MT comeback dooms South Carolina

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Unbelievable and incredible. Those were just a few of the words uttered by the fans that witnessed Vanderbilt’s 29th-ranked men’s tennis team overcome a 3-1 deficit to defeat No. 57 South Carolina, 4-3, on Sunday at the Currey Tennis Center.

Trailing 3-1, Vanderbilt won the last three singles matches to secure the win. Earning the wins for the Commodores were No. 97 Ryan Preston (No. 1), Evan Dufaux (No. 5) and Nick Cromydas (No. 4).

“We were down 3-1 and Nick (Cromydas) and Evan (Dufaux) weren’t even in the third set yet,” Vanderbilt head coach Ian Duvenhage said. “Ryan (Preston) pulled his match through and then Evan won his. That’s what you call having your back against the wall and finding a way to come through. I’m really proud of those guys.”

The win moved Vanderbilt to 1-1 in the Southeastern Conference and 8-2 overall, while South Carolina fell to 7-4 (0-2 SEC). The match was also the first match played outdoors this season for Vanderbilt.

After winning the doubles point to open the match, Vanderbilt dropped the Nos. 2, 3 and 6 singles matches, and fell behind 3-1. South Carolina evened the score at one, as Diego Cubas was able to top No. 68 Vijay Paul, 6-3, 6-2, in the No. 2 position.

The Gamecocks then took a 2-1 lead in the match when Pedro Campos defeated VU’s Bryant Salcedo, 6-3, 6-2. South Carolina’s final point would come in the No. 6 position where Vanderbilt’s Alex Zotov was defeated by South Carolina’s David Wolff, 7-5, 6-3.

Preston was the first Commodore to earn a victory in singles, as he topped the Gamecocks’ Yevgeny Supeko in the No. 1 position. After winning the first set 6-2 and leading 5-3 in the second set, Preston won the match courtesy of a default by Supeko.

Despite Preston’s win, things were still looking bleak for the Commodores. At the time of his win, Dufaux was just entering a tiebreaker in the second set after losing the first, and Cromydas was trailing 3-4 in the second set after losing the first.

Facing Ivan Cressoni in the No. 5 position, Dufaux dropped the first set, 2-6, before winning the second set 7-6(5) and the third set 6-4. Dufaux trailed 5-3 in the second set before forcing the tiebreaker. Dufaux’s win knotted the score and three and set the stage for Cromydas.

With all eyes watching his match, Cromydas held off South Carolina’s Johannes Pulsfort to clinch the match. Cromydas dropped the first set, 2-6, before winning the final two sets in a tiebreaker. The win halted a four-match losing skid by Cromydas, and gave Vanderbilt a split in its opening weekend of SEC play.

In doubles, Vanderbilt was able to win the point by winning the Nos. 2 and 3 matches.

Adam Baker and Vijay Paul won the first completed doubles match with an 8-4 win over South Carolina’s Thomas Stoddard and Ivan Cressoni in the No. 3 position. The win halted the duo’s three-match losing skid.

Clinching the doubles point for Vanderbilt was Bryant Salcedo and Nick Cromydas, who ran their record to 4-0 this spring and 2-0 in the SEC with an 8-6 victory in the No. 2 position.

In the No. 1 position, Vanderbilt’s tandem of Ryan Preston and Evan Dufaux were defeated, 8-6, by South Carolina’s Diego Cubas and Yevgeny Supeko.

Up next, Vanderbilt will hit the road for a four-match road trip – its longest road trip of the season – beginning Tuesday at No. 68 Northwestern.

Sunday’s Results:
No. 29 Vanderbilt (8-2, 1-1 SEC) def. No. 57 South Carolina (7-4, 0-2 SEC), 4-3

1. Diego Cubas/Yevgeny Supeko (USC) Ryan Preston/Evan Dufaux (VU), 8-6
2. Nick Cromydas/Bryant Salcedo (VU) def. Pedro Campos/Johannes Pulsfort (USC), 8-6
3. Vijay Paul/Adam Baker (VU) def. Thomas Stoddard/Ivan Cressoni (USC), 8-4

Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1

1. No. 97 Ryan Preston (VU) def. Yevgeny Supeko (USC), 6-2, 5-3, default
2. Diego Cubas (USC) def. No. 68 Vijay Paul (VU), 6-3, 6-2
3. Pedro Campos (USC) def. Bryant Salcedo (VU), 6-3, 6-2
4. Nick Cromydas (VU) def. Johannes Pulsfort (USC), 2-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(3)
5. Evan Dufaux (VU) def. Ivan Cressoni (USC), 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4
6. David Wolff (USC) def. Alex Zotov (VU) 7-5, 6-3

Order of Finish: 2, 6, 3, 1, 5, 4