Tide tennis still terrific

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - After dropping the doubles point for only the third time this season the Alabama men's tennis team (10-0) came back to notch its 10th straight win of the 2003 season over Middle Tennessee, 5-2, in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

In a showdown between two top-10 doubles teams Middle Tennessee's Daniel Klemetz and Kirk Jackson out-dueled Alabama's Stephen Mitchell and Geoff Hiscox for an 8-3 victory at the No. 1 spot. Middle Tennessee won all three matches jumping out to the 1-0 lead.

Mitchell notched Bama's first point at No. 2 singles, downing Kirk Jackson in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. Hiscox then beat Middle Tennessee's Michael Staniak in a close, hard fought two-set match to give Alabama its first lead of the day, 2-1. After forcing the second-set tiebreaker, Hiscox won seven consecutive points to win the breaker and the match.

"It was just a grind, that's all it was. In the first point of the breaker I basically shanked a winner cross-court," Hiscox said. "I think after that he put his head down and didn't try."

Junior Chris Gostek won a three-setter at No. 3 singles to go to 10-0 in singles play on the season. Gostek attributed his recent success to the experience and maturity gained in his third year as a starter for the Tide.

"I'm more confident on the big points now. I'm able to put balls away and bear down on them," Gostek said. "I'm also hitting my forehand a lot better and penetrating with it."

Junior Christian Brodersen clinched his fourth match of the season with a quick two-set victory over Anant Sitaram.

Alabama moved up two spots in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings released Wednesday, going from No. 14 to No. 12. The Crimson Tide begins Southeastern Conference play on February 28, taking on LSU in Baton Rouge. Alabama's home conference opener is a March 8 match versus Georgia. No. 12 Alabama 5 - No. 59 Middle Tennessee State 2

1. Klemetz/Jackson (MT, #10) d. Mitchell/Hiscox (UA, #8) 8-2
2. Allan/Sitaram (MT) d. Gostek/William Boyles (UA) 8-6
3. Trevor Short/Staniak (MT) d. Belski/Brian Isern (UA) 8-3

1. Daniel Klemetz (MT, #3) d. Maxim Belski (UA, #39) 6-4, 6-2
2. Stephen Mitchell (UA, #63) d. Kirk Jackson (MT, #92) 6-3, 6-4
3. Chris Gostek (UA) d. Rishan Kuruppa (MT) 6-2, 4-6, 6-0
4. Geoff Hiscox (UA) d. Michael Staniak (MT) 7-6, 7-6
5. Christian Brodersen (UA) d. Anant Sitaram (MT) 6-1, 6-2
6. Michael Ray Pallares (UA) d. Brandon Allan (MT) 6-3, 6-2

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