TCU Drops New Mexico 4-2; Clinches Spot in Championship Match

Frogs face BYU in Saturday’s championship finals

GREELEY, Colo. – TCU’s second-seeded men’s tennis team grabbed a spot in the championship match of the Mountain West Men’s Tennis Championship for the second-straight year with a 4-2 downing of New Mexico on Friday night at Workout West Tennis and Fitness Club.

The match was moved from Colorado State’s University Tennis Complex to the indoor facility in nearby Greeley during the middle of doubles due to high winds. The No. 57 Horned Frogs improved to 13-12 overall and will face top-seeded BYU in Saturday’s championship finals at 3 p.m., CT in Colorado Springs, Colo., on the campus of the Air Force Academy.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the guys based on the circumstances,” TCU coach David Roditi said. “To be moved around, to have play stopped, to not know when they were going to eat, it took a total team effort to win this match. What a great college tennis match and without our great senior class, we wouldn’t have been able to get this win.”

With the match tied at 2, junior Slah Mbarek captured a thrilling three-set win to provide the spark TCU needed when he scored TCU’s third point with a 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 win at No. 4 singles. His win paved the way for Daniel Sanchez’s win at No. 6 singles to clinch TCU’s berth in the finals.

Mbarek fell behind 2-3 early inthe third set before rattling off wins in the next three games to take a 5-3 lead. The Tunis, Tunisia squandered the lead to let Carl Ho tie the match at five games apiece. Mbarek broke Ho’s serve to take a 6-5 lead then won a marathon 12th game for the 7-5 set win.

Sanchez continued his run of steady play to score the clinching point for the Frogs with his 6-3, 6-3 triumph over UNM’s Joe Wood. The Monterrey, Mexico, native improved to 15-6 during the spring, including a 13-1 mark at the No. 6 spot.

TCU also needed some heroics and a team effort to win the crucial doubles point to open the match.

With their backs against the wall, TCU’s No. 1 doubles tandem of Emanuel Brighiu and Christopher Price found yet more magic in the postseason, digging out of a 2-5 hole to notch a 9-7 win. The 48th-ranked Frog duo won three-straight games while down 3-6 to even the match at six games apiece.

After staying on serve at 6-7 and 7-7, Brighiu and Price broke the serve of No. 62-ranked Phil Anderson and Jadon Phillips before holding their own serve for the doubles point-clinching victory.

Sanchez and Zach Nichols provided the other win in doubles for the Purple and White. The No. 3 Frog duo jumped out to a 5-2 lead before coasting to an 8-4 triumph over Ho and Wood for their second win of the tournament.

After making quick work in doubles, Nichols was ready to get right back to business on the singles courts. The Austin, Texas, product got out to a 4-0 lead before allowing Ben Dunbar to battle back and force a tiebreak. Nichols dominated the tiebreak for a 7-2 win.

The Frog senior kept it rolling in the second set, picking up six quick wins to polish off a 7-6 (2), 6-0 win. It was Nichols’ second win of the conference tournament and put TCU in front 2-0.

#2 TCU 4, #3 New Mexico 2
Workout West Tennis and FitnessClub – Greeley, Colo.
April 29, 2011
No. 1 – Jadon Phillips (UNM) def. #72 Emanuel Brighiu (TCU), 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4
No. 2 – Zach Nichols (TCU) def. Ben Dunbar (UNM), 7-6 (2), 6-0
No. 3 – Phil Anderson (UNM) def. Christopher Price (TCU), 6-4, 6-3
No. 4 – Slah Mbarek (TCU) def. Carl Ho (UNM), 2-6, 6-4, 7-5
No. 5 – Soren Goritzka (TCU) vs. Conor Berg (UNM), 6-4, unfinished
No. 6 – Daniel Sanchez (TCU) def. Joe Wood (UNM), 6-3, 6-3

No. 1 – #48 Emanuel Brighiu/Christopher Price (TCU) def. #62 Phil Anderson/Jadon Phillips (UNM), 9-7
No. 2 – Conor Berg/Ben Dunbar (UNM) def. Paul Chappell/Cameron Nash (TCU), 8-5
No. 3 – Zach Nichols/Daniel Sanchez (TCU) def. Carl Ho/Joe Wood (UNM), 8-4

#2 TCU 13-12 (5-1 MWC); National Ranking #57
#3 New Mexico 15-10 (4-2 MWC)
Order of Finish: Singles (2,3,) Doubles (3,2,1)
Mountain West Men’s Tennis Championship Semifinal
Match moved to an indoor facility in Greeley, Colo., midway through doubles.

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