Men’s Tennis drops matches to three top-40 teams, beats Butler

Vanderbilt Men’s Tennis saw two 4-3 matches this weekend, one going each way.


Anseley Philippe

Vanderbilt Men’s Tennis player going for a groundstroke, as photographed on March 24, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Anseley Philippe)

Noah Roslin, Staff Writer

In their last doubleheader of the 2023 season on March 18th, the Vanderbilt Men’s Tennis team lost a nail-biter to No. 26 Florida Gators before bouncing back with a win 4-3 over the Butler Bulldogs. 

The next weekend, the Commodores dropped matches to No. 12 Mississippi State and No. 33 Ole Miss; the latter being a tough pill to swallow as Vanderbilt lost three 3-set matches en route to a 5-2 loss. The Commodores, however, excelled over this two-week stretch on the doubles court, sporting a 7-3 combined record with two unfinished matches.

The tandem of senior Siim Troost and junior Jeremie Casabon wasted no time getting back to their winning ways, taking down Axel Nefve and Will Grant of Florida 6-4. Nefve and Grant are ranked 106th and 72nd in the latest singles ITA rankings, but make no mistake: This performance was not an upset. The Troost/Casabon pairing was just days removed from blanking Georgia’s Ethan Quinn and Trent Bryde, currently ranked 11th in the latest ITA doubles rankings. 

Vanderbilt’s second match against Butler was knotted up at 3-apiece when the doubles point was decided and the match was called. This success was rewarded with a No. 35 ranking in the newest edition of the ITA doubles rankings prior to last weekend. They then defended this title with a win over the No. 44 team in the country, Carles Hernandez and Nemanja Malesevic, before dropping their first match in weeks to Mississippi’s J. Hallquist Lithen and Simon Junk.

Troost and Casabon also took care of business on the singles court, sporting a combined 3-0 record the first weekend. Troost played at the No. 4 singles spot all weekend whereas Casabon played No. 5 against Florida and sat out the match against Butler. The next weekend, Troost split his matches, falling to Mississippi State’s Ewen Lumsden and bouncing back to beat Mississippi’s Noah Schlagenhauf. Casabon did not fare as well, falling in straight sets against the Bulldogs, and then dropping a three-set marathon two days later against the Rebels.

Vanderbilt’s second doubles team has perhaps been even more impressive than their upperclassmen as of late, as the young duo of freshman Nathan Cox and sophomore Michael Ross dropped just 5 games over 3 matches before facing Ole Miss, where they showed true grit in a 7-6 nailbiter to clinch the doubles point for the Commodores. However, their dominance  didn’t carry over to the singles court, as the pair has gone a combined 1-7 over the past two weeks. The former blue-chip recruits were being asked a lot, though, playing in the No. 1 and 3 singles spots, respectively. Cox dropped a straight set match to Florida’s Nefve before falling 10-5 in a third-set ten-point tiebreaker to Butler’s Thomas Brennan. Similarly, Ross lost in straight sets to ITA No. 74 Jonah Braswell but rebounded to take down Borja Miralles of Butler 7-5, 6-4. Additionally, Cox took a set off of No. 66 Nikola Slavic of Ole Miss this past Sunday, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.

The Commodores’ No. 3 doubles pairing of Joubert Klopper and Macsen Sisam were a game away from victory against Florida before the doubles point was secured and the match was called. The pair would come back later in the day and demolish Butler’s third doubles team 6-2. Unfortunately, their success did not carry over to the next weekend, as they fell to both of the visiting Mississippian teams. Klopper split his matches the first weekend at the No. 2 singles spot, falling to Florida’s Will Grant and defeating Butler’s Alvaro Vadillo, and then dropped both matches the next weekend. The losses included an absolute nail-biter against J. Hallquist Lithen of Ole Miss, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3

Sisam, on the other hand, dropped both of his singles matches at the tail end of the lineup the first weekend. The last one was a heartbreaker on the No. 5 singles court against Butler’s Rahulniket Konakanch, 7-6 (6), 7-6(5). He then bounced back and was the only Commodore to have an undefeated singles weekend against the No. 12 and No. 33 teams in the nation, playing two tight 3 setters at the No. 6 singles position and taking both matches

The Commodores have gone through a gauntlet of a schedule as of late, yet they have managed to hang around, winning 11 out of a possible 28 points, and losing five 3-set matches this past weekend that could have changed the Commodores’ record over this stretch from 1-3 to a much more impressive 3-1. It shows how close Vanderbilt is to competing with the best talent in the nation. Powered by their young studs at the top of the lineup, the future looks bright in Nashville.

The Commodores will be on the road this weekend, facing Alabama on Friday and Auburn on Sunday.