Csonka Clinches as Men's Tennis Defeats No. 37 Alabama
Communications Graduate Assistant
BATON ROUGE — With the match at 3-2 and court two forced into a third set, senior Gabor Csonka powered through and clinched the match with a gritty, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, win against Thibault Cancel, leading the Tigers to a 4-3 win against No. 37 Alabama Friday evening at the LSU Tennis Complex.
With the win, LSU improves to 8-5 on the season and 1-2 in Southeastern Conference play, while Alabama drops to 14-4 overall and 0-3 in the league.
Co-Head Coach Chris Brandi on the Match
“We needed to win one like that,” co-head coach Chris Brandi said. “It was a close one, and a couple of those hadn’t quite gone our way yet. It was a lot of fun to win that one, especially with a close doubles point. I would say that was a classic college tennis match where the momentum went both ways multiple times. We feel pretty good about things because we only had about two guys who played really well in singles. If we can get four or five or six different guys playing really well every day, we can win a couple more of these and make it interesting.”
The Tigers grabbed their first doubles point in SEC play in nail-biting fashion. Sophomore duo Agie Moreno and Rafael Wagner nabbed a 6-3 win against No. 40 pair Cancel and Alexey Nesterov on court two.
LSU’s Csonka and Julian Saborio suffered their first loss of the dual season on court one and moved to 5-1 on the year after No. 31 Edson Ortiz and Mazen Osama took a 6-4 win.
After falling behind early, Shane Monroe and Stewart Block pulled the match against Zhe Zhou and Riccardo Roberto to 4-4 and eventually worked it to a 6-6 tie. After falling behind in the tiebreaker, 1-0, the Tiger pair dominated and clinched the doubles point, 7-6(3).
Alabama tied the match 1-1 with a win on court four after Ortiz worked a straight-set, 6-4, 6-0 win against Saborio.
Wagner gave LSU the 2-1 edge, defeating Zhou, 6-4, 6-4, on court three. Monroe followed shortly after with a 6-4, 6-4 win against No. 92 Osama on court one. The win marked Monroe’s first win against a ranked opponent this season.
Alabama’s Roberto took a hard-fought match from Moreno, 7-5, 6-4, on court six, and the Tide pulled within one, 3-2.
Csonka clinched the match against Cancel on court two in dramatic fashion, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, and
Alabama added its final point of the match on court five when Nesterov took a three-set win against Nikola Samardzic, 2-6, 7-6(3), 2-6.
The Tigers continue action against the Tennessee Volunteers at noon Sunday in the Goodfriend Tennis Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.
LSU returns home on Friday, March 23, for a match against the Georgia Bulldogs.
For up-to-date information and behind-the-scenes access on the Tigers, fans can follow the LSU men's tennis team on Twitter and Instagram at @lsutennis and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lsutennis.
LSU 4, #37 Alabama 3
1. Shane Monroe (LSU) def. #92 Mazen Osama (UA) 6-4, 6-4
2. Gabor Csonka (LSU) def. Thibault Cancel (UA) 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
3. Rafael Wagner (LSU) def. Zhe Zhou (UA) 6-4, 6-4
4. Edson Ortiz (UA) def. Julian Saborio (LSU) 6-4, 6-0
5. Alexey Nesterov (UA) def. Nikola Samardzic (LSU) 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2
6. Riccardo Roberto (UA) def. Agie Moreno (LSU) 7-5, 6-4
1. #31 Edson Ortiz/Mazen Osama (UA) def. Gabor Csonka/Julian Saborio (LSU) 6-4
2. Rafael Wagner/Agie Moreno (LSU) def. #40 Thibault Cancel/Alexey Nesterov (UA) 6-3
3. Shane Monroe/Stewart Block (LSU) def. Zhe Zhou/Riccardo Roberto (UA) 7-6 (3)
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (4,3,1,6,2,5)