CLAREMONT, Calif. – In a 4 hour, 30-minute thriller, the No. 1-ranked University of Chicago men's tennis team withstood an early deficit and came out the victor in a 5-4 win over host Pomona-Pitzer Tuesday night to open the Maroons' Spring Break competition in California.
Trailing 2-1 after doubles, it took UChicago victories in three, very back-and-forth three-set singles matches to give the Maroons the win. First-year Alex Guzhva proved to be the night's hero, as the rookie withstood Pomona-Pitzer's Jacob Schoenheer in the third and final set, 7-5.
Jeremy Yuan and Alejandro Rodriguez also captured pivotal three-set singles wins, as each responded with a bit of grit after dropping their respective second sets. Maroons' senior Charlie Pei also took care of business in two sets at No. 3 singles – this, after teaming up with first-year Joshua Xu for UChicago's lone win in doubles, an 8-5 margin at No. 3.
Though he didn't come out on top, the performance of first-year Joshua Xu proved to be also inspiring, as the rookie battled leg cramps to lengthen his No. 6 singles match. Xu eventually fell in a close 7-5 final set, before Guzhva was able to secure the match clincher.
"Today's match was an absolute roller coaster from start to finish and we were very fortunate to come away with a win," Head Coach Jay Tee said. "Coming into the match, I thought we were due for somewhat of a letdown after the emotional high of ITA Indoors and a long break during finals, and those fears were almost realized, if it werent for some gritty individual efforts from our guys.
"It looked pretty bleak at the end with our last three matches in third sets, and all three of our guys cramping, but they really dug deep and willed themselves to the finish line. I'm glad that we get to learn some lessons in victory rather than defeat and get to gain even more confidence in ourselves in our third 5-4 win in a row."
1 UCHICAGO 5, #14 POMONA-PITZER 4
1, Jed Kronenberg (PP) def. Erik Kerrigan, 6-3, 6-4; 2, Jeremy Yuan (UC) def. Josh Gearou, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4; 3, Charlie Pei (UC) def. Octave Bellet De Giacomoni, 6-1, 6-1; 4, Alejandro Rodriguez (UC) def. Sam Gearou, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2; 5, Alex Guzhva (UC) def. Jacob Schoenherr, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-5; 6, Quinn Hirsohn (PP) def. Joshua Xu, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5.
1, Bellet De Giacomoni/Josh Gearou (PP) def. Yuan/Raclin, 8-7 (2); 2, Charlie Stark/Avery Bicks (PP) def. Kerrigan/Kumar, 8-7 (4); 3, Pei/Xu (UC) def. Jansen Comadena/Nils Skattum, 8-5.
- Thursday, March 28: #1 UChicago vs. #5 Williams (at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps), 8:30 A.M. PDT