Bama men's tennis hosts final pair of SEC home matches

TUSCALOOSA, AL. – The 42nd-ranked Alabama men's tennis team (9-8, 2-6 SEC) welcomes No. 32 Mississippi (10-6, 4-4 SEC) and No. 25 Mississippi State (9-6, 4-2 SEC) this weekend for the Crimson Tide's final pair of Southeastern Conference home matches. Alabama will first face the Rebels on Friday, April 8, at 3 p.m. before taking on the Bulldogs on Sunday, April 10, at 1 p.m. All matches will be played at the Alabama Tennis Stadium.

"We face another set of challenging opponents this weekend with Mississippi and Mississippi State coming to town," Alabama head coach Billy Pate said. "We are happy to be at home for these two key matches. Mississippi has, year-in and year-out, been very strong, and this year is no exception. Mississippi State is a team that has been on the rise the last four years. They are playing very good tennis right now, and it will be an intense match as well."

The Tide split a pair of matches on the road last week, first posting a 4-3 comeback win over No. 69 Arkansas before falling in a close 5-2 loss to No. 34 LSU. In Friday's match in Fayetteville, Alabama dropped the doubles point and the matchup on court one singles, but won four straight singles matches after that for the team victory over the Razorbacks. Junior Vikram Reddy would provide the clincher for the Tide on court four singles. On Sunday against the Tigers, Alabama was edged out in doubles and fell in four of the six singles matches, with a trio being decided in three sets.

Mississippi entered last weekend on a four-match winning streak, but that was snapped after being edged out in both of its contests in 4-3 fashion to No. 7 Georgia and No. 4 Tennessee. The Rebels hold a record of 3-3 on the road thus far. Alabama is 29-31 against Mississippi, as the last matchup went in favor of the Rebels, 4-3, in Oxford.

Mississippi State started last weekend off with a bang as the Bulldogs dominated fourth-ranked Tennessee, 6-1. Following the win, however, Mississippi State was topped by Georgia on Sunday, 4-3. The Bulldogs currently hold a 43-32 edge in the all-time series between the schools, though the Tide won last season's meeting, 4-3, in Starkville.

"Last year, we rallied to beat Mississippi State 4-3 in an exciting match, and we lost 4-3 to Mississippi when we had the upper hand," Pate added. "We expect it could be that type of match with each of them this weekend, so we need to be strong mentally and physically."

Next up, the Tide will step out of SEC play as it hosts UAB on Wednesday, April 13, at 5 p.m. CT.

INFORMATION SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics