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Bulldogs see victory slip away

April 22, 2012

(FILE) – Louis Cant evened Saturday's match for MSU with his 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win at the No. 5 singles position. (Photo by Michael Wardlaw, SDN)

The disappointment happened quickly for the Mississippi State men's tennis team.

After a singles victory by James Chaudry gave MSU a 3-2 lead in its match against Georgia Saturday afternoon at the Southeastern Conference Tournament, Georgia dealt a crushing blow taking the final two singles matches within a minute of each other to pull out a 4-3 decision.

"It's crazy," MSU men's tennis coach Per Nilsson said. "Every match except for one went down to the wire and three sets. I knew it was going to be like that. We could have won those and handed Georgia a tough loss. Instead it's us feeling that way."

With the win, Georgia advanced to today's 1 p.m. finals at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

Losing the way the homestanding Bulldogs did was a tough pill to swallow for Nilsson.

"We lost a match we should have won there," Nilsson said. "The guys know it and we knew it. It's disappointing because of that. We lost a match that we feel like we should win."

MSU lost the doubles point to fall into a 1-0 hole, then Zach White was beaten 6-0, 6-3 in the No. 6 singles position.

George Coupland gave State its first point of the day with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 win in No. 4 singles and Louis Cant evened the match with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory in No. 5 singles.

After Chaudry's success for MSU, Malte Stropp lost 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 3-6, and Artem Ilyushin fell 6-2, 3-6, 3-6 to end the match with Georgia on top.

"Sometimes bad habits have a way of coming back and they came back for (Ilyushin) (Saturday)," Nilsson said. "Even though it did, he was still there at the end."

Nilsson said losing doubles where his Bulldogs "didn't play good doubles at all" was a setback, but they were still in it 30 minutes before the match reached its conclusion.

Mississippi State now awaits its NCAA Regional fate, but in the meantime Nilsson said his squad has to get back to practice.

"We have some things to work on," Nilsson said. "We can't beat ourselves, not against a top team. You've got to make them beat you. (Georgia) is going to fight. None of the top teams are going to lay down, but we self-destructed on one of the courts so we'll fix that. We'll give them a couple of days off and come back."

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