STARKVILLE – No. 17 Mississippi State earned another doubleheader sweep while also making a huge statement early on in the men’s tennis season.
The Bulldogs knocked off 20th-ranked Florida State 6-1 on Friday afternoon inside a packed Rula Tennis Pavilion and capped the evening with a 7-0 shutout of Tennessee State. MSU improved to 4-0 and has outscored its opponents 27-1 thus far this year.
“I’m impressed with the guys’ mental endurance,” said head coach Matt Roberts. “They’ve been able to focus on the big points and play with discipline. They were really tough today against Florida State. We dropped one match against Florida State and have made it really hard on our opponents to get momentum and get sets. That makes me very happy to see the guys be able to stay mentally calm, have good discipline, not show any negative body language and deal with the ups and downs very maturely.”
The win marked the second straight year the Bulldogs have beaten a ranked Florida State squad. Mississippi State downed the then 15th-ranked Seminoles 4-3 on the road last season. FSU (2-1) will return to Starkville as part of ITA Kickoff Weekend along with Arizona State and VCU on Jan. 27-28.
The Bulldogs began the day by securing the doubles point against Florida State. Milanovic and Carles Hernandez took down the No. 52 team of Loris Pourroy and Youcef Rihane 6-3 before Mississippi State’s ranked tandem of No. 24 Petar Jovanovic and Benito Sanchez Martinez beat Antoine Cornut-Chauvinc and Joshua Dous-Karpenschif 6-4.
In singles, Sanchez Martinez struck first with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Dous-Karpenschif. Hernandez followed up with a 7-5, 6-4 victory against Rihane before Milanovic clinched the match at 4-1 after prevailing over 97th-ranked Jamie Connel 7-5, 7-5.
“It meant a lot for me honestly,” Milanovic said. “It was the third match for me this season as a Dawg and it was my first clinch as a Dawg, so that meant a lot. Every court was fighting, and it really didn’t matter that much who was going to clinch. It was more of us all being on the same page, and we had multiple guys at the same point who were close to clinching it.”