March 5, 2010
FORT WORTH—The TCU men’s tennis team earned its most impressive victory of the season Friday during a 6-1 home decision against No. 24 Tulsa at Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center. The Frogs successfully avenged last season’s loss to the Golden Hurricane in the opening round of the NCAA Team Championships.
TCU improved to 5-2 this season with its second straight victory. The squad is now 2-2 against ranked opponents in the 2010 spring dual match season.
“I thought that we competed very well today, but I told the team that this was the way that we have to play all of the time,” head coach Dave Borelli said. “Tulsa is a very good team and a class act and it’s always nice to get a win over those guys. I think this was a good confidence booster for us and we needed that. We just have to keep getting better.”
TCU opened Friday’s competition by earning the doubles point in thrilling fashion before dominating singles play by a 5-1 margin.
Junior Zach Nichols made his first career match at No. 2 singles a success with one of the most impressive victories of his career, a comeback winner over Ashley Watling, the nation’s 31st-ranked player. Nichols dropped the first set before rolling in the second and third sets to victory, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0. The win clinched TCU’s team victory.
Sophomore Slah Mbarek also continued his recent strong singles play with his third straight win, and second in a row at the No. 1 position. Mbarek breezed by No. 115 Philip Stephens in straight sets for the Frogs’ first singles point, 6-2, 6-1. The win marked the Frog sophomore’s third over a ranked opponent in his career.
Mbarek and Nichols both improved to 6-1 in singles play this spring.
Junior Christopher Price also claimed victory in straight sets at No. 6 singles over Tristan Jackson, 6-3, 6-3, to move his spring record to 5-2.
Two other Frogs also posted wins Friday in three-set fashion. Freshman Sören Goritzka won his second straight match, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, over Marko Ballok at the No. 4 position, while junior Emanuel Brighiu earned his first win this spring at No. 5 singles over Grant Ive, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
TCU opened the afternoon by winning its fifth doubles point in seven chances this spring. Nichols and Goritzka provided the point-clinching decision at No. 3 doubles with a narrow victory over Turpin and Ive, 9-8 (11-9). Mbarek and Nash brought the Frogs back to even earlier with an 8-6 win over Ballok and Alastair Barnes in the No. 2 slot after Tulsa’s 36th-rated duo of Stephens and Watling opened play with an 8-5 win over Brighiu and Price at the top position.
“Zach had a good win, today and so did Slah,” Borelli said. “I always felt that Zach was a guy who could step up in the ranks for us an be a player. I had no concern about moving him up and expecting him to win. He really dominated that match. He knew what he had to do and how he needed to play. I was also extremely pleased with how Cameron Nash played in doubles.”
TCU returns to action next Thursday, March 11, with a 1 p.m. home match against No. 21 Oklahoma.
No. 55 TCU 6, No. 24 Tulsa 1
March 5, 2010
Fort Worth, Texas
(Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center/Bernard “Tut” Bartzen Varsity Courts)
1. #36 Philip Stephens/Ashley Watling (TLS) def. Emanuel Brighiu/Christopher Price (TCU) 8-5
2. Slah Mbarek/Cameron Nash (TCU) def. Marko Ballok/Alastair Barnes (TLS) 8-6
3. Zach Nichols/Sören Goritzka (TCU) def. Rusty Turpin/Grant Ive (TLS) 9-8 (11-9)
1. Slah Mbarek (TCU) def. #115 Philip Stephens (TLS) 6-2, 6-1
2. *Zach Nichols (TCU) def. #31 Ashley Watling (TLS) 2-6, 6-3, 6-0
3. Alastair Barnes (TLS) def. Marius Cirstea (TCU) 7-6 (7-0), 6-3
4. Sören Goritzka (TCU) def. Marko Ballok (TLS) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
5. Emanuel Brighiu (TCU) def. Grant Ive (TLS) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
6. Christopher Price (TCU) def. Tristan Jackson (TLS) 6-3, 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (1,6,2,3,5,4)
*-clinched team victory