STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's 21st-ranked men's tennis team notched a solid 5-2 victory over 33rd-ranked Middle Tennessee Tuesday afternoon at MSU's A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The win upped the Bulldogs' record to 9-8 overall and assured them of their 15th consecutive winning season at home. MTSU fell to 13-4. State also remained perfect (14-0) in the series."> STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's 21st-ranked men's tennis team notched a solid 5-2 victory over 33rd-ranked Middle Tennessee Tuesday afternoon at MSU's A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The win upped the Bulldogs' record to 9-8 overall and assured them of their 15th consecutive winning season at home. MTSU fell to 13-4. State also remained perfect (14-0) in the series.">

MSU Netters Oust Middle Tennessee

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01players/tennis/2002/henou.jpg" align="left" width="140" height="190"> STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's 21st-ranked men's tennis team notched a solid 5-2 victory over 33rd-ranked Middle Tennessee Tuesday afternoon at MSU's A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The win upped the Bulldogs' record to 9-8 overall and assured them of their 15th consecutive winning season at home. MTSU fell to 13-4. State also remained perfect (14-0) in the series.

The Blue Raiders earned the first point of the day by sweeping doubles play with 8-5, 8-1, and 8-6 victories. But a seemingly different State team would storm out in singles, winning five of the six first sets and riding that momentum on to the victory.

Tying the match at 1-1 was sophomore Max Fomine, who notched an impressive 6-2, 6-1 win over Middle Tennessee's Kirk Jackson at the No. 6 position. MSU took a 2-1 lead in the match when Luiz Carvalho won for the sixth time in seven outings, posting a solid 6-2, 6-2 victory over Blue Raider Michael Staniak at No. 3.

Middle Tennessee would knot the score at 2-2 when 17th-ranked Daniel Klemetz played an impressive match at the top spot to upset 10th-ranked Bulldog Romain Ambert for what would ultimately be MTSU's only singles win. Klemetz improved to 12-1 for the year in dual match play, while Ambert suffered only his third loss (now 13-3).

It did not take State long to regain the lead as, moments after that match had finished, MSU's 75th-ranked Rene-Charles Combette, who turned his ankle Friday and did not play Sunday, completed a 6-2, 6-2 ousting of MTSU's 85th-ranked Robert Gustafsson at No. 2. It was the junior captain's 11th win in his last 14 outings.

Now needing just one point for the win, State already had a one-set advantage in the two matches still remaining to be decided. But both were on serve late in the second set with the score 4-4 at No. 4 and 5-5 at No. 5.

But Bulldogs Aymeric Henou and Jerome Le Belicard would both come through. The freshman Henou clinched the team victory with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Blue Raider Trevor Short at No. 5, while Le Belicard broke an eight-match losing skid with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Oliver Foreman at No. 4.

"I am very proud of the way our guys came out and established themselves in singles after we got swept in doubles," MSU head coach Sylvain Guichard said. "What makes me feel even better about this match is that we won 5-2 and the two points we lost were doubles and who has been our best point all year...Romain Ambert. That means that some other guys had to step up today in our lineup and they did.

"I also want to dedicate this victory to our legendary head coach, Tom Sawyer, who passed away last week. The success he had during his career is the foundation upon which we are succeeding today. He meant so much to our program and, a lot of times, people forget what he and his teams did for us before we got here."

Next up for the Bulldogs will be a jump back into Southeastern Conference action this weekend, as they travel to 42nd-ranked LSU on Friday. State then returns home this Sunday to host 25th-ranked Arkansas at 1 p.m. to close out Super Bulldog week activities.


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