Kovacs/Colombo Win And Advance at NCAAs

College Station, Tex.--<b>Mark Kovacs</b> and <b>Andy Colombo</b> advanced to the quarter-finals of the doubles competition on Friday at the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships.

Auburn's No. 2 doubles team defeated Michael Kogan and Victor Romero of Tulane 7-5, 7-5. On Thursday, Kovacs, a senior, and Colombo, a freshman, defeated David Mercier and Nicholas Yip of Utah 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4). The competition is being held at Texas A&M.

Auburn's No. 1 doubles team of Rameez Junaid and Tiago Ruffoni did not compete due to an injury to Ruffoni's elbow.

With the victory, Colombo and Kovacs improved their record to 22-3 and become All-Americans. The are the first Tigers to do that in the past four seasons. They will play the winner of the match between Ryan Moore and Nick Rainey of team champ Southern Cal vs. Thomas Haug and Harsh Mankad of the University of Minnesota.

"They played well today and were very solid," Auburn coach Eric Shore said. "The guys were not sloppy at all in the beginning and we got some breaks. Now we just have to keep it going."

The Tigers finished the team competition on Sunday, losing to UCLA as they tried to advance to the Final Four of the event.

Farther west in Palo Alto, Calif., the Auburn women's team No. 1 doubles pair of Carolina Maurer and Katia Illarionova lost 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 to Tiffany Brymer and Jewel Peterson of Southern Cal. Their opponents are ranked fifth nationally and the AU pair got into the event as alternates.

"It shows a lot about their character to come out here as the alternate team and then make the field and take the fifth-ranked team to three sets," says AU women's tennis coach Troy Porco. "I am proud of them."

The women's team advanced to the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament with a victory over Indiana before losing to Vanderbilt.


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