MSU Tennis Duo Upsets Nation's #2 team

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - With two impressive victories Friday, Mississippi State's 13th-ranked doubles team of Luiz Carvalho and Jose-Carlos Pinto has moved into the semifinals of doubles at the Icy Hot/ITA All-American Championships. The All-American, being held at Chattanooga's Champions Club, is the first major of the college tennis year.

In round of 16 doubles action Friday afternoon, Carvalho and Pinto downed Tennessee's upstart team of Ockie Oosthuizen and Ben Rogers 9-7, rallying from a 7-6 deficit and fighting off one match point held by the Volunteers. The unrated UT pair, which had upset Oregon's ninth-ranked team of Aaron Spencer and Sven Swinnen Thursday, suffered their first loss of the year to a ranked opponent (now 7-1), while Carvalho and Pinto avenged a loss to Oosthuizen and Rogers two weeks ago.

In Friday's quarterfinals, the State pair registered their biggest win in the two years they have played together, upsetting Duke's second-ranked and second-seeded duo of Ludovic Walter and Jason Zimmerman 8-6. Carvalho and Pinto were down 3-1 early in that contest, but won the next three games to gain a service-break lead and go on to the victory. The win marked the highest-ranked doubles team MSU has beaten since Marco Baron and Chris McDonald posted a 9-8 win over Illinois' second-ranked team of Amer Delic and Graydon Oliver in second round of the 2001 NCAA Team Championship.

Carvalho and Pinto will meet Ohio State's 34th-ranked team of Scott Green and Ross Wilson at 10:30 a.m. ET Saturday in the semifinal round.

"Luiz and Jose have really done some great things over the past two days," MSU head coach Sylvain Guichard said. "We are glad to see them playing doubles this well. They were close to breaking out last year with some wins as big as the ones today, but never quite got there. We are extremely proud of their efforts this week and hope they continue this type of play not only tomorrow, but the rest of the year."

Friday's quarterfinal-round win assures the MSU duo of a spot in the ITA National Indoor Championships, to be held Nov. 4-7 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Only 16 doubles teams from around the country make the National Indoor field. Friday's win also marks the first time an MSU player has made the semifinals of a collegiate major since Matthieu Ballay made the semifinals of singles in the National Clay Court Championships in 1997. It is the first time an MSU doubles team has advanced that far in a major since Laurent Miquelard and Joc Simmons made the semis of the All-American in 1994, the fall after that duo claimed the '94 NCAA crown.

In singles consolation action Friday, the senior Carvalho pushed his round of 16 matchup with UCLA's 52nd-ranked Kris Kwinta to three sets but ultimately fell 2-6, 6-0, 6-4. Carvalho, who was a late "lucky loser" entry into the consolation draw Thursday, had posted the best singles win of his four-year career Thursday afternoon, downing Southern Miss' 45th-ranked David Canudas 6-4, 6-3 in the first round.

Chattanooga, Tenn. - 10/8/04

Round of 16 - #13 Luiz Carvalho/Jose-Carlos Pinto (MSU) def. Ockie Oosthuizen/Ben Rogers (Tennessee) 9-7.
Quarterfinals - #13 Carvalho/Pinto (MSU) def. #2 Ludovic Walter/Jason Zimmerman (Duke) 8-6.

Round of 16 - #52 Kris Kwinta (UCLA) def. Carvalho (MSU) 2-6, 6-0, 6-4.

(numbers preceding names are current national rankings)

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