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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

No. 20 Alabama men’s tennis falls to No. 13 Duke in the second round of the NCAA tournament

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama tennis player Roan Jones celebrates following the team’s win in the first round over Charlotte.

No. 20 Alabama men’s tennis made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2021 and the team’s 21st trip to the tournament in school history. The Crimson Tide earned an at-large bid, drawing the University of Charlotte in the Duke regional. 

Round of 64 vs Charlotte  

 No. 20 Alabama took down Charlotte with a 4-1 victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  

The team fell behind 0-1 after a hard-fought doubles match in which Enzo Aguiard and Zach Foster took a 6-3 defeat to Charlotte’s Matias Iturbe and Vasco Prata. Alabama evened the match out with Roan Jones and Andrii Zimnokh beating Alex Richards and Coy Simon 6-3. 

The comeback attempt fell short as Charlotte’s Ivan Dreycopp and Spencer Gray beat Matic Dimic and Filip Planinsek 7-5 to give Charlotte an early lead. 

The match quickly turned around in Alabama’s favor.  

In singles, Jones put the team on the board and tied the match at 1 when he beat Coy Simon in two sets (6-3, 6-2).  

Planinsek followed suit and gave Alabama its first lead of the match when he took down Gray in two sets (6-2, 6-4).  

Once the Crimson Tide grabbed hold of the lead, there was no stopping it. Matias Ponce De Leon extended the lead with a two-set victory over Prata (6-4, 6-3).  

Foster sealed the victory in three sets against Dreycopp to give the team its fourth and game-winning point (5-7, 6-3, 6-4).  

“It was a good test of patience, focus and response today,” head coach George Husack said. “Our guys took some blows but kept their feet under them. They accepted the challenge and never stepped out of the ring.” 

Friday’s victory sent the Crimson Tide to the second round of the tournament for the 10th time in program history.  

“While for some it might be nerve racking, for us it defines who we are, and our guys are tough,” Husack said.  

Round of 32 vs No. 13 Duke 

Alabama’s first round victory set it up for a Round of 32 matchup against No. 13 Duke.

Duke got the first point of the match, with the nation’s top-ranked duo Garrett Johns and Pedro Rodenas beating Aguiard and Foster 6-3.  

During singles Alabama trailed 3-0, with Ponce De Leon falling to Duke’s Pedro Rodenas in two sets (6-2, 6-2) and Aguiard coming up short in a tough two-set loss to Connor Krug (6-4, 6-4).  

Jones kept the Crimson Tide alive with his two-set win against Duke’s Faris Khan to bring the match deficit down to 3-1 (6-4, 6-2). 

However, hopes of a late comeback were dashed when Zimnokh lost a close match to Duke’s Andrew Zhang in two sets to end Alabama’s tournament run (6-4, 6-4). 

“Tough match and congratulations to Duke,” Husack said. Plenty to be proud of this season as, together, our team learned how to compete at a higher level, welcome challenges, be more willing to find solutions and as a result be rewarded for their effort and commitment.”  

The season may have come to an end, but Husack believes that this is just the beginning for the team. With no seniors on the current roster, Alabama will have the whole team returning next year.  

“We have been building the last two seasons, so this year’s accomplishments are noteworthy but not the end. This is just the continuation of where we started,” Husack said.  

Even though Saturday’s loss marks the end of Alabama’s season as a team, Planinsek will compete in the NCAA singles tournament starting May 20. The 29th-ranked singles player in the country earned an at-large bid in the singles bracket.  

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