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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Men’s Tennis: Commodores eliminated from SEC Tournament in 4-0 loss to Arkansas Razorbacks

No. 36 Arkansas ended Vanderbilt’s season abruptly in a first-round sweep.
Vanderbilt+falls+to+Arkansas+in+the+first+round+of+the+SEC+Tournament.+%28Twitter%2F%40VandyMTennis%29
Vanderbilt falls to Arkansas in the first round of the SEC Tournament. (Twitter/@VandyMTennis)

Vanderbilt lost to the No. 36 Arkansas Razorbacks in blowout fashion in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Tuesday afternoon, with the final score of 4-0. It concluded a tough season for the program, as the Commodores finished 6-16 (0-12 SEC) on the year. 

“From the get-go, it looked like we were incredibly tight,” head coach Ian Duvenhage said of the loss. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves and we didn’t play particularly well. As always, it’s very difficult to play well when you aren’t relaxed, loose, and swinging free.”

In the doubles matches, Arkansas carried Courts Two and Three while leading on Court 1 when the point was decided in their favor.

Court One featured No. 41 Enrique Paya and Hunter Harrison of the Razorbacks against No. 60 George Harwell and Max Freeman of Vanderbilt. The Razorback duo led 5-3 in the set when it was called due to decisions on the other two courts.

Court Two matched the Arkansas team of Melvin Manuel and Adrien Burdet against the Commodores’ Adam Sraberg and Macsen Sisam. The strong Commodore duo struggled in a lopsided 6-2 defeat that was the first doubles match to finish.

The closest doubles match was on Court Three, with Razorbacks’ Nico Rousset and Alex Reco  defeating Vanderbilt’s Jeremie Casabon and Connor Robb-Wilcox 6-4. As the final game was decided, the doubles point was given to Arkansas for winning two of the three matches. 

The Arkansas team continued their dominant performance into singles play, winning three-straight matches to decide the contest while only dropping one set to the Commodores.

On singles Court One, George Harwell prevented a team-wide, straight-set run from the Razorbacks by putting together a gritty comeback in the first set. Though he trailed his opponent, Alex Reco, 5-2, Harwell ran off five-straight games to swing the first set in his favor. Harwell and Reco continued into the second set, before the matchup was decided on other courts. This left their match unfinished with Reco leading 3-2 in the second set.

“George sets the tone for us competitively and was very vocal in encouraging his teammates,” Coach Duvenhage said. “[George] essentially did on Monday what he has done for our team all year long. He and Marcus really were the only two who got a rally going there.”

The duel between Marcus Ferreira of Vanderbilt and Maxim Verboven on Court Two similarly went unfinished due to action on other courts. It likely would have gone to a third set given time as Ferreira narrowly lost the first set 6-4 but led 5-3 in the second set before the decision. 

In one of the matches decided in Arkansas’ favor, Rousset and Casabon faced off once again in singles on Court Three after their previous doubles matchup. Rousset carried the momentum from his doubles victory into a more dominant singles showing with a 6-1 first set followed by a 6-4 second set. Court Three was the last match able to finish due to score, so the end of the second set for Rousset and Casabon was the end of the day for all players.

Court Four was yet another dominant performance for the Razorbacks, with Aleksa Bucan winning in straight sets over Max Freeman. The first set was won 6-2 and the second 6-1 as Freeman was not able to keep pace with Bucan. Their match was the second to finish in singles on the day.

The first match to be decided was on Court Five, with Adrien Burdet defeating Macsen Sisam. Sisam, after struggling against Burdet in doubles, could not turn it around as Burdet carried the first set 6-3 and won the second set 6-2.

Finally on Court Six, Arkansas’ Melvin Manuel and Vanderbilt’s Joubert Klopper were also left without a decision in their match. Manuel took the first set quickly at 6-3, but Klopper kept the match in play with a more competitive effort in the second set. Their match was left unfinished at a 4-3 Manuel lead in set two.

“It was not a good year, but there were some things that were positive. Our guys never gave up and always gave 100 percent. Their attitudes were good all year,” Coach Duvenhage summarized, while mentioning “bright spots” in the team’s matchups with Florida, Georgia, and Ole Miss.

“From a results perspective, our performance falls way short. We have to be a lot better next year, and I think our guys learned a lot. I look forward to a much better season next year.” Coach Duvenhage concluded.

This match concludes the 2020-2021 team season for the Commodores while the NCAA Individual Championship selections are yet to be announced.

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About the Contributor
Jonah Crist, Staff Writer
Jonah Crist ('24) is a Human and Organizational Development major in Peabody College. He is from Marysville, Ohio and enjoys spending his time walking around Vanderbilt's campus listening to old music and watching NBA games whenever possible. You can reach him at [email protected].
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