In a year full of successes for MSU sports, the men's tennis squad is the latest to reach a high level in the postseason with their advancement into the NCAA Tournament Round of 16. After a first round defeat of the Memphis Tigers by a score of 4-1, Mississippi State moved on to face the host Fighting Illini of Illinois, ranked No. 15 in the country, in the second round.
Beginning with doubles, Rishab Agarwal and Niclas Braun led the way with their first win of the season, a 6-3 victory over Illinois tandem, Jared Hiltzik and Asher Hirsh. Mate Cutura and Vaughn Hunter, ranked 47th in the country, followed by posting a 7-5 victory over the 87th ranked duo of Aron Hiltzik and Aleks Vukic.
As far as singles play goes, State continued to cruise by taking four of the first six sets from the home team. Luka Sucevic, a freshman, took down Hirsh 6-1, 6-3 while another freshman, Braun, defeated Julian Childers 6-1, 6-2, in his 27th overall singles win of the season.
Another freshman, Nuno Borges, stepped up in a huge way with a victory over No. 60 Aron Hiltzik, 6-2, 6-4. This win gave MSU the overall victory for the day, 4-0, and led to the team earning a spot in the Round of 16.
Due to the team clinching victory by Borges, the matches for Cutura, Agarwal, and Strahingja Rakic were suspended midway through.
The Dawgs now stand at 18-11 on the season, while the Illini finished at 20-11 for the 2016 campaign. State will now face No. 3 North Carolina on Friday, May 20th at 4 p.m. CT at Tulsa. This will be MSU's 12th ever visit to the Round of 16, including its fourth since 1999 when the field was expanded to 64 teams.