TCU rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie Sunday’s match against No. 27 Fresno State, but the Bulldogs earned a comeback win in the final singles decision to hold off the Horned Frogs at Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center, 4-3.
The setback dropped No. 58 TCU’s season record to 6-7, while the Bulldogs improved to 13-6. Sunday marked the ninth match in 13 outings this spring that the Frogs faced a ranked opponent.
After dropping the doubles point and the first two singles decisions, TCU notched three straight wins by junior Zach Nichols, sophomore Slah Mbarek and junior Emanuel Brighiu to knot the match at 3-3.
In the decider at No. 6 singles, junior Christopher Price took the first set against Fresno’s Siddharth Alapati and had match point in the second-set tiebreaker. Siddharth responded by reeling off three straight points to claim the set, then held off Price in the third to clinch the team win for Fresno, 4-6, 7-6(8), 6-4.
Mbarek improved to 3-2 against ranked opponents this spring with a straight-sets victory over No. 123 Tejesvi Veerepalli, 7-5, 6-2. Mbarek is now 4-2 when playing in the No. 3 slot this season. Brighiu’s victory came at No. 1 singles over Mirko Zapletal, 7-5, 7-6(3), as the Frog junior ended a three-match skid, while Nichols also ended a three-match losing streak at the No. 2 position by downing Rikus de Villers, 6-1, 7-6(8).
Fresno earned its other two points with wins at Nos. 4 and 5 singles. Remi Boutillier defated freshman Sören Goritzka at No. 4, 7-5, 6-1, while David Ayoun pushed past freshman Marius Cirstea at No. 5, 6-2, 6-4.
The teams split the opening two doubles matches. De Villers and Boutillier, ranked No. 22 nationally, took down Brighiu and Price at No. 1 by an 8-3 count before Nichols and sophomore Paul Chappell earned an 8-6 victory over Alapati and Veerepalli at the No. 3 spot. Fresno’s Zapletal and Taylor Leiby held off Mbarek and Goritzka at No. 2 doubles, 8-6, to give the Bulldogs the team point.
“I thought we played well,” head coach Dave Borelli said. “The last two days came down to a couple matches, and today we had a match-point opportunity to win. (Alapati) came up with some great shots against Chris (Price), and that proved to be the difference. We started slow in the doubles today, and that hurt us.
“Fresno State is a good team, and we had a chance to win. If we can continue to play at that level and gain a little more confidence, we can be pretty good. Some guys just need to step up for us, and if they do that we can be successful in the conference.”
TCU opens Mountain West Conference play next weekend, when it plays a pair of matches on the road. The Frogs first face UNLV on Friday, April 2, at 2 p.m. CT in Las Vegas, Nev., before taking on San Diego State at 3 p.m. CT on Sunday, April 4 in San Diego, Calif.
#27 Fresno State 4, #58 TCU 3
March 28, 2010
Fort Worth, Texas
Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center/Bernard J. “Tut” Bartzen Varsity Courts
1. #22 Rikus de Villers/Remi Boutillier (FSU) def. Emanuel Brighiu/Christopher Price (TCU) 8-3
2. Taylor Leiby/Mirko Zapletal (FSU) def. Sören Goritzka/Slah Mbarek (TCU) 8-5
3. Paul Chappell/Zach Nichols (TCU) def. Siddharth Alapati/Tejesvi Veerepalli (FSU) 8-6
1. Emanuel Brighiu (TCU) def. Mirko Zapletal (FSU) 7-5, 7-6(3)
2. #99 Zach Nichols (TCU) def. Rikus de Villers (FSU) 6-1, 7-6(8)
3. Slah Mbarek (TCU) def. #123 Tejesvi Veerepalli (FSU) 7-5, 6-2
4. Remi Boutillier (FSU) def. Sören Goritzka (TCU) 7-5, 6-1
5. David Ayoun (FSU) def. Marius Cirstea (TCU) 6-2, 6-4
6. *Siddharth Alapati (FSU) def. Christopher Price (TCU) 4-6, 7-6(8), 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (5,4,2,3,1,6*)
*-clinched team victory