NCAA men's tennis: UCLA's Giron powers into finals

UCLA Athletics


UCLA’s Marcos Giron defeated Texas’ Søren Hess-Olesen 7-5, 6-3 to surge into the finals of the NCAA men’s singles championship. The second-seeded Giron will square off against Pepperdine’s Alex Sarkissian on Monday in Athens, Ga.

Though it was a two-set victory, things did not start out so swimmingly for the Bruin junior from Thousand Oaks, Calif. Danish import and 2014 Big 12 Player of the Year Hess-Olesen broke Giron and took the first three games of the match before Giron kicked it into gear. Giron quickly turned the 3-0 deficit into a 4-4 stalemate and had a chance to break Denmark’s finest in the next game, but Hess-Olesen charged back and held serve with an ace down the middle that appeared impossible to return.

Once the Longhorn took a 5-4 lead, however, Giron would rip off a string of six consecutive games spanning two sets. The second-ranked player in the country would not miss out on his next attempt to break Hess-Olesen, thus taking a 6-5 lead. Serving for the set, Giron did not give up a point on his service and claimed the set with a screaming serve that the 9-16 seed Hess-Olesen couldn’t keep in play.

Giron was starting to put on a clinic. Early in the second set, he landed a beautiful drop shot to end a rally which would help him hold serve and take a 2-0 second-set lead. It looked like the Bruin All-American had a chance to completely run away with the match.

But give credit where credit is due. Falling behind 3-0 in the second set with Giron serving, Hess-Olesen broke the Bruin and then held serve to close the gap to 3-2. The Big 12 rep once again pulled to within one game at 4-3, but that would be the last positive mark for Hess-Olesen. Giron held serve and then broke Hess-Olesen, clinching match point on a double fault by the Longhorn.

This was a bit of a revenge match for Giron, who lost to Hess-Olesen in three sets in the round of 16 in last year’s men’s singles championship.

Looking forward to Monday, Giron defeated Sarkissian 6-2, 6-3 in February. A Giron victory on Memorial Day would give the Pac-12 four of the last five NCAA men’s singles champions, following in the footsteps of Stanford’s Bradley Klahn in 2010 and USC’s Steve Johnson in 2011 and 2012.

Sarkissian defeated Harvard’s Denis Nguyen 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the other semifinal.

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