Duke, Ole Miss freshmen win NCAA tennis titles

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Mississippi’s Devin Britton and Duke’s Mallory Cecil overcame their inexperience on the final day of the NCAA Division I tennis tournament.

The unseeded Britton became the youngest men’s singles champion ever, while fellow freshman Cecil claimed the women’s singles title at the Mitchell Tennis Center at Texas A&M on Monday.

Britton ended Ohio State senior Steven Moneke’s 22-match win streak with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory. Cecil continued her run against Miami players, outlasting Laura Vallverdu 7-5, 6-4 in a 2-hour, 20-minute match.

“It’s and awesome feeling, great for Mississippi tennis,” said Britton, who turned 18 on March 17. “I definitely surprised myself and didn’t see this coming. I just took it one match at a time and didn’t have any mental lapses.”

Moneke broke Britton once and won the first set in a swift 26 minutes.

Moneke continued to put the pressure on Britton early in the second, gaining break points at 2-2, but once Britton escaped that game, he went on to win five straight games, including the first of the decisive set.

“I definitely picked up my serve in the second and third sets and was able to attack his second serve,” Britton said. “I started mixing up the slice a little bit and just got better and better as the match went on.”

Britton broke to go up 4-2 in the final set and held serve at 30 to close out the victory.

The final point was a backhand error by Moneke, who despite being the first Buckeye to make the NCAA singles final was disappointed he wasn’t able to build on the momentum from his first set.

It was Moneke’s second final in a week. The Buckeyes lost to Southern California in the team tournament.

Britton, who entered Mississippi in January, went 28-9 for the Rebels.

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2 Responses to “Duke, Ole Miss freshmen win NCAA tennis titles”

  1. Noggin Says:

    Do you think he will return or go pro?

  2. tupelotalk Says:

    I’m guessing he returns. He’s obviously got the skills, but he was an unseeded freshman.

    Hopefully coach can talk him into gutting out a few years in O-town !!!

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