May 8, 2009


Courtesy of LSU

BATON ROUGE -- The 28th-ranked LSU men’s tennis team defeated No. 34 Rice, 4-0, on Friday at W.T. “Dub” Robinson Stadium to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament where they will take on Ole Miss.

LSU (11-11) edged out Rice for the early doubles point by a close 9-7 mark on courts one and three.

LSU senior duo Jonathan Tragardh and James Cluskey fell behind and were unable to recover with Rice’s Bruno Rosa and Isamu Tachibana taking the first doubles match, 8-4.

On court three, LSU’s Sebastian Carlsson and Julien Gauthier faced a 6-4 deficit to Sam Garforth-Bles and Christian Saravia.  The sophomore duo fought back to tie the match at 6-all and then used the momentum to take the match with a 9-7 mark.

The victory on court three poised the Tigers to take the doubles point as second-ranked Michael Venus and Neal Skupski squared off with 55th-ranked Christoph Mϋller and Tobias Schiel.  LSU’s premier duo moved from a 7-all mark to take the next two games, blazing the path to their sixth straight victory with a 9-7 mark.

LSU carried the momentum into singles as it took three matches in straight sets.

“The doubles point proved to be a very big point for us,” LSU head coach Jeff Brown said. “It really set the table for us, including momentum we could take into singles.  We got off to a good start by winning four first sets in singles and continued into straight-set victories allowing us to conserve energy for tomorrow.”

Venus, seventh-ranked in singles, gave the Tigers their first win as he cruised to victory over 46th-ranked Rosa, 6-2, 6-3, for his 19th victory over a nationally-ranked opponent.

Skupski was the next off the courts for LSU, knocking off Tobias Schiel, 6-1, 6-2.

Gauthier dealt the final blow to the Owls, defeating Garforth-Bles, 7-5, 6-1, and pushing the overall match score to 4-0, ending Rice’s season at 17-11.

Next up, LSU faces the No. 2 team in the nation as the Tigers and Rebels squares off at 1 p.m CDT.

Ole Miss (25-2) defeated Southwestern Athletic Conference Champion Alcorn State by a 4-0 mark in the first match of the day at the Dub to move into the second round of NCAA competition.

The match will mark the third time that LSU and Ole Miss will face off this season. The Tigers own a 43-14 record over the Rebels, but it was Ole Miss that emerged victorious in the regular-season meeting and Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

As the two teams square off so will the top two doubles teams in the nation as second-ranked Venus and Skupski will line up across from top-ranked Jonas Berg and Bram ten Berge.

Berg also posts as the No. 16 singles players in addition to his doubles rankings. Devin Britton joins Berg in the national rankings at No. 30, as does Kalle Norberg at No. 40, respectfully.

The two SEC teams will square off in at 1 p.m. on Saturday to decide who moves to the NCAA round of 16 at Texas A&M.

#28 LSU 4, #34 Rice 0
May 08, 2009 at W.T. “Dub” Robinson Stadium

Singles competition
1. #7 Michael Venus (LSU) def. #46 Bruno Rosa (RICE) 6-2, 6-3
2. #51 Christoph Muller (RICE) vs. James Cluskey (LSU) no result
3. Neal Skupski (LSU) def. Tobias Schiel (RICE) 6-1, 6-3
4. Isamu Tachibana (RICE) vs. Sebastian Carlsson (LSU) no result
5. Julien Gauthier (LSU) def. Sam Garforth-Bles (RICE) 7-5, 6-1
6. Mark Bowtell (LSU) vs. Christian Saravia (RICE) 4-6, 2-5, unfinished

Doubles competition
1. #2 Michael Venus/Neal Skupski (LSU) def. #55 Christoph Muller/Tobias Schiel (RICE) 9-7
2. Bruno Rosa/Isamu Tachibana (RICE) def. James Cluskey/Jonathan Tragardh (LSU) 8-4
3. Sebastian Carlsson/Julien Gauthier (LSU) def. Sam Garforth-Bles/Christian Saravia (RICE) 9-7

Match Notes:
Rice 17-11; National ranking #34
LSU 11-11; National ranking #28

Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,3,5)