Tide Tennis Teams In SEC Action

It seems as though women's tennis has joined gymnastics in that the national rankings seem to not make sense. Last week the Alabama women's tennis team won two matches, including one over a ranked opponent, and the Crimson Tide went from fourth in the nation to eighth.

The Alabama women's tennis team of Coach Jenny Mainz has improved its record to 13-2 with a nine-match winning streak that includes a 5-0 record in Southeastern Conference play.

This weekend the Bama women's team will host SEC matches against South Carolina (10-6, 1-4 SEC) and No. 5 Florida (12-3, 4-1 SEC). The match against the Gamecocks will take place on today at 5 p.m. CDT, while the match against the Gators is slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. CDT.

Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide men's tennis team (9-9, 2-3 SEC) will hit the road this weekend to take on a pair of SEC Eastern Division opponents in South Carolina (7-9, 0-4 SEC) and No. 16 Florida (7-6, 2-2 SEC). Friday's match against the Gamecocks is slated for 3 p.m. CDT, while Sunday's match in Gainesville versus the Gators will begin at Noon CDT.

Sunday's Alabama women's match was selected as one of only 22 all season long for USTA College MatchDay. As part of the College MatchDay experience, there will be an experimental format in place where all six singles matches, consisting of best of three tiebreak sets, will be played first. Once one team reaches four points and clinches the match, the remaining matches will not be completed. In the case of a 3-3 tie after singles, three doubles matches, played using a 10-point super tiebreaker, will be used to determine the team victory.

Behind a pair of come-from-behind three-setters, Alabama beat No. 21 Auburn, 4-2, last week at the Yarbrough Tennis Center. The Tide won its 13th doubles point of the season and got singles wins from Erin Routliffe, Maya Jansen, and Mary Anne Daines, who clinched at No. 1 over 33rd-ranked Pleun Burgmans. Daines and partner Danielle Spielmann have won nine-straight doubles matches and are 10-1 on the season.

South Carolina has lost its last four-straight matches with the most recent against Tennessee. Both Meghan Blevins and Katerina Popova have a team-leading 10 victories in singles, while Brigit Folland and Popova lead the way in doubles with a 7-3 record. The Gamecocks have two women ranked in singles including No. 95 Folland and No. 112 Blevins as well as one doubles team in Elixane Lechemia and Dominika Kanakova, who come in at No. 61.

Florida is coming off its first SEC loss of the season after falling 4-2 at No. 12 Georgia on Sunday. The Gators have won the doubles point 10 times this season and are led by Olivia Janowicz and Kourtney Keegan with a 6-1 dual-match record at No. 2. In singles, both Alexandra Cercone and Sofie Oyen have a team-leading 10 victories. Florida has six players ranked in singles, including three in the top 25 in No. 8 Janowicz, No. 22 Cercone and No. 23 Brianna Morgan. Oyen comes in at No. 38, Keegan No. 44 and Belinda Woolcock No. 78. The Gators also have four ranked doubles combinations including No. 24 Woolcock and Oyen, No. 32 Oyen and Keegan, No. 35 Janowicz and Keegan and No. 68 Keegan and Woolcock.

South Carolina currently leads the series 12-9 over Alabama, although the Tide has won the last two against the Gamecocks, including a 4-1 victory last season. Florida comes in with a 37-0 record versus the Tide.

The Alabama men went 0-2 last week, falling 4-2 to Auburn and 5-0 to No. 4 USC. In the loss to the Tigers, the Crimson Tide won the doubles point and got one of the singles points, but Auburn would win four of the remaining five singles matches, three of which came in three sets. Alabama also had a chance at the doubles point against the Trojans, but it slipped through the cracks as USC won on courts one and three. The Trojans then won four singles matches to take the team victory.

Becker O'Shaughnessey, ranked 83rd nationally in singles, continues to lead the Tide with seven wins in dual-match play, while Andrew Goodwin, Stuart Kenyon and No. 21 Daniil Proskura have each added six singles victories for Alabama. In doubles, O'Shaughnessey and Proskura, ranked 62nd, lead the Tide at the top with three wins at No. 1, and Goodwin and Kenyon stand strong with six wins in dual-match action.

South Carolina enters Friday having lost its last five matches, most recently a 4-0 decision to No. 14 Tennessee, however the Gamecocks are 6-2 at home. In doubles, Andrew Adams and Kyle Koch, playing at the No. 2 spot, boast a 4-0 record, while Chip Cox has led South Carolina in singles, winning six of his last eight matches at No. 4. The Gamecocks have two men ranked in singles including No. 80 Tsvetan Mihov and No. 125 Andrew Schafer.

Florida dropped a 4-3 decision to No. 16 Georgia on Sunday and will play Auburn before facing the Tide. All six of the Gators' losses have come to teams ranked in the top 16. Maxx Lipman and Gordon Watson lead Florida with five singles wins in dual-match play each. The Gators have three players ranked in singles including No. 82 Elliott Orkin, No. 85 Spencer Newman and No. 106 Watson, while the doubles team of Orkin and Watson are 11th nationally.

The Tide boasts a 20-15 all-time record against South Carolina with the team's last win coming in 2011. Florida leads the series with Alabama, 33-17.

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