Lafayette, La.—Following an exciting doubles point and competitive matches on all singles courts, the Georgia State men’s tennis team advanced to the Sun Belt Conference Championship match with a 4-0 win vs. South Alabama on Friday.
Georgia State (14-10) advances to the Sun Belt Conference Championship final to take on either host Louisiana-Lafayette or Middle Tennessee State at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Senior Lucas Santa Ana sent the Panthers to the title match with a 6-4, 6-4 victory in the No. 3 singles spot against South Alabama’s Gerhar Gruindelingh. Georgia State won the doubles point and also received singles wins from senior Victor Valente and junior Thomas Cook.
"Coming into this tournament our goal was to play our best tennis at the end of the season which we clearly are doing," said head coach Joerg Barthel. "We are healthy, mentally fresh and ready for the championship match Saturday. This was our best match of the season so far and by being able to beat South Alabama we feel we are taking the momentum from this match into tomorrow."
In dominating fashion, the Panthers jumped out to one-set leads on five of the six courts to begin singles play. Cook was first off the court after he won a 6-4, 6-4 match against USA’s Alex Bernard at No. 2 singles. The win was his second straight singles win and the 45th of his career.
Valente, ranked No. 89 in the ITA National Singles rankings, defeated No. 77-ranked Daniel Leitner by a 6-4, 7-5 margin. The win put Georgia State up 3-0 in the team score. It was Valente’s second win against Leitner, who is the highest-ranked singles player in the Sun Belt Conference. It was his fifth-straight singles win. Santa Ana’s match-clinching singles win followed Valente’s triumph.
The doubles point came down to a tense matchup at the No. 2 slot. Junior Robert Schulze and sophomore Sofiane Chevallier, ranked No. 8 in the ITA Southeast Doubles rankings, trailed by a break the entire match before taking a 7-6 lead. With the score tied 7-7 the duo held on Chevallier’s serve and then won the match 9-7 with a break.
Seniors Lucas Santa Ana and Victor Valente, ranked No. 46 in the ITA National Doubles rankings, cruised to an 8-4 victory. The duo won the match in the No. 1 spot against South Alabama’s Daniel Leitner and Gerhar Gruindelingh.
Visit the men’s tennis page on GeorgiaStateSports.com for links to live stats of Saturday’s championship match.
Georgia State 4, South Alabama 0
1. #89 Victor Valente (GSU) def. #77 Leitner, Daniel (USA) 6-4, 7-5
2. Thomas Cook (GSU) def. Bernard, Alex (USA) 6-4, 6-4
3. Lucas Santa Ana (GSU) def. Gruindelingh, Gerhar (USA) 6-4, 6-4
4. Vaezzadeh, Shayann (USA) vs. Robert Schulze (GSU) 2-6, 5-4, unfinished
5. Hall, Cody (USA) vs. Sofiane Chevallier (GSU) 5-7, 6-4, 1-0, unfinished
6. Gregor, Blake (USA) vs. Paul Schuette (GSU) 6-1, 4-6, 0-3, unfinished
1. #46 Victor Valente/Lucas Santa Ana (GSU) def. Leitner, Daniel/Gruindelingh, Gerhar (USA) 8-4
2. Robert Schulze/Sofiane Chevallier (GSU) def. Bernard, Alex/Gregor, Blake (USA) 9-7
3. Hall, Cody/Vaezzadeh, Shayann (USA) def. Thomas Cook/Paul Schuette (GSU) 8-4