The Tennessee men’s tennis team began its fall campaign against Pepperdine on Friday in the opening contest of the Knoxville Showdown.
Coming into this showdown, the Big Orange represented two of the nation’s top singles players in graduate Adam Walton (No. 5) and sophomore Johannus Monday (No. 6) in the ITA’s preseason rankings. The Vols also claim three of the nations top-48 double pairs, including No. 48 Emile Hudd and Shunsuke Mitsui, who made their season debuts on Friday.
Pepperdine also brought two ranked singles players to the court, in Daniel De Jonge (No. 117) and Tim Zeitvogel (No. 125).
Tennessee was without its pair of All-Americans on Friday in Adam Walton and Pat Harper. Walton is preparing for the Champaign Futures in Champaign, Illinois, which begins on Saturday, and Harper has been dealing with a nagging injury all off-season.
The rest of the squad looked to pick up the void left by the dynamic Aussie mates.
The first portion of the showdown consisted of three doubles matches, headlined by the newly ranked duo of Hudd and Mitsui.
The pairing faced off against ranked singles player Zeitvogel and former Vol Andrew Rogers.
The Waves’ duo was no match for the ranked doubles pair, as they swept past them in the first set 6-2.
Pepperdine won the next doubles match 7-5 behind the pair Linus Halldin and Pietro Fellin, but the Vols would prevail and win the final doubles match in a nail biter 7-6 (6-3), behind the valiant effort of Angel Diaz and Mark Wallner.
The singles portion of the showdown was owned by the Waves, as they triumphed over Tennessee four out of the six matches.
Hudd won the first match for the Big Orange as he defeated the No. 125 ranked player Zetivogel in straight sets 6-1, 6-4.
Wallner won the Vols’ final match, coming back from a 6-2 loss in the first set to win the second 6-3 and the third set in a tiebreaker 7-5 against Fellin.
The battle of each program’s best versus best was taken by Pepperdine’s De Jonge, as he defeated Monday in three sets 5-7, 6-3 and 6-0.
Tennessee’s promising freshman Mitsui fell in straight sets to Rogers 6-1, 6-4.
Eric Hadigan defeated Conor Gannon 7-5, 6-4, and Linus Haldin defeated Angel Diaz to give Pepperdine four wins in the singles portion 7-6, 6-1.
Tennessee looks to bring the success it had in the doubles portion of today's showdown to the entire match tomorrow against Columbia, starting tomorrow at 10 a.m. EST at Barksdale Stadium.