CHICAGO – Stellar doubles play staked the University of Chicago men's tennis team to a 3-0 lead, and the Maroons survived a singles onslaught to beat Gustavus Adolphus College 5-2 on Sunday.
The No. 2-ranked Maroons (19-2 record) advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship quarterfinals for the fourth time in the past five years. The No. 16-ranked Gusties concluded their year with a 20-8 record.
It was a familiar matchup Sunday afternoon on the XS Tennis indoor courts. UChicago and Gustavus Adolphus have played each other four times in the NCAA third round since 2015.
The hosts flexed their muscles in doubles play, starting at the top spot. Juniors Erik Kerrigan and Ninan Kumar erased an early 2-0 deficit and ran away with the match 8-4 thanks to effective serves and net play.
No. 2 doubles was a tense affair, as senior Charlie Pei and first-year Joshua Xu found themselves trailing 7-5. However, they held strong by breaking GAC's serve and converting their service side to force a tiebreaker. Xu finished off the comeback with an ace to win it 8-7 (8-6) and firm up an imposing 3-0 team lead.
Once singles rolled around, the Gusties came out with purpose and led late in the first set on five out of six courts. The lone Maroon in control was Pei, who rode a big serve and forehand winners to the corners, blazing his way to a 6-1, 6-2 victory.
The first sets divided 3-3, with two tiebreaks going GAC's way. Xu was staring at a 5-3 deficit at No. 4 singles until he gained momentum, scoring four-straight games to go up 7-5. The visitors secured wins at No. 6 and No. 2 singles to chop the deficit to 4-2 while holding leads on two additional courts. But it was Xu who came up clutch, ripping off five games in-a-row in the second set and earning one more service break to win 6-2.
UChicago 5, Gustavus Adolphus 2
1. Patrick Whaling (GAC) vs. Erik Kerrigan (UC) 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 4-0, unfinished
2. Chase Johnson (GAC) def. Jeremy Yuan (UC) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
3. Charlie Pei (UC) def. Yassine Derbani (GAC) 6-1, 6-2
4. Joshua Xu (UC) def. Michael O'Neil (GAC) 7-5, 6-2
5. Nick Aney (GAC) vs. Alejandro Rodriguez (UC) 7-6 (7-5), 5-4, unfinished
6. Indraneel Raut (GAC) def. Alex Guzhva (UC) 6-4, 6-2
1. Erik Kerrigan/Ninan Kumar (UC) def. Patrick Whaling/Chase Johnson (GAC) 8-4
2. Charlie Pei/Joshua Xu (UC) def. Yassine Derbani/Nick Aney (GAC) 8-7 (8-6)
3. Tyler Raclin/Jeremy Yuan (UC) def. Michael O'Neil/Xavier Sanga (GAC) 8-6
- Monday, May 20 – UChicago vs. Amherst College (at Kalamazoo, Mich.)