Men’s tennis squanders big lead in loss at Columbia

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The No. 24 Horned Frogs were unable to capitalize on a 3-0 lead against No. 19 Columbia on Sunday, dropping four straight singles-points to lose the match 4-3.

“We had a full lineup today and we don’t have any excuses,” TCU head coach David Roditi said. “Some of our guys need to get in better shape and the only blame is on them.”

The afternoon opened with TCU taking the doubles point by winning two of the three matches. After seniors Jerry Lopez and Felipe Escobar narrowly lost their match, junior Cameron Norrie and sophomore Reese Stalder defeated No. 30 Shawn Hadavi and Jackie Tang 7-6 (7-0) in a tiebreaker.

Junior Guillermo Nunez and sophomore Alex Rybakov clinched the doubles point winning their fifth straight match against Columbia’s No. 14 duo of Christopher Grant and Adam Ambrozy in yet another tiebreaker 7-6 (7-2). TCU went on to win the next two singles matches on courts one and two. No. 35 Norrie defeated No. 39 Hadavi 6-2, 6-1, and Rybakov topped No. 87 Victor Pham 6-3, 6-1.

With the match seemingly in hand, the Frogs needed one more win to clinch their first victory against a ranked team this season.

After losses by Escobar (6-1, 6-2), Lopez (6-2, 6-4) and No. 80 Nunez (6-3, 3-6, 6-2), the match came down to court five between Stalder and William Matheson. Matheson took set one (6-3), Stalder took set two (6-3), but Matheson won a tiebreaker in set three that wrapped up an incredible comeback by the Lions.

TCU is now 3-3 on the season, continuing a very underwhelming start to 2017 after the Frogs had been ranked as high as seventh in early January.

Roditi said Sunday’s debacle was unacceptable.

“As a coach, it is a lot easier to accept losses when they play well and beat you, but losing because we were out-competed is impossible to accept,” he said.

The Horned Frogs will have plenty of time to improve before welcoming the University of Central Florida to Fort Worth on Saturday Feb. 25. Match time is set for 1 p.m.