TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The No. 72 University of Arizona men’s tennis team suffered another heart-breaking loss Saturday at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center. The defeat to No. 75 Santa Clara marks the second time this season the Wildcats have been beaten 4-3 after a decisive final match. The upset improves Santa Clara’s record to 4-4 and drops the Wildcats to 1-4 in the spring season.
In the first match of the day, Santa Clara’s No. 1 doubles team of Kevin McQuaid and Blane Shields defeated Bruno Alcala and Claudio Christen 8-3. Neither McQuaid nor Shields were in SCU’s singles lineup, a typically uncharacteristic occurrence for two No. 1 doubles players. Christen and Alcala are two primarily singles players and had difficulty matching the intensity of Santa Clara’s doubles specialists. The last two doubles matches were both decided by tiebreakers. Arizona’s Jason Labrosse and Ravid Hezi won theirs, while Peter Zimmer and Milos Romic lost to Santa Clara’s Jan Macek and Bobby Rasmussen, giving SCU a one-point advantage heading into singles play.
The Wildcats and the Broncos alternated wins until the score was notched at three-apiece. The match would be decided by Arizona’s nationally ranked No. 86 Christen, against Santa Clara’s Jan Macek. Macek got off to a strong start, winning the first set 6-1. Christen battled his way back 7-5 in the second to even the match at one set all. Prior to his matchup with Christen, four of Macek’s previous seven matches this spring went three sets. Last week, he was the recipient of Santa Clara’s “Grinder of the Week” award, and among followers of the team he is renowned for his hustle and unwillingness to give up on any point. Macek’s tremendous effort was on full display against Christen, as he consistently chased down balls that appeared to be out of reach, much to the delight of his Bronco teammates. The atmosphere was as intense as college tennis matches can get, with every member from both teams yelling in support of their respective teammates. After falling behind two breaks, Christen was able to break back to make the score 3-5 in favor of SCU. In the ninth game, Macek had difficulty returning Christen’s first serves, missing two returns. At 40-15 Christen opted to serve-and-volley, an effective strategy that enabled him to apply instant pressure on Macek and keep the points shorter. Unfortunately for Christen, a let on his first serve resulted in an easy passing shot for Macek. On the following point Christen double-faulted, and Macek won the last two rallies for the 6-3 win.
The Wildcats will continue looking for their first win this month tomorrow morning as they take on No. 46 Louisiana Lafayette (2-2). It will be the first ever meeting between the two schools on the tennis court. The first ball is scheduled to be tossed at 9 a.m. at the LaNelle Robson Tennis center.
No. 75 Santa Clara University 4, No. 72 Arizona 3
1. McQuaid/Shields def. Christen/Alcala (UA) 8-3
2. Macek/Rasmussen (SCU) def. Zimmer/Romic (UA) 9-8(4)
3. J. Labrosse/Hezi (UA) def. Brogan/Gullman 9-8(1)
1. Macek (SCU) def. Christen (UA) 6-1, 5-7, 6-3
2. Brian Brogan (SCU) def. Alcala (UA) 7-5, 6-3
3. Jay Wong (SCU) def. Peter Zimmer (UA) 7-5, 6-3
4. Ravid Hezi (UA) def. Gullman (SCU) 6-1, 7-5
5. Jason Labrosse (UA) def. Bobby Rasmussen (SCU) 7-6(4), 6-4
6. Alex Labrosse (UA) def. Tommy Hicks (SCU) 6-0, 6-2