NCAA Men's Tennis Championships: Cal, UCLA advance to quarterfinals, USC, Stanford fall

California

In an instant classic, No. 13 Cal men's tennis thwarted No. 4 seeded TCU Thursday in a thrilling 4-3 upset victory and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships in Tulsa, Okla. The Bears will face No. 5 Ohio State on Sunday for the right to advance to the national smeifinals. 

The see-saw affair in Tulsa came down to a final singles match between Andre Goransson and Alex Rybakov, a three-set thriller that went the way of Cal's star senior from Sweden.

Cal got the early advantage by winning the doubles point with match wins from the pairs of Filip Bergevi-FlorianLakat (7-5) and Andre Goransson-Oskar Wikberg (7-6) on courts 1 and 2. After that, a tense singles battle played out to the last possible point.

On court 1, TCU promptly tied things up with Cameron Norrie winning 6-4, 6-1 over Lakat. Wikberg would then put the Bears up 2-1 overall after Eduardo Nava retired with injury. Bergevi would then give the Bears a commanding 3-1 lead with a 6-2, 6-3 decision on court 4. For the Cal fans who made the trip to Tulsa, the quarterfinals seemed within reach. 

 

However, the Horned Frogs wouldn't go quietly into the afternoon, as they came roaring back with a 6-4, 6-4 win courtesy of Guillermo Nuńez to cut the Bears lead to 3-2. Trevor Johnson would knot things up with an impressive 3-set thriller, defeating JT Nishimura 4-6, 6-3 and 6-3.

Suddenly, the Bears found themselvies in a do-or-die situation on court 2, where Goransson was squaring off with Rybakov with the winner sending his respective team to the NCAA quarterfinals. As if it were written in a Hollywood script, Goransson and Rybakov would each take a set 4-6, 6-3, bringing the an Elite Eight berth to a riveting third.

After trailing 3-1 in the final set, Goransson would come right back to tie things up at 3-3. After more back-and-forth tennis that likely had Bears fans reaching for their defibreltors, Goransson sealed the deal, winning the third set 7-5 and sending the Bears to the quarterfinals. 

USC

USC would also be a part of a 4-3 decision, but unfortunately were on the wrong side, falling to Georgia in the third round Thursday in Tulsa, Okla. 

Things started off well, as match wins from from Tanner Smith/Jack Jaede and Nick Crystal/Laurens Verbon gave the men of Troy the doubles point in the early going. Jade Jaede then gave the Trojans a 2-0 lead with a swift 6-3, 6-4 decision against Jan Zielinski. Georgia would get one back with Wayne Montgomery giving the Bulldogs their first point of the day in a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Nick Crystal. Thibault Forget would have a match he won’t soon forget with a 6-2, 7-6 win to give the Trojans a commanding 3-1 victory.

 

 

Then, the comeback. 

It all started with Rob Bellam taking a tough three-set loss to Nick Wood 4-6, 6-2 and 6-1, which brought Georgia within striking distance at 3-2. Paul Oostebaan would tie things up at 3-3 with a 6-2, 7-6 victory over Logan Smith. 

It all came down to the Max de Vroome-Austin Smith match up on court one. After a grueling first set in which Smith won 6-7(5), de Vroome came right back to even things up with an impressive 6-1 second set. De Vroome would bring USC on the precipice, taking a 5-3 lead in the final set, but Smith went on to take 4 consecutive points and the match victory for the Georgia Bulldogs.

UCLA

As the NCAA seeding process would have it, a battle of Pac-12 teams ensued with No. 3 seeded UCLA taking on Stanford for a trip to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships. The Bruins ousted the lower seeded Cardinal 4-3 and will battle upstart Oklahoma with a trip to the Elite Eight on the line. 

Stanford would take the early advantage, snatching the doubles point with match wins from Tom Fawcett/Maciek Romanowicz and Yale Goldberg/Sameer Kumar.

Stanford’s 1-0 lead after their double point win would be the only lead they’d have for the rest of the match, as UCLA would win 3-straight matches and 6 straight sets as Mackenzie McDonald, Martin Redlicki and Gage Brymer would all come through for the Bruins. 

With a commanding 3-1 lead, the Cardinal did their best to fight back with a 6-3, 7-6 decision in favor of Maciek Romanowicz. The Bruins delivered the fatal blow with a convincing 6-7, 6-3 and 6-0 decision courtesy of the senior Karue Sell.

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