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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 upsets No. 11 Texas A&M in ‘boxing match,’ beats Ole Miss

Courtesy of UA Athletics

No. 22 Alabama men’s tennis finished out the regular season on a high note over the weekend, beating Ole Miss 5-2 and upsetting No. 11 Texas A&M 4-3. 

Ole Miss  

Sophomore Roan Jones and graduate student Matic Dimic started off doubles strong, beating Isac Stromberg and Noah Schlagenhauf of Ole Miss 6-3. The matchup was tied 3-3 until Jones and Dimic took over the second half of the set. 

“We just focused on ourselves and made sure to keep good energy and intensity during the set,” Jones said. 

Alabama took the second doubles matchup and earned its first point of the match after juniors Enzo Aguiard and Zach Foster came away with a 6-4 victory over Ole Miss’ Carson Baker and John Hallquist Lithen. 

Aguiard pointed to his and Foster’s aggressiveness as the difference in the set. 

“We just started to play a bit more aggressively and try to take the point,” Aguiard said.  

In the final doubles match, junior Filip Planinsek and freshman Andrii Zimnokh had an unfinished matchup that ended in a 4-4 tie after the duo took on Ole Miss players Nikola Slavic and Lukas Engelhardt.  

In singles, Jones cruised to a win to give Alabama a 2-0 lead after defeating Noah Schlagenhauf in two sets (6-2, 6-3).  

Jones credited his serving as the biggest reason for his singles victory. 

“I just felt good and was playing well, and my serving made the big difference in the match,” Jones said.  

Aguiard gave Alabama its third point of the match, defeating Engelhardt in three sets (6-1, 6-7, 6-1). After a hard-fought second set, Aguiard got back on track to seal the point, giving Alabama a 3-1 lead in the match.  

Planinsek sealed the deal for Alabama, giving the Crimson Tide its game-winning fourth point of the match after taking down Slavic in a close two-set match (6-4, 7-6).  

After trailing 6-5 in the second set, Planinsek was able to force a 6-6 tie and go to a tiebreaking game. During the final game of the set, Planinsek outlasted Slavic 10-8 to earn a tiebreaking victory and took a 7-6 win in the set overall.  

Planinsek’s point gave Alabama its 16th win of the spring season and moved the Crimson Tide to 5-6 in conference play. 

“It felt good,” head coach George Husack said after Alabama snapped a streak of three consecutive losses with its win Friday. 

Texas A&M 

After falling behind 1-0 in doubles, Matias Ponce De Leon got the Crimson Tide on the board in his singles match, beating Giulio Perego of Texas A&M in two sets (6-4, 6-2).  

Aguiard fell in his singles match to Togan Tokac in two sets (0-6, 5-7) 

Foster kept Alabama in the match, tying the match at 2 points apiece after running away in the second set against Tiago Pires of Texas A&M (7-6, 6-1).  

Texas A&M retook a 3-2 lead in the match when Zimnokh lost a tough singles match to JC Roddick of Texas A&M in three sets (1-6, 6-2, 3-6).  

But the Crimson Tide did not roll over.  

With the final two outcomes of singles matches still in play, Planinsek took over in the final set to tie the match at 3 with a three-set victory over Raphael Perot (6-7, 6-4, 6-3).  

For Planinsek, the feeling of this victory went back to April 5 against Auburn, when he fell short of a victory in the third set. On Snday, he got a taste of redemption when he finished off his opponent in the third set. 

“A couple weeks ago against Auburn, I lost a third set tiebreaker that day, so today I just told myself I have to keep going after the second set,” Planinsek said. “It was a big boost for my morale and my confidence.” 

With the match tied up, the outcome came down to the final singles match of the day, between Jones of Alabama against Luke Casper of Texas A&M. 

After Jones won the first set 7-6 with a tiebreaker point, he found himself in the same scenario in the second set. Jones battled with Casper all the way through the second set to force a second consecutive tiebreaker scenario. 

With the eyes of the crowd on Jones, he delivered. Jones won the tiebreaker 7-5 to seal a 7-6 victory in the second set and give Alabama its fourth win against a team ranked 11 or higher this season.  

“My opponent made me work for it, but when it came down to it, I think I was slightly more ambitious and it probably paid off,” Jones said.  

Husack compared Sunday’s win to a boxing match.  

“We talked about it like a boxing match,” Husack said. “If you put your gloves down, you’re going to get punched. I just told the guys to keep their gloves up, and they did.” 

After closing conference play and the regular season with two wins, improving to 6-6 in conference play, the Crimson Tide will now look toward the SEC championships.  

“It’s a great way to finish out the regular season, but now our second season starts with the SEC championships,” Husack said. 

Alabama certainly knows it’s capable of making noise in the postseason.  

“Everyone calls it potential, but we are good,” Husack said. “We’re good. We make young mistakes, but when we use our brain, we are really good.” 

Next up, Alabama will head down south to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for the SEC championships. The tournament will begin Wednesday and conclude Sunday.  

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