The TCU tennis team beat cross-town rival SMU 5-2 Wednesday night at the Bayard F. Friedman tennis center.
The win was TCU’s third in a row and ran their record to 10-12 overall. The loss dropped SMU to 16-7 on the season and shortened their all-time series lead over TCU to 28-26.
The Frogs started fast and swept the Mustangs in doubles action, getting 8-5 wins from the Senior tandem of Emanuel Brighiu and Christopher Price and the duos of Zach Nichols and Daniel Sanchez and Paul Chappell and Cameron Nash.
TCU picked up right where they left off when singles play began.
Nichols had little trouble with SMU’s David Costa, winning 6-3 and 6-1 in straight sets to give the Frogs a 2-0 overall match lead.
The Mustangs would respond, though, with a straight set win of their own when Mischa Nowicki beat TCU’s Slah Mbarek 6-3 and 6-2.
The two schools would each pick up another win to run the score to 3-2 before the end of a pivotal match between Sanchez and SMU’s Darren Walsh.
After Sanchez won the first set 7-6 in tiebreaker fashion, the two battled back and forth for about 30 minutes in a tiebreaker the next set. Sanchez survived seven match points, though, and outlasted Walsh to win the set on a 20-18 tiebreaker and clinch the match for the Frogs.
“He (Walsh) was a big server,” Sanchez said. “I believed I was going to win so I really played hard and maybe got a little lucky on the tiebreaker.”
TCU head coach David Roditi said the key to Sanchez’ win was patience and toughness.
“Basically, you’re taking it one point at a time (in a tiebreaker),” Roditi said. “Daniel was down the whole tiebreaker and it takes a lot of nerve and a thick skin to withstand that kind of pressure in the tiebreaker.”
Roditi said he feels confident in his team as they wrap up the regular season and head into the postseason.
“We’re finally starting to see the results of playing good tennis,” Roditi said. “We all showed up today and when all eight players show up then we’re a very good team.”
The Frogs will be back in action Sunday afternoon when they host Mountain West Conference foe UNLV in the regular season finale. First serve is scheduled for Noon.
TCU (10-12, 4-1 MWC) vs. UNLV (13-9, 2-2 MWC)
When: Noon Sunday
Where: Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center