NEW ORLEANS, La. – Alabama State and Jackson State will play for the 2017 SWAC Men’s Tennis Tournament Championship after picking up victories Saturday afternoon at the Pepsi Tennis Center on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.
It will be a meeting of the prior two champions with Alabama State taking home the title in 2015 and Jackson State winning last year in 2016.
The top-seeded Hornets defeated No. 4 Prairie View A&M 4-0 while No. 2 Jackson State outlasted No. 3 Alcorn State 4-3 in a three hour and 45-minute marathon that went into late Saturday afternoon.
Alabama State received a huge lift from junior Karlo Skvorc and sophomore Szabin Pusztay, who each won their singles matches as well as their match together as partners in the No. 2 doubles pairing.
Skvorc won in straight sets against senior Freddy Quintero 6-0, 6-1 at the No. 5 position while Pusztay prevailed in the No. 6 position by beating sophomore Zachary Suico 6-4, 6-2.
Skvorc and Pusztay teamed up to top Quintero and Suico in doubles action 7-6 (3). The Hornets secured the doubles point based upon their win at the No. 3 spot from Tomas Fernandez and Carl Luckmann over Sergio Avella and Anirudh Yadav.
At the No. 2 singles spot, sophomore Ion Efrim defeated junior Ulrick Boyogueno in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.
In the other quarterfinal match, Jackson State junior Stylianos Gkontsaris battled Nuno Rocha to a three-set thriller as both teams from the men’s and women’s side watched the lone remaining match on the courts.
Gkontsaris was lifted up by his teammates after sealing a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win to cement their place in Sunday’s championship.
The Tigers also picked up victories in singles competition from No. 2 Andrey Alawi and No. 6 Vishu Prasad.
Alawi beat freshman Suyash Gupta 6-3, 6-0 and Prasad topped Ivan Matas 6-2, 6-2.
Alawai also teamed with Federico Mendieta Ruiz to upend Nischay Rawal and Rocha 6-4 while Prasad and Gkontsaris zipped past Gupta and Matas 6-0.
Braves No. 1 and SWAC Men’s Tennis Player of the Year Kert Kilumets, No. 3. Nikita Kostikov and No. 4 Nischay Rawal each secured victories in singles competition to push the match to a seventh game.
Alabama State last won the SWAC Men’s Tennis Championship in 2015, its lone title in program history.
Jackson State has four SWAC Championships in their history and will be seeking back-to-back championships.