ORLANDO, Fla. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - One of the greatest careers in Mississippi State athletics history – and the greatest in MSU Men’s Tennis lore - came to an end on Saturday afternoon at the USTA National Campus, as MSU’s top-seeded and top-ranked Nuno Borges dropped a hard-fought 6-3, 7-6(2) decision to South Carolina’s fourth-seeded fifth-ranked Paul Jubb in the singles final of the 2019 NCAA Championship.
Borges concluded his illustrious career as one of the most decorated players in college tennis history, on and off the court, finishing with a remarkable 37-3 overall singles mark in 2019. Entering Saturday’s match, Borges held an incredible 31-match winning streak that goes down as the longest in program history.
In the first set, Jubb went up an early break at 1-0, but Borges broke back and held to go up 2-1. The two All-SEC players would trade punches until Jubb broke the senior Borges on a deciding point to lead 4-3. He would not relinquish that advantage, holding on a deciding point to lead 5-3 before breaking again to take the first set 6-3.
The second set was much tighter, despite Jubb going up a break early at 2-0. Borges would not go away, breaking back on a deciding point and holding to knot up the set score at 2-all.
Borges and Jubb remained even throughout the set, going to a tiebreaker that would ultimately decide the match. In the breaker, Jubb mounted to a quick 3-0 lead that would prove difficult for Borges to overcome. The Bulldog cut Jubb’s lead in half at 4-2, but the Gamecock would claim the last three points to claim the title and hoist the 2019 NCAA Singles championship trophy.
Borges career, which stands as one of the best in college tennis history, includes five All-American honors (three in singles, two in doubles). He was the first Bulldog ever to reach both the NCAA Singles Championship semifinals and final, and also reached the NCAA doubles quarterfinals twice, while also inking his name all over the record books for years to come. This season, Borges was the first player to reach three straight NCAA singles semifinals since Virginia’s Somdev Devvarman from 2006-08.
“I look back, and it’s amazing what I’ve done,” Borges said. “People tell me how great my career has been and I have to take from that moving foward. I should be proud of myself for what I’ve done and take all of the positives from my tennis into the future.”
The three-time SEC Player of the Year is the only player to ever earn the honor three times, joining names such as Pete Maravich and Herschel Walker, among others to be three-time league athletes of the year. Off the court, Borges has been equally as impressive, earning back-to-back SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors as the only player in conference history to win both the Player and Scholar-Athlete awards.
On a national level, Borges made his name known for his stellar play on the court as well as his level of sportsmanship, earning the 2018 National Arthur Ashe, Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award before being named this year’s ITA National Senior Player of the Year.
In his career, Borges amassed a staggering 121 singles triumphs while adding 68 doubles victories to total 189 overall triumphs as a Bulldog, which ranks first all-time in the MSU Men’s Tennis record books. He also ranks first in three other wins categories, including dual match wins (135), dual match singles victories (81) and wins by a doubles pair (57 with Strahinja Rakic). More impressively, he is now State’s all-time leader in overall winning percentage (74.4%, 189-65), singles winning percentage (84.0%, 121-23), overall dual match winning percentage (75.8%, 135-43) and singles dual match winning percentage (87.1%, 81-12).
“Nuno’s a warrior,” head coach Matt Roberts said. “I was happy that he was able to develop here at Mississippi State and use our program to take him to the next level to where he can be a successful tennis pro. That, for me, is a huge step forward for our program. I’m just really proud of him for being such an incredible ambassador for Mississippi State and for college tennis. We can’t wait to see what he does on the pro tour, and he always has a family here at Mississippi State.”
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MSU at the 2019 NCAA Singles & Doubles Championships
May 25, 2019 – Orlando, Florida (USTA National Campus)
Final – #5 Paul Jubb (South Carolina)  def. #1 Nuno Borges (MSU)  6-3, 7-6(2)
Numbers preceding names indicate current national rankings
Numbers in brackets are NCAA Championship seedings