STARKVILLE, Miss. ­ Mississippi State's men's tennis team has two players and two doubles teams ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's fall rankings, released by the ITA Tuesday.

Leading the way for State was sophomore Romain Ambert, who is ranked 15th in the post-fall singles poll, up two spots from his No. 17 ranking in September."> STARKVILLE, Miss. ­ Mississippi State's men's tennis team has two players and two doubles teams ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's fall rankings, released by the ITA Tuesday.

Leading the way for State was sophomore Romain Ambert, who is ranked 15th in the post-fall singles poll, up two spots from his No. 17 ranking in September.">

MSU PLACES TWO IN FALL-ENDING RANKINGS

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01players/tennis/2002/ambert.jpg" align="left" width="82" height="198"> STARKVILLE, Miss. ­ Mississippi State's men's tennis team has two players and two doubles teams ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's fall rankings, released by the ITA Tuesday.<P> Leading the way for State was sophomore Romain Ambert, who is ranked 15th in the post-fall singles poll, up two spots from his No. 17 ranking in September.

Ambert had an outstanding fall campaign, posting a 15-5 overall record. He won the Southern Collegiate Championship to open the semester, reached the semifinals of the Omni Hotels Southern Regional Championships in October, and made the consolation final of the Omni Hotels National Indoor Championships (the second major of the year) to close the fall.

A first-team, all-SEC selection and ITA Region III's Player to Watch last season, Ambert was ranked as high as sixth nationally last year. He is 42-16 overall during his young MSU career, a mark that was hampered by a broken ankle that forced him to miss 10 matches last spring.

Junior Rene'-Charles Combette is ranked 59th nationally in Tuesday's rankings. The Ajaccio, Corsica, product owns a 47-34 career singles record after his first two seasons at MSU. Ranked as high as 24th in the country last year, Combette has struggled of late due to a muscle tear in his stomach last spring. Only able to play six singles matches this fall, he is expected to be at full strength for the spring season.

In doubles, Ambert and Combette were ranked 40th nationally as a duo. The tandem was 5-2 during the autumn season, including a quarterfinal appearance at the Omni Regional event.

State's team of Luiz Carvalho and Jerome Le Belicard also popped into the latest doubles rankings at No. 52. It marks the first national ranking of Carvalho's career and the first doubles mark for Le Belicard. They paired for an 8-4 record during the fall, including a semifinal showing at the Omni Regionals. They are 16-9 overall together during the last two seasons.

MSU, which finished 14-11 overall last year, advanced to the NCAA "Sweet Sixteen" for the 10th time in 11 years and is one of only five schools (Georgia, LSU, MSU, Stanford, UCLA) to have done that. State finished the 2000-01 season ranked 14th nationally as a team, marking the 13th-straight season the Bulldogs had finished in the top 25 nationally. MSU is one of only eight schools (Georgia, LSU, MSU, Pepperdine, Southern Cal, Stanford, Texas, UCLA) in the country to have accomplished that feat. The first team ranking of 2001-02 will be released in January prior to the start of team competition.

Including the four players in Tuesday's rankings, State returns seven lettermen from last year's team, six of which saw considerable time in the MSU lineup in 2000-01. The Bulldogs will open the spring campaign at the SEC Indoor Championships Jan. 17-20 in Lexington, Ky. The MSU dual match slate will begin Jan. 24, when State hosts traditional rival Southern Miss at 2 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus.


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