BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The 35th-ranked Clemson men’s tennis team knocked off 49th-ranked Alabama 4-1 Friday afternoon in the opening round of the annual Blue Gray Classic. The Tigers advance to face Princeton Saturday at 11:30 a.m. in the tournament semifinals. Clemson improved to 6-4 on the season with the win, while Alabama fell to 2-6.
Clemson clinched the doubles point in the match thanks to victories from Christian Harris and Hampton Drake at No. 2 and Austin Ansari and Alejandro Augusto, playing for the first time together this season, at No. 3. Hunter Harrington and Luke Johnson, also playing together for the first time this season, led 5-3 at No. 1 doubles before their match was called.
From there, Alabama quickly tied the match with a win by freshman Korey Lovett at No. 1 singles. Clemson stormed back to take the match 4-1 courtesy of wins by Ansari, Daffra Sanon and Johnson at No. 4, 5 and 6 singles, respectively. Sanon, a transfer from the University of Washington, continued his strong play of late, rolling to a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 5. Augusto and Drake both led their respective singles matches prior to the match being clinched.
“Today, we played gritty,” head coach Chuck McCuen said. “The guys went back to their fundamentals that they have worked hard on for weeks. The team played solid in doubles and fought off a good Alabama team in singles. These guys are willing to persevere and stay out on the court all day.”
Clemson advances to the tournament semifinals and faces Princeton Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m.
No. 35 Clemson 4, No. 49 Alabama 1
Order of finish: 3, 2
Order of finish: 1, 5, 6, 4
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