Vanderbilt Men’s Tennis cruises against Rice

Vanderbilt Tennis competes against Northwestern on January 18th, 2019 (photos by Sophia She).

Vanderbilt Tennis competes against Northwestern on January 18th, 2019 (photos by Sophia She).

Ryan Suddath

The Vanderbilt Men’s Tennis team trounced Rice 6-1 on Sunday, Feb. 17.

Although the Commodores have had a history of slow starts in their doubles matches, such was not the case against the Owls. Vanderbilt kicked off the day with a swift 6-0 victory by the Commodores’ line three pair of George Harwell and Christiaan Worst against Adam Oscislawski and Eric Rutledge.

Nonetheless, Rice responded. The Owls’ Conrad Russell and Sumit Sarkar edged Cameron Klinger and Billy Rowe 6-4 on court one to level the doubles score at one point apiece.

In the decider, the Commodores’ Macsen Sisam and Adam Sraberg, a new addition to the lineup, seemed to have the match under control, as they led Jacob Eskeland and Daniel Warren 5-3 on Sisam’s serve. However, after saving a match point at 5-3, 40-40, Eskeland and Warren fought back and forced a tiebreaker at 6-6.

In one of the most dramatic tiebreakers of the Commodores’ season, Sisam and Sraberg kept their composure and won 7-5 after two errant misses by Eskeland.

From there, Vanderbilt continued their trend of following a tightly-fought doubles point with a dominant singles performance.

Although he played line six singles in the Commodores’ previous match, junior Panu Virtanen looked more than comfortable at line five against the Owls, winning 6-2, 6-2 against Oscislawski.

Shortly after Virtanen finished, Sisam stretched his dual-match win streak to six and cruised against Rutledge 6-2, 6-3.

On court four, Rowe bounced back from a blown opportunity to close the match on his serve and won 6-1, 7-5, clinching the match for the Commodores.

Although Vanderbilt had officially secured the victory, both teams agreed to allow the remaining matches to finish.

Unfortunately, Eskeland spoiled the Commodores’ bid for a clean sweep, as he defeated Harwell 6-4, 6-2 at line two.

Following Harwell’s match, Klinger edged Sarkar 7-6 (7), 2-6, 1-0 (5). Despite not contributing to the Commodores’ victory against the Owls, Klinger’s match was arguably the most emotional match of the day. During the first set tiebreaker, a controversial call by the court official prompted Sarkar to crack his racquet on his bench, and throughout the second set, Klinger was similarly guilty of slamming his racquet against the ground.

After Klinger’s dramatic victory, Vanderbilt’s Marcus Ferreira defeated Campbell Salmon 8-6 in a pro-set.

The Commodores will look to extend their five match winning streak as they face North Florida and Lipscomb in a double-header on Friday, Feb. 22. Matches will begin at 12:00 CT.