Vanderbilt outfought East Tennessee State University and won its opening round match in the NCAA men's tennis tournament 4-0 Friday afternoon on the Commodore courts.
Vanderbilt (17-10) won the doubles point, then used straight-set wins by Rhys Johnson and ace Ryan Lipman for a 3-0 lead before a late afternoon shower forced the match indoors.
Sophomore Gonzales Austin put the final touches on the win when he stormed back from losing the first set to beat Rogerio Ribeiro 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in a three-hour, 20-minute match. One other match had split sets, and another appeared close to split sets.
"It definitely wasn't easy, ETSU fought hard, and we were battling windy conditions out there,'' Lipman, who beat Buc ace Jesus Bandres 6-2, 6-1 to make it 3-0 before the rains came. Austin closed out the match 20 minutes after it was moved indoors.
Vanderbilt will meet Illinois in the region final 2 p.m. Saturday. The Illini beat Georgia State 4-0 earlier in the day in a match that was also delayed by rain.
"It will be a tough match,'' Lipman said. "Illinois is very good up and down the lineup.”
• The Vanderbilt women also won their opening round match with a 4-0 win over Indiana in the Clemson, S.C., Region Friday. Ashleigh Antal and Frances Altick won the final two points at No. 5 and 6 singles for the Commodores (16-11).
Vanderbilt will meet host Clemson in the finals 10 a.m. Saturday. The teams have split four all-time meetings, 2-2.