Men’s Tennis impresses in ITA National Men’s Indoor Championship

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Head Coach David Roditi carefully watches as TCU tries to mount a comeback against Florida last week. Photo by Jack Wallace

Coming off of a loss to No. 4 Florida last weekend, the Horned Frogs rebounded with an upset win over nationally ranked No. 3 Mississippi State 4-1 and a sweep of No. 7 UCLA 4-0.

TCU, ranked No. 15 by ITA Tennis, has now played four consecutive top-10 opponents. Mississippi State is the highest-ranked opponent the Frogs have beaten this year.

Reese Stalder (left) and Bertus Kruger (right) shocked the No. 6 doubles team in a 6-4 win against Mississippi State on Feb 15, 2019. Photo by Jack Wallace

Taming the Bulldogs

TCU defeated Mississippi State earlier this preseason in an identical 4-1 win in the Tempe Collegiate Cup. The rematch went just as well with an upset by Bertus Kruger and Reese Stalder securing the point.

Singles play was dominant, with victories by Stalder, Kruger, and freshmen Luc Fomba and Sander Jong completing the sweep.

“What a great effort and performance by our whole team,” head coach David Roditi said in a statement to GoFrogs.com. “We were in a similar place against Florida a week ago and based on today, we learned from it and we were able to get that fourth team point that can be so hard to get.”

Alastair Gray fell in straight sets against a strong UNC opponent on Feb 16, 2019. Photo by Jack Wallace

Can’t Slow Down the Tar Heels

The quarterfinals match against UNC did not go the Frogs way, as TCU split the singles matches 3-3 after losing the doubles point.

In singles play, the Horned Frogs started off with Jong’s most impressive win of the year, a 6-2, 6-1 win over UNC’s Mac Krieger, ranked No. 84 in the nation.

After Gray’s loss and the Kruger and Rybakov win, the Frogs regained the lead. Unfortunately for TCU, losses by Fomba and Stalder gave UNC the win and a trip to the semifinals.

“Today was a tough loss. North Carolina is always good and always well coached,” Roditi said to GoFrogs.com. “At this level, the margin is so small so we will continue to tighten things up.”

Luc Fomba won both his doubles and singles matches in a huge day for the freshman against UCLA on Feb 17, 2019. Photo by Jack Wallace

Ruin the Bruins

After the UNC loss, TCU looked to have a strong closer to claim the fifth/sixth spot in the final tournament standing, and it delivered.

UCLA was no match for the Frogs as TCU finally broke its doubles cold streak with a 6-3 win by Fomba/Jong and 6-4 win by Kruger/Stalder to clinch.

TCU dominated again on singles with Kruger, Gray and Fomba all winning in straight sets to sweep the Bruins 4-0.

Defying Expectations

TCU was seeded No. 15 in this tournament, but finished inside of the top five teams and defeated three top 10 teams in three consecutive days.

Kruger was the only Frog to finish the weekend undefeated in singles play, a huge bounceback for the South African after his razor-thin defeat against Florida last weekend.

“Coming to this tournament is a huge privilege for any team and every coach knows that winning any match is very hard to do here,” Roditi said to GoFrogs.com. “Two elite teams will leave Chicago 0-3 from this trip and it can happen to any team. Leaving here with a 2-1 record is remarkable and something to be very proud and optimistic about.”

Up Next:

TCU heads down in New Orleans to face the Tulane Green Wave on Feb. 24, and it will then go to Tampa to play the University of South Florida Bulls on Feb. 26.

The next home game for the Frogs comes on March 2 against the Rice Owls.