CHICAGO – Down 4-1 in the third set of the deciding match, University of Chicago's Jeremy Yuan delivered yet another clutch performance on Sunday afternoon. The sophomore reeled off five-straight games to clinch a 5-4 victory for UChicago men's tennis against rival Washington University – St. Louis.
The No. 2-ranked Maroons (15-1 record) topped the No. 6-ranked Bears (13-5) for the second time this season. It was the same victory margin as their February 23 matchup in the semifinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Indoor Nationals.
Playing inside the friendly confines of XS Tennis, UChicago put itself in the pole position by capturing a 2-1 lead after doubles. The No. 2 doubles tandem of senior Charlie Pei and first-year Joshua Xu blazed through the opposition by an 8-1 score, while juniors Erik Kerrigan and Ninan Kumar took the No. 1 spot, 8-5.
Singles action saw Pei and sophomore Alejandro Rodriguez put the Maroons on the brink of victory. Pei won at No. 3 (6-2, 6-4) while Rodriguez had a similar score line at No. 6 (6-3, 6-4). WashU tied it all up however at 4-4, which put all the weight on the No. 2 singles match between Yuan and WashU's Bernardo Neves.
The two players split their previous two meetings this season at the ITA Central Region Championships and ITA Indoor Nationals. Yuan grabbed the opening set 6-3 before Neves pulled out a 7-6 tiebreaker in the second. Neves raced out to a 4-1 advantage in the third, only to see Yuan mount his comeback and serve out the match.
"The guys have been clutch in these 5-4 matches all year and today they wrote another chapter in that book," said Head Coach Jay Tee. "Alejandro and Charlie did a great job to get us within one match of the win. Then arguably our most clutch player, Jeremy Yuan, came back from 1-4 down in the third set to clinch the win for the team, similar to the ITA Indoors final. It's been a fun ride so far this year and we are looking forward to the next few weeks together."
UChicago 5, Washington-St. Louis 4
1. Ethan Hillis (WU) def. Erik Kerrigan (UC) 6-4, 7-5
2. Jeremy Yuan (UC) def. Bernardo Neves (WU) 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4
3. Charlie Pei (UC) def. Daniel Li (WU) 6-2, 6-4
4. Ben vander Sman (WU) def. Joshua Xu (UC) 6-3, 6-2
5. Konrad Kozlowski (WU) def. Alex Guzhva (UC) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
6. Alejandro Rodriguez (UC) def. Koki Takabatake (WU) 6-3, 6-4
1. Erik Kerrigan/Ninan Kumar (UC) def. Konrad Kozlowski/Bernardo Neves (WU) 8-5
2. Charlie Pei/Joshua Xu (UC) def. J.J. Kroot/Daniel Li (WU) 8-1
3. Ethan Hillis/Ben vander Sman (WU) def. Max Liu/Jeremy Yuan (UC) 8-5
- Friday-Sunday, April 26-28 – UChicago at UAA Championship (Altamonte Springs, Fla.)