Kovacs, Colombo Eye National Doubles Title

College Station, Tex.--Although they are the No. 2 doubles team for Auburn, the duo of <b>Mark Kovacs</b> and <b>Andy Colombo</b> has a chance to be the number team in college tennis.

College Station, Tex.--Although they are the No. 2 doubles team for Auburn, the duo of Mark Kovacs and Andy Colombo has a chance to be the number one team in college tennis.

To do that, Kovacs and Colombo have to beat the No. 2 ranked doubles team in country, Scott Lipsky and David Martin of Stanford. The Stanford team took a 7-6, 6-3 victory over Phillip King and Michael Yani of Duke on Sunday.

Colombo and Kovacs has earned reached the championship round with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over the No. 4 seeded team, Michael Calkins and Amer Delic of Illinois.

Also on Sunday at the campus of Texas A&M, Matias Boeker of Georgia, the top seed, plays fourth-seeded Jesse Witten of Kentucky for the singles title.

Auburn coach Eric Shore says he is proud of the way his Tigers are playing. "This is a great opportunity for them and the team," he says. "Auburn has never won an NCAA national championship as a team or in singles or doubles in tennis. We did win the ITA national clay court championship in 1999, but that was not an NCAA sponsored event."

Left-hander Mark Kovacs serves for the Tigers.

Auburn's No. 1 doubles team of Tiago Ruffoni and Rameez Junaid could not compete due to an elbow injury to Ruffoni, but the No. 2 team of Colombo and Kovacs has been AU's hottest twosome the last month of the season. Before doubles play began on Thursday, Colombo predicted that he and Kovacs could make a serious run at the national title.

Colombo has been effective with his 130-plus miles per hour serve and Kovacs is playing his best all-around tennis of the season. "Mark has really picked it up out there, particularly on his serve," Shore says. "He has been very tough and he is really focused. He is playing his best tennis of the season in all phases of the game. Andy's serve has been very effective."

Sunday's trip to the semi-finals was the deepest an AU doubles team has advanced in NCAA play.


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