The TCU men’s tennis team’s bid to repeat as the Mountain West Conference Champion fell short Saturday afternoon in a 4-2 loss to top-seeded BYU inside the Air Force Academy Indoor Tennis Center.
No. 57 TCU dropped to 13-13 overall and will find Tuesday if it has been chosen as an at-large selection for the NCAA Tennis Championships. The 36th-ranked Cougars improved to 21-6 and earned the MWC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
“We left everything we had on the court,” TCU coach David Roditi said. “BYU played well, they know how to play indoor tennis at altitude. I thought we could pull the upset beating them in their elements, which are indoor and at altitude. We just came up one tiebreaker short from beating a very good, well-coached team in their elements.”
After BYU had picked up a win at No. 3 doubles to make it one match apiece in doubles play, Paul Chappell and Cameron Nash clinched the doubles point for the Horned Frogs with a dramatic 9-8 (7) triumph over Patrick Kawka and Evan Urbina. The tandems went back and forth throughout the pro-style set before Chappell and Nash scored the tiebreak win.
TCU’s No. 1 duo, Emanuel Brighiu and Christopher Price picked up a win over Georgy Batrakov and Thomas Shubert that was equally as thrilling. The 48th-ranked Brighiu and Price dropped the duo from BYU, 8-6.
The lead for the Purple and White did not last long as No. 109 Patrick Kawka for BYU knocked off Slah Mbarek at No. 4 singles, 6-1, 6-2 to tie the match at 1. BYU extended its lead to 2-1soon after as Batrakov bettered senior Zach Nichols, 6-2, 6-1.
Smith made it 3-1 on the scoreboard in favor of the higher-seeded Cougars with his win at No. 3 singles. He was a 6-3, 7-6 (3) winner over TCU’s Price in a match that saw the two players trade games until the tiebreaker.
TCU’s top player, Brighiu, saw to it that the Frogs would not quietly Saturday afternoon, though, as he battled back to tough out a three-set win over Urbina. The 72nd-ranked Brighiu was a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 winner.
BYU scored its fourth and finalpoint at No. 5 singles as Shubert was able to stop Soren Goritzka’s comeback bid in the second set to eventually pick up a 6-3, 6-4 win over the Frog.
#1 BYU 4, #2 TCU 2
AFA Indoor Tennis Center – Colorado Springs, Colo.
April 30, 2011
No. 1 – # 72 Emanuel Brighiu (TCU) def. Evan Urbina (BYU), 5-7, 7-5, 6-3
No. 2 – Georgy Batrakov (BYU) def. Zach Nichols (TCU), 6-2, 6-1
No. 3 – Spencer Smith (BYU) def. Christopher Price (TCU), 6-3, 7-6 (3)
No. 4 – No. 109 Patrick Kawka (BYU) def. Slah Mbarek (TCU), 6-1, 6-2
No. 5 – Thomas Shubert (BYU) def. Soren Goritzka (TCU), 6-3, 6-4
No. 6 – Daniel Sanchez (TCU) vs. Roman Warias (BYU), 6-3, unfinished
No. 1 – #48 Emanuel Brighiu/Christopher Price (TCU) def. Georgy Batrakov/Thomas Shubert (BYU), 8-6
No. 2 – Paul Chappell/Cameron Nash (TCU) def. Patrick Kawka/Evan Urbina, 9-8 (7)
No. 3 – Spencer Smith/Roman Warias (BYU) def. Zach Nichols/Daniel Sanchez (TCU), 8-6
#1 BYU (21-5, 6-0 MWC); National ranking #36
#2 TCU (13-13, 5-1 MWC); National ranking #57
Order of Finish: Singles (4,2,3,1,5) Doubles (1,3,2)
Match moved indoors due to weather
Mountain West Men’s Tennis Championship Finals