Memphis Prepares For In-State Clash at No. 28 Vanderbilt
Feb. 12, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis men's tennis team (4-1) will face 28th-ranked Vanderbilt on Fri., Feb. 13, at the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville, Tenn. The match begins a stretch for the Tigers in which they will face-off with four SEC programs ranked among the Top-60 team's in the nation in a three week period.
"We are really looking forward to our match with Vanderbilt," said Memphis assistant tennis coach Mark Finnegan. "We think the match will be a nice test to see how much we have grown over the last four matches since the Rice loss. It will be our toughest test since we faced Rice."
The U of M is off to their best start since the 1994-95 season, when former Tiger head coach Tommy Buford led Memphis to a 4-1 start. The U of M finished the season with an 18-9 record. The Tigers continue to be led by Jorge Vazquez at the No. 1 position. Vazquez is currently rated as the No. 102 singles player in the nation. He enters the Vanderbilt match boasting a 5-1 record during the 2009 spring season. In January, the senior from La Coruna, Spain, picked up two victories over players ranked among the Top-30 singles players in the country. Vazquez' only loss on the season came to South Florida's Lucas Jovita, rated as the No. 27 singles player in the nation.
In doubles play, Charlie Ramsay and Jorge Vazquez have won three dual matches this season, with wins over Prairie View A&M, Southeastern Louisiana and Murray State. Benedikt Fischer and Jordan Smith are riding a four-match streak. Fischer and Smith currently brandish a unscathed record of 4-0.
Memphis is coming off of four straight victories since losing to Rice, who was ranked 24th at the time of the loss. The Tigers have earned victories over Prairie View A&M, Southeastern Louisiana, Murray State and Morehead State since their loss to the Owls. The Tigers currently boast three singles players, aside from Vazquez, who are riding winning streaks. Senior Benedikt Fischer and Charlie Ramsay have won their last four matches, while junior newcomer Michael Hayes has picked up wins in his first three matches as a member of the Memphis men's tennis team. Hayes joined the squad in mid-January after transferring to Memphis from Brunel University in London, England.
Vanderbilt enters Friday's match with a 2-2 record. The Commodores are coming off of a 4-3 defeat of 35th-rated North Carolina State last Sunday. Vanderbilt has also defeated No. 30 Boise State this season. Their two losses have come at the hands of 18th-ranked Michigan and No. 29 Auburn. The top of Vanderbilt's singles line-up is led by Bryant Salcedo and Nick Cromydas. Salcedo, a sophomore from Boardman, Ohio, picked up an upset victory over 22nd ranked Clancy Shields of Boise State earlier this season. Salcedo upended Shields, 6-4, 6-1. He has also defeated No. 124 Christian Welte of N.C. State.
In doubles, the No. 1 tandem of Adam Baker and Alex Zotov currently wear a ranking of No. 32 in the current doubles rankings. Baker and Zotov picked up victories over opponents from Boise State, N.C. State and Vanderbilt so far.
On Sunday, the Tigers will return home to face in-town foe Rhodes before they hit the road again to face Mississippi State and Georgia State.