Urbana, Ill.—Georgia State’s top doubles duo of seniors Lucas Santa Ana and Victor Valente could not follow up a school first yesterday, falling 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 to Auburn’s No. 6-ranked duo of Daniel Cochrane and Andreas Mies in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championship on Friday.
Santa Ana and Valente finish the season with a 15-3 record in doubles play and went into the tournament as the No. 60-ranked team in the ITA National Doubles rankings. The two seniors, who are both natives of Brazil, finish their careers as two of the top players in GSU men’s tennis history. Valente has a career singles record of 79-25, the best mark in school history, and a 60-30 doubles mark. Santa Ana is just behind Valente with a 67-24 singles record and a 56-19 doubles mark to end his career. They will go down as the first GSU men’s tennis doubles team to earn a berth in the NCAA Doubles Championship and the first to earn a win of any kind in a NCAA Tournament setting.
The Panthers dropped a hard-fought, back-and-forth match to the top-ranked tandem from Auburn. Santa Ana and Valente started the match red hot, racing to a 6-4 win in the first set. The Panthers utilized two breaks to claim the one-set lead and came up with terrific shots in the clutch. With the score 40-all and GSU leading 5-4, Valente approached the net and fought off three straight forehands aimed at his body and volleyed each deep in the opposing court. It eventually worked the point in his favor where he finished it off with a forehand winner. Valente finished off the set with an ace on his next serve.
After dropping the second set 6-0, the Panthers looked to rally in the deciding third set. In the third set, the Panthers fell behind quickly 3-1, but broke serve to get within one game and held serve to tie the match at 3-all. But Auburn fought back with a hold and a break to take a 5-3 advantage. Forced to win a game while returning serve to extend the match, Santa Ana and Valente responded by earning a break to get within a game at 5-4. But Auburn responded with a break to close the match.
"Lucas and Victor should be proud of the way they represented Georgia State University today and throughout this tournament," first-year head coach Joerg Barthel said. "I am extremely happy that they go the opportunity to compete here at the highest level, and I am sad that I cannot watch them play doubles together anymore. We will miss Lucas and Victor as they have done tremendous things for our program at GSU."
Santa Ana and Valente advanced to the Round of 16 by taking a 6-4, 7-6 (6) win on Thursday against the No. 9-ranked tandem of junior Tom Jomby and freshman Kevin Lai (Kentucky). They fought back from a 5-0 deficit in the second set to win the match. It was the tandem’s second victory this season over a Top 10-ranked opponent after the duo defeated the No. 3-ranked pair of Juan Spir and Vikram Hundal from Georgia Tech earlier this year.
Visit the men’s tennis page on GeorgiaStateSports.com next week for a look back on the historic 2012-13 men’s tennis season.