Nr. 11 Men’s tennis falls to No. 1 TCU, 4-1

Fort Worth – Nr. 11 men’s tennis fell to No. 1 TCU, 4-1, at the Friedman Tennis Center in Fort Worth Saturday.

Longhorns won two top-15 doubles matches and had opportunities in the remaining singles matches, but Horned Frogs got four singles wins.

The double wins came at No. 1 and 2 after TCU had won at No. 3 in the first match at the end. As No. 1, the No. 3 ranked pair is senior Richard Ciamarra and other students Cleeve Harper topped the No. 2-ranked duo of Luc Fomba and Jake Fearnley, 6-4. The Longhorns won their opening serve and followed up with a deuce-point break for a 2-0 lead, but the Horned Frogs answered the break and then held a deuce-point to put the match back on serve. That was where it would remain up to a 5-4 lead for Texas as Ciamarra and Harper came through with the break they needed to take the fight.

It drew attention to No. 2, where the battle between No. 33 pair of sophomores Eliot Spizzirri and Siem Woldeab and No. 11 team Sander Jong and Lui Maxted had fought to a tiebreaker to determine the point. In a reverse opening of the No. 1 game, TCU had come out to a 2-0 lead with a break and a team, but Texas responded with a team and a break to bring it back on course. Despite three deuce points, the rest of the game remained on serve, with the Longhorns winning two on teams for leads of 3-2 and 4-3, while the Horned Frogs averted a match point to Texas, making it 5-5 with Second . The tiebreaker also remained on serve through the first six points to make it 3-3 as Spizzirri and Woldeab grabbed a mini-break for the lead to a 4-0 run to victory.

In the second doubles match at No. 3, with sophomore Micah Braswell unable to play due to injury, second grade Evin McDonald came to junior Chih Chi Huang against Juan Carlos Aguilar and Pedro Vives. Texas held on to their opening serve, but TCU went on a 6-0 run to goals that included winning deuce points in the last three games.

In singles, Longhorns saw significant opportunities in three games, but Horned Frogs reached their required four wins at No. 4, 3, 5 and 2. With Braswell out, freshman became No. 39 Pierre-Yves Bailly played as No. 1 and was close to a victory over No. 18 Luc Fomba at 6-4, 6-5 when the game stopped. Fomba started the match with a break and a deuce-point team for a 2-0 lead and then used another deuce point to keep his next serve at 3-1. Bailly rebounded, however, with a deuce-point break surrounded by two teams for a 3-0 run and 4-3 lead. After both players held their next serve, Bailly secured the set with another deuce point break. The second set remained on serve all the way, with each player winning two deuce points, the most important of which was a match point for Bailly 5-4, but Fomba stayed alive before Bailly closed on the serve.

The second undefeated match came at No. 6, with Huang trailing behind Tim Ruehl, 6-7 (5), 3-2. In the first set, after Ruehl had taken a 4-3 lead on a deuce point break, Huang responded in the next match to get back on the serve, where it turned into a tiebreaker. There, Huang brought a quick 2-0 lead, and although Ruehl twice equalized to 2-2 and 3-3, Huang did not give up the lead and pushed back to a 5-3 edge. But from that point on, Ruehl embarked on a 4-0 run to take the set. In the second, Huang grabbed the first break for a 2-1 lead, which he extended to 3-1 on a deuce-point team, while Ruehl also held behind Huang, 3-2, when the game stopped.

After Texas took a 1-0 lead with the double point, TCU equalized the overall game as No. 89 Woldeab was defeated by No. 113 Fearnley, 6-4, 6-0, which No. 4. Woldeab won the first three games, but Fearnley took 12 of the next 13 to take the fight.

The match at No. 3 was next time when No. 71 Ciamarra was topped by No. 26 Jong, 6-4, 6-2. Jong opened with a break and the rest of the first set remained on serve until Ciamarra got the break back to equalize to 4-4. Jong, however, immediately broke again and held for the set. Like the first, Jong took a break to open the second set, but Ciamarra broke back and held a 2-1 lead. From there, Jong went on a 5-0 run to give TCU an overall 2-1 lead.

The Horned Frogs then extended to 3-1 overall as Harper was defeated by Vives, 6-1, 6-4 at No. 5. Vives sprinted out to a 4-0 lead limited by a two-point team , and although Harper responded with his own deuce point in the next game, Vives closed the set with the following two games. The second set was much closer as it remained on the serve all the way to a 5-4 lead for Vives, who then noted the first break in the frame for the win.

TCU won to No. 2 with a three-set victory of No. 10 Aguilar over No. 62 Spizzirri, 6-4, 0-6, 6-3. Aguilar recorded the first break of the opening set to make it 4-3 and made it 5-3 after serve. After holding, Spizzirri had a chance to break back leading 0-40 in the following match, but Aguilar gathered for the match and the set. The second then completely belonged to Spizzirri as he went on a 7-0 run to both take it and establish a 1-0 lead in the third. Aguilar, however, again picked up the set’s first break for a 4-3 lead at a two-point before holding and breaking again for the match.

The Longhorns (13-9, 1-2 Big 12) next take on a two-game road trip to the state of Oklahoma to end the regular season. They will meet the Sooners in Norman on Thursday, April 14 at 18:00 CT before heading to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State on Saturday, April 16 at 6 p.m. 12:00 CT.

# 1 TCU 4, # 11 Texas 1

Singles – Order of Finish (4,3,5,2)
1. # 18 Luc Fomba (TCU) vs. # 39 Pierre-Yves Bailly (UT) 4-6, 5-6, unf.
2. # 10 Juan Carlos Aguilar (TCU) def. # 62 Eliot Spizzirri (UT) 6-4, 0-6, 6-3
3. # 26 Sander Jong (TCU) def. # 71 Richard Ciamarra (UT) 6-4, 6-2
4. # 113 Jake Fearnley (TCU) def. # 89 Siem Woldeab (UT) 6-4, 6-0
5. Pedro Vives (TCU) def. Cleeve Harper (UT) 6-1, 6-4
6. Tim Ruehl (TCU) vs. Chih Chi Huang (UT) 7-6 (5), 2-3, unf.

Double – order of finish (3,1,2)
1. # 3 Richard Ciamarra/Cleeve Harper (UT) def. # 2 Luc Fomba / Jake Fearnley (TCU) 6-4
2. # 33 Eliot Spizzirri/Siem Woldeab (UT) def. # 11 Sander Jong / Lui Maxted (TCU) 7-6 (3)
3. Juan Carlos Aguilar / Pedro Vives (TCU) def. Chih Chi Huang/Evin McDonald (UT) 6-1

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