No. 22 Auburn tops No. 34 MT

AUBURN, Ala. – Putting the wraps on its four-match road swing, Vanderbilt’s 34th-ranked men’s tennis team dropped a 5-2 decision to No. 22 Auburn on Friday at the Yarbrough-Tennis Center.

Despite falling behind in the match 3-1, the Commodores (9-5, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) wouldn’t go down easily. In the final three singles matches, Vanderbilt and Auburn (9-6, 3-2 SEC) went three sets in each match before Auburn’s Alex Petropoulos was able to breakthrough and clinch the match (4-1) with a 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 win over Vanderbilt’s Bryant Salcedo in the No. 5 position.

The loss was Vanderbilt’s third in a row, as the Commodores’ closed their season-long road trip with a 1-3 record. For Auburn, the win snapped a two-match losing streak. The Tigers are now 3-0 at home in the SEC.

After dropping the doubles point, Vanderbilt was able to even the score at one, as Alex Zotov earned a 6-4, 6-4 win over Auburn’s Milan Krnjetin in the No. 6 singles position.

The win for Zotov was his third in the last four matches, moving his record to 19-9 overall and 2-3 in the SEC.

Following Zotov’s win, Auburn was able to win two straight singles matches to take a 3-1 advantage in the match. The Tigers’ second point came in the No. 2 position, where No. 101 Vijay Paul was defeated by Auburn’s Tim Puetz (No. 114), 6-4, 6-0.

Auburn’s third point came in the No. 4 position, as the Tigers’ Pawel Dilaj defeated Vanderbilt’s Evan Dufaux, 6-3, 6-2. The match was just Dufaux’s second of the season in the No. 4 position.

After Auburn had clinched the match at 4-1 with Petropoulos’ win in the No. 5 position, Vanderbilt’s Nick Cromydas won his second straight match with a 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory over AU’s Lukas Marsoun in the No. 3 position. The win moved Cromydas’ record to 3-2 in the SEC.

In the final match of the day, No. 75 Ryan Preston dropped a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 decision to No. 35 Alexey Tsyrenov of Auburn in the No. 1 position.

For the second match in a row, Vanderbilt dropped the doubles point, as Auburn won two of the three matches.

The first completed match came in the No. 1 position, where Auburn’s Alexey Tsyrenov and Terence Nugent topped VU’s Ryan Preston and Evan Dufaux, 8-3.

The Tigers were able to clinch the match in the No. 3 position, as Auburn’s Pawel Dilaj and Milan Krnjetin downed Vanderbilt’s duo of Vijay Paul and Adam Baker, 8-3.

Vanderbilt’s lone win in doubles came in the No. 2 position, where Nick Cromydas and Bryant Salcedo moved their record to 7-1 this spring with an 8-7 win over Auburn’s Tim Puetz and Lukas Marsoun.

Up next, Vanderbilt will return home to face No. 23 Alabama at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Currey Tennis Center.

Friday’s Results:
No. 22 Auburn (9-6, 3-2 SEC) def. No. 34 Vanderbilt (9-5, 1-4 SEC), 5-2

1. Alexey Tsyrenov/Terence Nugent (AU) def. Ryan Preston/Evan Dufaux (VU), 8-3
2. Nick Cromydas/Bryant Salcedo (VU) def. Tim Puetz/Lukas Marsoun (AU), 8-7
3. Pawel Dilaj/Milan Krnjetin (AU) def. Vijay Paul/Adam Baker (VU), 8-3

Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2

1. No. 35 Alexey Tsyrenov (AU) def. No. 75 Ryan Preston (VU), 4-6, 6-2, 7-6
2. No. 114 Tim Puetz (AU) def. No. 101 Vijay Paul (VU), 6-4, 6-0
3. Nick Cromydas (VU) def. Lukas Marsoun (AU), 2-6, 6-2, 7-5
4. Pawel Dilaj (AU) def. Evan Dufaux (VU), 6-3, 6-2
5. Alex Petropoulos (AU) def. Bryant Salcedo (VU), 2-6, 6-2, 7-5
6. Alex Zotov (VU) def. Milan Krnjetin (AU) 6-4, 6-4

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