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The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama men’s tennis extends winning streak to 4, taking down Arkansas and LSU

CW/ Hayden Hutchison
Alabama men’s tennis player Zach Foster returns a volley against Arkansas.

Alabama men’s tennis beat both Arkansas and LSU 5-2 over the weekend to extend its winning streak to four matches and improve to 15-8 in the spring. 

Friday vs. Arkansas, 5-2 

In the first match of the weekend, Alabama took down Arkansas 5-2 Friday to improve to 3-3 in SEC play and 14-8 overall.  

Junior Filip Planinsek and freshman Andrii Zimnokh started off doubles on a positive note after defeating Arkansas’ Božo Barun and Jared Horwood 6-4. The match went back and forth until Planinsek and Zimnokh took over to win the first doubles match of the day and beat the No. 29-ranked Arkansas duo. 

“I think we played really good tennis toward the end of the match,” Zimnokh said. “We were super pumped and focused. We were able to get some breaks to go our way.” 

In the second doubles matchup of the day, graduate student Matic Dimic and sophomore Roan Jones fell 6-3 to Arkansas’ Connor Smillie and Jake Sweeney. 

The two teams’ splitting of the first two doubles matches set up a tiebreaker matchup between sophomores Yair Sarouk and Matias Ponce De Leon against Arkansas’ Melvin Manuel and Gerard Planelles Ripoll. After a lineup error was called on Arkansas, Alabama was awarded the second doubles matchup victory to claim the first point of the match.  

In singles, Planinsek got Alabama’s second point of the overall match after defeating Barun in two sets (6-1, 6-2).  

Ponce De Leon got the third point for the Crimson Tide after beating Manuel in two sets (6-2, 6-4). Friday’s singles victory was the fourth consecutive win in singles for Ponce De Leon, moving his singles record to 4-2 during conference play. 

Zimnokh earned Alabama its victory-sealing point after taking down Planelles Ripoll in two sets (6-4, 6-2). It was the fourth straight singles win for the freshman, who has won nine of his last 10 singles matchups. 

In the other singles matchups, Jones lost a close match in three sets to Stefanos Savva of Arkansas (5-7, 6-2, 3-6).  

“I have had a lot of tough matches that I’ve lost this season,” Jones said. “I can see I’m playing the right way and I have the potential of winning these matches.” 

Junior Zach Foster scored Alabama’s fifth and final point of the match after beating Karlo Kajin in two sets in Foster’s first singles matchup of conference play (7-6, 6-2).  

In the final singles matchup, Dimic lost a hard-fought matchup to Benedikt Emesz in a tiebreaking third set 10-4 (6-2, 6-7, 1-0). 

Saturday vs. LSU, 5-2 

On Saturday, Alabama defeated LSU in an intense 5-2 match to improve to 4-2 in conference play.  

Alabama trailed early in doubles after Ponce De Leon and Foster lost 6-2 to LSU’s George Stoupe and Welsh Hotard. 

However, the Crimson Tide bounced back in the other two doubles matchups. Dimic and Jones took down Chen Dong and Julien Penzlin from LSU 6-3.  

Planinsek and Zimnokh completed the comeback in doubles as they defeated Aleksi Lofman and Stefan Latinovic 6-4 to secure a 1-0 lead. The No. 69 duo in the country got its second consecutive doubles victory and its third victory in doubles during conference play.  

In singles, Zimnokh won a close match against Stoupe of LSU in three sets (6-4, 4-6, 6-3). The match went back and forth all the way through until Zimnokh took control of the final set to get Alabama a point.  

Zimnokh credited the support he received from the crowd and his teammates as the difference in the match that led to his victory.  

“The crowd and the other guys from the team came by my court and had huge support for me, so I’m really thankful for them and I think this was a very big part of winning the third set,” Zimnokh said.  

Jones earned the game-winning point in his singles match against LSU’s Alessio Vasquez in a tough three-set victory (6-7, 6-2, 6-1). Once again, the crowd played a role in the final set. 

“Trusting and believing in myself as well as the support from everyone who cheered me on helped,” Jones said.  

In the other singles matches, Planinsek defeated Latinovic in two sets (7-6, 7-5), and Dimic defeated Rudy Ceccon in two sets (6-3, 6-4).  

Foster fell to Penzlin in two sets (6-7, 5-7), and Ponce De Leon lost a close match to Lofman in two sets (5-7, 6-7).  

After winning both matches over the weekend, Alabama head coach George Husack said these two matches gave the team a lot of confidence. 

“This weekend was huge,” Husack said. “We certainly had our challenges, but guys stepped up and showed a lot of heart and a lot of maturity. It certainly built our confidence quite a bit.” 

Next, Alabama gears up for a three-game conference road trip. The Crimson Tide will head to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers on Friday before going to Starkville for an Easter match with Mississippi State on Sunday. The Crimson Tide will end its road trip in Auburn with a date with its rival on April 5. 

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