giovanni Oradini and Stedman Strickland 6-3, for their third consecutive win.
The Vols clinched the doubles point on court three, where sophomore Martim Prata and junior Adam Walton defeated the No. 75 doubles pairing of Gregor Ramskogler and Alberto Cola, 6-4.
The No. 50 pairing of graduate student Giles Hussey and Rogers went unfinished on court one. They were leading No. 43 Florian Broska and Nicolas Ocana 4-3.
“Me and him gel together really well,” Rogers said of his relationship with Hussey. “He honestly picked me up today. I got off to a slow start in doubles, but he kept telling me next point, next point. That’s the key to our success.”
The Vols also played well in singles, winning the first four singles matches, and five of six singles matches on the day.
Prata finished first on court two. He defeated No. 89 Broska, 6-3, 6-2.
Senior Luca Wiedenmann took down Ramskogler by a score of 6-1, 6-3 on court three. The win was Wiedenmann’s 81st career singles win, putting him just three wins away from 20th all-time in school history.
Rogers clinched the win for Tennessee with a victory over Davide Tortora 6-3, 6-4 on court four.
“I wasn’t really thinking too much, just trying to play my game,” Rogers said of his singles matchup. “Seeing Pat putting himself out there, Martim’s winning, Luca was killing it down on [court] three. Looking up and seeing three on the scoreboard helped me loosen up.”
Harper won his match on court six, defeating Ocana 6-3, 6-4. The win was Harper’s fourth singles win in a row.
The Vols’ only loss came on court five, where Mississippi State’s Colas took down Hussey, 5-7, 6-3, 10-6.
On court one, No. 31 Walton edged out No. 43 Oradini 6-7 (7), 6-3, 10-4. The Australia native has played every match on court one this season and has a record of 11-1.
“Any time you can win in this league it's good,” head coach Chris Woodruff said. “It doesn’t matter who you play. Like I tell the guys, we just play as hard as we can, one match at a time. Now well focus on Ole Miss.”
“We’ll practice hard tomorrow,” Woodruff said. “I told the guys some of us will being doing specifics with me, and we’ll work on doubles, and we’ll get after it.”
Up next for Tennessee is a doubleheader on Sunday, March 8. The Vols take on No. 11 Ole Miss at 1 ET, and Austin Peay at 4 ET. Both matches will be played, weather permitting, outside atBarksdale Tennis Stadium in Knoxville.