News from MSU Media Relations--March 31

The lastest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...

Men's Tennis
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team won its third-straight match on Friday afternoon, downing Arkansas (7-15, 0-7) 6-1 at the UA Outdoor Tennis Complex. The Bulldogs won the doubles point and the first five singles matches and improved to 6-9 overall and 3-4 in Southeastern Conference play.

For the first time this season in conference play, the Bulldogs won all three doubles matches. First off the court was State's duo of Chris Doerr and Ryan Farlow, as they battled back from a 4-2 deficit to defeat Bradwin Williams and Gabriel Mattos of UA 8-4 on court #3. The Bulldogs clinched the opening point of the match when the MSU freshman tandem of Artem Kuznetsov and Pjotrs Necajevs topped Razorbacks Dmitry Vlaskin and Jorge Villanueva 8-6 on court #2. In the remaining match on court #1, MSU's Ivan Bjelica and Philippe Frayssinoux outlasted UA's Blake Strode and Colin Mascall in a tiebreaker 9-8(6).

The Bulldog netmen quickly took the momentum early in singles, winning the first set on five courts. Farlow gave MSU a 2-0 lead when he downed UA's Andrei Nicoara 6-2, 6-2 on court #4. Moments later, State took a 3-0 advantage when freshman Edouard Benchetrit defeated Arkansas's Villanueva 6-0, 6-1 on court #5. The clinching point and a 4-0 lead came when the Bulldog's Frayssinoux turned back Razorback Mascall 6-3, 6-2 on court #2. The Bulldogs expanded their lead to 5-0 when Kuznetsov topped UA's Lebedev 6-4, 6-0 on court #3. State took a 6-0 lead with a win on court #6, which saw MSU's Doerr down UA's Williams 6-4, 2-6, 1-0(2) in a third-set supertiebreaker. The lone point for Arkansas came on court #1, where the Razorback's 95th-ranked Strode downed MSU's 39th-ranked Bjelica 6-4, 7-5, ending his six-match winning streak.

With the win on Friday, State has now won three straight SEC matches for the first time since the 2005 MSU team started conference play 5-0. Both Doerr and Farlow won their third-straight singles matches while Freshman Kuznetsov notched his second straight victory. With their win, State also now leads Arkansas 19-6 in the overall series including an 8-2 mark in Fayetteville.

State will return to action on Sunday, as they host #13 LSU as part of Super Bulldog Weekend Festivities on campus. Match time is slated for 1 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's women's tennis squad dropped a tough 4-3 decision to No. 55 Arkansas after leading the match 3-0 early on Friday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The victory for the Lady Razorbacks gave them their first Southeastern Conference win.

No. 71 MSU (5-9, 1-6 SEC) took the early lead after posting doubles wins on courts #1 and #3. First off was No. 3, where State's Renee Joseph and Daniela Juskova improved their record 8-1 in dual (4-1 SEC) with an 8-4 victory of UA's Melissa Hoffmeister and Rachel Wilhelm. The Lady Bulldog tandem of Martina Banikova and Valeriya Makarycheva came back from a 3-2 deficit to win their match 8-4 against Lady Backs Nanar Airapetian and Maryori Franco at the top spot to clinch the point. MSU's Elna de Villiers and DeAndra Saddler were up 4-1 early, before falling 8-4 to Arkansas' duo of Audrey Bordeleau and Ela Kaluder.

State took a 2-0 lead with Saddler taking identical 6-2 sets to beat Wilhelm on court #5. After blanking Hoffmeister 6-0 in the first set at the No. 6 position, State's Makarycheva took the second set 6-3 to give State its 3-0 lead.

Arkansas answered back strong, taking the next three matches to even the score at 3-3. Lady Bulldog Martina Banikova fell 6-3, 6-1 to Arkansas' 25th-ranked Kaluder at the top position. At No. 3, after losing the first set 6-3, State's Juskova battled back in the second set before eventually falling 7-5 in a close second set to AU's Airapetian. UA continued their run, taking a win at the No. 2 spot with State's de Villiers falling in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 to Franco.

All eyes then turned to court No. 4, where MSU's Joseph and Arkansas' Bordeleau were locked in a fierce battle to decide the contest. Joseph took a first-set tiebreaker 7-6(5) and battled back from a 5-0 deficit in the second to force another breaker, which Bordeleau claimed 7-6(5). But Bordeleau took control in the third and final set, winning 6-1 for a 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-1 comeback effort to hand the Lady Razorbacks the victory.

"We lost a hard fought match to a good team," said MSU Head Coach Tracy Lane. "I am very proud of the effort today. We laid everything on the court and went down fighting. That is all you can ask for. It was a great effort and we just came up short."

State continues the weekend traveling to LSU Sunday to play at the W.T. "Dub" Robinson Tennis Stadium at 1 p.m. CT. The Lady Bulldogs will be back in action at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on Easter weekend, hosting Georgia on Friday, April 6, at 1 p.m. CT and Tennessee on Sunday, April 8, at 1 p.m. CT.

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