MASON, Ohio – In a match-up full of momentum swings and tension, the University of Chicago men's tennis team knocked off defending national champion Amherst College 5-4 in the NCAA Division III Championship quarterfinals on Monday.
The No. 8-ranked Maroons (19-5) will make their first-ever national semifinal appearance on Tuesday when they take on No. 6-ranked Middlebury College. The No. 2-ranked Lord Jeffs finish their season with a 21-6 record.
Rain delayed the start time of the contest and darkness on the outdoor courts later in the evening held up the No. 4, 5 and 6 singles matches. Amherst grabbed an early 2-1 lead after the conclusion of doubles with wins at No. 1 and No. 2. Freshmen Nicolas Chua and David Liu kept up their hot streak at No. 3 doubles, winning in dominating fashion 8-1 to earn a point for the Maroons. The duo own a perfect 10-0 mark as doubles partners this year.
Singles play was a tight affair throughout as four of the six matches went to three sets. Amherst picked up a three-set win at No. 2, but Chua got the better of his opponent at the No. 1 position with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 victory. The next two matches went to UChicago handily, as freshman Peter Leung won 6-2, 6-0 at No. 4 and freshman Luke Tsai swept at the No. 5 spot (6-0, 6-0).
Amherst won another three setter at No. 3 to tie the match score at 4-4. It all came down to the No. 6 spot, which also went to a deciding third set. As the match stretched past midnight eastern time, Liu fought off muscle cramps and broke his opponent's serve four times in the set. He then converted on his final service game to clinch the team victory 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
"This was the most unbelievable college match I've ever been a part of," said Head Coach Jay Tee. "There were so many ups and downs. David looked like he was done with severe cramping and then he stepped up and played the gutsiest tennis I have ever witnessed in my life. I'm just so proud of the entire team and can't wait to get back out there with them tomorrow."
UChicago 5, Amherst 4
1. Nicolas Chua (UC) def. Andrew Yaraghi (AC) 6-1, 5-7, 6-4
2. Anton Zykov (AC) def. Sven Kranz (UC) 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
3. Michael Solimano (AC) def. Deepak Sabada (UC) 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
4. Peter Leung (UC) def. Aaron Revzin (AC) 6-2, 6-0
5. Luke Tsai (UC) def. Sean Rodriguez (AC) 6-0, 6-0
6. David Liu (UC) def. Andrew Arnaboldi (AC) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
1. Michael Solimano/Aaron Revzin (AC) def. Deepak Sabada/Ankur Bhargava (UC) 8-5
2. Anton Zykov/Andrew Yaraghi (AC) def. Luke Tsai/Max Hawkins (UC) 8-1
3. Nicolas Chua/David Liu (UC) def. Russell Einbinder/Andrew Scheiner (AC) 8-1
- Tuesday, May 19 – UChicago vs. Middlebury College (NCAA Semifinals – Mason, Ohio), 4 PM (ET)