Bouchelaghem Comeback Sends Dawgs To Pac-12 Final
Apr. 20-23, Ojai, Calif.
Wednesday, Apr. 20 - First Round
(8) Washington def. (9) Oregon, 4-2
Thursday, Apr. 21 - Quarterfinal
(8) Washington def. (1) Arizona, 4-2
Friday, Apr. 22 - Semifinal
(8) Washington def. (5) UCLA, 4-3
Saturday, Apr. 23 - Final
(8) Washington vs. (2) USC or (3) Stanford, 3 p.m. | Live on Pac-12 Networks
OJAI, Calif. – At just seventeen years old, freshman Cesar Bouchelaghem may not know he's supposed to be feeling pressure. For the second-straight day he got the clinching singles win to send the Husky men's tennis team into its first ever Pac-12 Championship final. Bouchelaghem trailed 1-4 in his third set at No. 5 singles, before running off five games in a row to shock UCLA and cement a 4-3 UW win.
Washington's incredibly Pac-12 tourney run at Libbey Park continued, as the Huskies (18-10) backed up their quarterfinal upset of No. 1-seed Arizona with their second win this year over No. 5-seed UCLA. It all started with a hard-fought 4-2 win on Wednesday over Oregon.
?? Playing for the Pac-12 ??
Cesar clinches for the second straight day from 1-4 down ??
— Washington Men's Tennis (@UW_MTennis) April 23, 2022
"It's the best feeling," said Head Coach Matt Anger. "We were walking out of there yesterday and some fans were yelling 'unbelievable' and it was fun, but I said I've been believing all along and we just hadn't done it yet. For sure there's joy and happiness when you're winning close matches, but also relief because we knew we could be winning matches like this. It's fun to make it a reality."
This was already the first semifinal appearance for the Huskies since the team format began in 2012, and now UW will face either Stanford or USC in the final on Saturday at 3 p.m. That match will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks.
"It was a roller coaster ride of a match," Anger said. "We started slow in doubles but finished strong. Then we came out pretty well in singles but slowed down and let them back into the match and they did a good job fighting back. Cesar had ice in his veins. When he was down he kept competing, kept moving, and kept hitting. In those situations there's so much drama and tension and you've got to really work hard to keep playing your own game. He did it again."
The Huskies had a 3-1 lead after winning doubles and getting wins at the top two singles spots from Clement Chidekh and Jack Davis, but UCLA rallied with a third-set win at No. 3 and pulled out a nailbiter on court four, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 over Han-Chih Lin to tie it at 3-3.
At that point Bouchelaghem was down 1-4 in the third set against Stefan Leustian. The Bruin had won the first set in a tiebreak, but Bouchelaghem broke serve to win the second, 6-4, before falling down in the third. But he was down just one service break, and he got that break back to make it 3-4, held serve and then broke again to take the lead, 5-4. Bouchelaghem earned match point and came to net and put away a volley, then pulled out his jersey and waited for his teammates to charge him.
Chidekh earned his third straight-set win of the week at No. 1 singles, taking down 75th-ranked Patrick Zahraj, 6-3, 6-3, and Jack Davis got another big win at No. 2 singles, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, over Giacomo Revelli. Chidekh runs his record to an incredible 17-1 at No. 1 singles and 28-4 for the year, while Davis is up to a career-high 16 dual singles wins as well.
UW's doubles win had plenty of drama at the start of the match. Davis and Ewen Lumsden lost a 6-2 match at No. 1, but Brandon Wong and Bouchelaghem earned a 6-4 win at No. 3 to level it. Chidekh and Nedim Suko then won the final two games to break a 5-5 tie and win, 7-5, clinching the point.
Washington Men's Tennis
Pac-12 Championships – Semifinals
April 22, 2022
Libbey Park | Ojai, Calif.
#53 (8-seed) Washington – 4
#46 (5-seed) UCLA – 3
1. (#6) Clement Chidekh (UW) def. (#75) Patrick Zahraj (UCLA) – 6-3, 6-3
2. Jack Davis (UW) def. Giacomo Revelli (UCLA) – 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
3. Karl Lee (UCLA) def. Ewen Lumsden (UW) – 6-3, 0-6, 6-3
4. Bryce Pereira (UCLA) def. Han-Chih Lin (UW) – 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4
5. Cesar Bouchelaghem (UW) def. Stefan Leustian (UCLA) – 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4
6. Jeff Fradkin (UCLA) def. Nedim Suko (UW) – 6-1, 6-3
Order of Finish: 1, 6, 2, 3, 4, 5
1. Revelli/Zahraj (UCLA) def. (#33) Davis/Lumsden (UW) – 6-2
2. Chidekh/Suko (UW) def. Lee/Wild (UCLA) – 7-5
3. Bouchelaghem/Wong (UW) def. Fradkin/Pereira (UCLA) – 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2