UT men’s tennis races past South Carolina 4-0 to book spot in SEC final

First serve for the SEC Championship is slated for 12:30 p.m. Friday on SEC Network
Tennessee men's tennis
Tennessee men's tennis(Tennessee Athletic Communications)
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A dramatic finish to the doubles point and three punishing straight-set victories in singles pushed the No. 5 Tennessee men’s tennis team past No. 12 South Carolina, 4-0, in Thursday’s first semifinal of the SEC Tournament.

The win pushes Tennessee (23-3) into the SEC Championship match for the second consecutive tournament, while South Carolina (15-9) exits the league tournament at the semifinal stage for the second straight time.

Doubles was a back-and-forth affair as the Gamecocks grabbed the opening set on court two.

The Vols quickly responded as the duo of graduate student Giles Hussey and senior Mark Wallner blew past the Carolina team of Raphael Lambling and Philip Jordan, 6-4.

On court one, neither the UT Aussie tandem of senior Adam Walton and Pat Harper or South Carolina’s duo of Daniel Rodrigues and Connor Thomson could break the other’s serve.

In the ensuing tiebreak, Harper and Walton rolled past the Carolina pair, 7-3, top give Tennessee a massive, 1-0 lead.

In singles, SEC Freshman of the Year candidate Johannus Monday was off court in 47 minutes after he took down Thomson, 6-0, 6-1 to quickly double the Tennessee lead.

After about an hour of play, junior Martim Prata and Hussey earned straight set victories in quick succession to clinch match point for the Vols at 4-0.

The Vols victory advanced them to Friday’s championship match against the winner of Thursday’s semifinal between Florida and Texas A&M. First serve for the SEC Championship is slated for 12:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network.

The Tennessee women’s tennis team fell in the semifinal of the SEC Women’s Tennis Tournament on Thursday to Georgia, 4-0.

“We came to Tuscaloosa not just to play, but to compete,” head coach Alison Ojeda said. “Our goal coming into the SEC Tournament was to focus on one match at a time and get redemption on some teams who beat us earlier this season. We did just that against Mississippi State and LSU, but we weren’t able to keep the run going today.”

The Bulldogs (19-1) took the doubles point over the Lady Vols (16-8) to gain a 1-0 lead with wins on courts one and three.

“As we finish SEC play, I can say with certainty that we learned a lot from every single match we played this season,” Ojeda said. “We will build from these experiences and use them to prepare for NCAA’s.

“Our team is young and we have not peaked. There’s so much more to come. Tomorrow we will be able to look back at this tournament as a success. We are all excited and so much greatness is within our reach.”

Up next, Tennessee will learn its NCAA Tournament draw on Monday, May 3 when the official bracket is released.

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