NCAA Mens Tennis

#13 Vols Narrowly Fall to #14 Auburn in SEC Opener, 4-3

#13 Vols Narrowly Fall to #14 Auburn in SEC Opener, 4-3

AUBURN, Ala. – The 13th-ranked Tennessee men’s tennis team suffered a narrow, 4-3, loss on the road at No. 14 Auburn Thursday evening to open SEC play.
Auburn’s Finn Murgett clinched the match for the Tigers in three sets at the No. 3 singles position, 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-1 over Tennessee’s #65 Emile Hudd. Each of Tennessee’s five losses this season have come against top-15 opponents at the time of the match. Three of its defeats have been in 4-3 decisions.
Due to rain in the area, the match was moved indoors prior to play beginning. Tennessee (9-5, 0-1 SEC) took the hour-long doubles point with wins on courts one and two. With each of the three doubles courts simultaneously tied at 4-4, Auburn (11-2, 1-0 SEC) took court three, before matches on courts one and two each remained deadlocked at 5-all.
Tennessee’s 32nd-ranked doubles pairing of Pat Harper and Johannus Monday earned a 7-5 win on court one, defeating Auburn’s No. 46 Murgett and Raul Dobai. The UT duo was down an early break at 0-2, before winning four of the final five games en route to the win.
Court two saw Hudd and Shunsuke Mitsui, the nation’s 41st-ranked duo, edge out Auburn’s Jan Galka and Billy Blaydes in a tiebreaker, 7-6(5). Hudd and Mitsui were down 0-2 and 2-4 in the tiebreaker, before taking it 7-5 to clinch Tennessee’s 12th win of the doubles point this season.
In singles, Auburn evened the match at 1-1 with a win on court two, before 14th-ranked Monday improved to 6-0 against ranked singles competition this season with his 6-3, 6-2 victory over #103 Tyler Stice atop Tennessee’s lineup.
The Vols jumped to a 3-1 lead with #125 Mitsui’s 6-4, 6-4 win over Galka at the No. 4 slot. Mitsui and Galka were tied at 3-all in the first set, before Mitsui won the first set going away, 6-4.
The team score was evened at 3-apiece with Auburn wins on courts five and six, before the Tigers’ clinch at the No. 3 spot.
Tennessee has a week off before its SEC home opener against Vanderbilt on Thursday, March 9 at 4 p.m. ET, followed by a Saturday, March 11 home match against LSU to cap the weekend.
RESULTSTennessee 3, Auburn 4
1. #32 Pat Harper/Johannus Monday (UT) def. #46 Finn Murgett/Raul Dobai (AUB) 7-5
2. #41 Emile Hudd/Shunsuke Mitsui (UT) def. Jan Galka/Billy Blaydes (AUB) 7-6 (7-5)
3. Alejandro Moreno/Tyler Stice (AUB) def. Blaise Bicknell/Angel Diaz (UT) 6-4
Order of Finish: (3,1,2)



1. #14 Johannus…

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