STARKVILLE, Miss. -­ Mississippi State's men's tennis team, ranked No. 42 in the country in the latest Omni Hotels Collegiate Rankings released Wednesday, ended their four-match losing skid with a hard-fought, 4-3 upset victory at 37th-ranked Vanderbilt Wednesday afternoon on the VU campus."> STARKVILLE, Miss. -­ Mississippi State's men's tennis team, ranked No. 42 in the country in the latest Omni Hotels Collegiate Rankings released Wednesday, ended their four-match losing skid with a hard-fought, 4-3 upset victory at 37th-ranked Vanderbilt Wednesday afternoon on the VU campus.">

Bulldog netters end skid with 4-3 win at Vandy

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01players/tennis/2002/combette.jpg" align="left" width="111" height="143"> STARKVILLE, Miss. -­ Mississippi State's men's tennis team, ranked No. 42 in the country in the latest Omni Hotels Collegiate Rankings released Wednesday, ended their four-match losing skid with a hard-fought, 4-3 upset victory at 37th-ranked Vanderbilt Wednesday afternoon on the VU campus.

The victory improved the Bulldogs to 7-6 overall, 1-4 in the Southeastern Conference. Vandy fell to 6-7, 0-6. The win also marked State's 19th consecutive win over VU.

In doubles, the Commodores stormed out of the gate when Bobby Reynolds and Lewis Smith handed Bulldogs Romain Ambert and Rene-Charles Combette their second loss in a row after nine-straight wins with an 8-1 decision at the No. 1 position. MSU would then get an 8-5 win from Luiz Carvalho and Jerome Le Belicard at No. 3 over VU's team of Zach Dailey and Josh Tarkoff to force a showdown at No. 2 for the first point of the day.

At No. 2, Bulldogs Max Fomine and Aymeric Henou came up with what would prove to be a huge win, rallying from a 5-2 deficit to force and win a tiebreaker with Commodores Chad Harris and Jens Frederiksen 9-8(4). The win, which gave MSU the early 1-0 lead, broke a three-match losing skid for the Bulldog pair.

State would grab a 2-0 lead when the freshman Henou broke a two-match skid with a solid 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Smith at the No. 6 singles position. Ambert, ranked 10th nationally, put the Bulldogs up 3-0 with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Reynolds, ranked 30th in the country, at No. 1. Ambert improved to 11-1 in dual matches this spring with the victory.

But, as in every SEC match this season, State would still have its work cut out as the Bulldogs had lost the first set in all of the remaining four contests and would have to register a comeback in one of them to pull out the team victory.

Vandy trimmed the lead to 3-1 with a 6-4, 7-6(5) victory from Scott Brown over Le Belicard at the No. 4 spot.

MSU then got the point it needed from Carvalho. The sophomore posted a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 comeback over VU's Frederiksen at the No. 5 position for his third win in a row and the match-clinching point for the Bulldogs.

MSU would drop the final two contests in close affairs. The Commodores got a 6-3, 7-5 upset victory from Harris over Combette, ranked 75th, at No. 2. Dailey then outlasted Bulldog David Ruiz 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 at No. 3 to close out scoring.

"This win feels so good to get," MSU head coach Sylvain Guichard said. "We have really had some close ones in our first four SEC matches and just couldn't get over the hump. Today, we did it, and did so against a very good Vandy team on the road.

"We also did it doing the very thing we have been stressing all season, fighting hard when the match is on the line. We had to turn one match today to win and we got it done. And we were very close to winning in all three matches we lost as well."

State's next action will also be on the road, at fourth-ranked Kentucky this Sunday. MSU will return home March 29th and March 31st, to host 13th-ranked Tennessee and third-ranked Georgia, respectively.


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