The last home game for the Memphis Tigers this season was iconic, although the team suffered a 4-3 loss against No. 40 Tulane. Sunday’s match also marked the program’s end of its tenure with the Racquet Club of Memphis after the location’s 43 years of existence.
The last home game was also on senior day, which recognized Chris Patzanovsky, the lone senior on the team, for having the eighth most single wins of all time with 66. Aside from Sunday’s home loss, Memphis ended last week with a 1-2 record, with a lone win against SMU and a lost away at Tulsa.
Memphis 3-4 Tulsa
A comeback against the Golden Hurricane came short as the Tigers never won a true road victory this season. In the opening doubles play, Memphis was ousted on courts 1 and 2, which included a ranked matchup with Tulsa’s No. 73 pair of Jarod Hing and Boriss Kamdem defeating the No. 77 duo of Oscar Cutting and David Stevenson 6-4.
The Tigers responded in singles play with two straight wins by Matt Story and Stevenson to give them the 2-1 lead. The Golden Hurricane responded with a comeback of their own with wins on courts 1 and 3 with tiebreak wins in each match. Memphis’ Jan Pallares shortly responded with a second-set tiebreak win defeating Kody Pearson 6-3, 7-6 (4). Cutting sought to clinch the game for Memphis after dropping the first set and winning a second-set tiebreak but fell short in the final set. This would be their final outside performance (only outdoor play of the year) as Sunday’s game was moved inside due to rainy conditions.
SMU 0-4 Memphis
In their first match at home since March 5, the Tigers earned a clean 4-0 sweep against SMU. It was their third win out of the last 12 matches, and their first sweep since defeating Michigan State 7-0 February 8.
Memphis needed a 7-4 tiebreak win by Stevenson and Cutting to gain the opening point in doubles after a 6-4 win by Patrick Sydow and Pallares. Momentum carried Memphis in singles action with Cutting earning a 6-0 win in his first set on court 5 but earned the 2-0 lead for the Tigers after a 7-6 win in the second set. Stevenson later earned a 6-3, 6-3 victory on court 6, and Jeremey Taylor clinched the home victory with a 6-3, 6-2 win over SMU’s Tomas Vaise. The remaining matches were left unfinished for Patzanovsky, Pallares and Story.
Tulane 4-3 Memphis
No. 40 Tulane ruined senior day for Memphis as they overcame dropping the opening doubles point for their fifth straight win. The Tigers earned wins by Cutting/Stevenson and Story/Taylor on courts 1 and 3 for the early advantage.
Tulane took controlling wins at the top two spots to claim their first lead of the game, but Story and Stevenson calmed the situation down with a 6-1, 7-6(5) win on court 3 and a 7-6(5), 6-2 win on court 6, respectively, brought back the lead for the home squad. In the end, Akos Kotorman and Dane Esses battled back for wins on courts 5 and 4 to end the last game played at The Racquet Club of Memphis.
The Final Stretch
The men’s tennis team will end their regular season schedule with a Florida road trip to face AAC foes USF and UCF. The Knights will bring a challenge for the Tigers as they ranked No. 28 in the ITA/Oracle rankings. They will be familiar with Orlando as they AAC Tournament is hosted by the Knights as it kicks off on April 18. First serve in Tampa is set for Friday at 1:30 p.m.