It was already a historical season for the Arizona men's tennis team as they reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history after defeating Michigan and Kentucky in the first two rounds. That run unfortunately ended on Monday, but it didn't come without a fight as the Wildcats fell 4-3 against No. 3 Tennessee.
The Volunteers swept the doubles matches, taking an early 1-0 lead after Carlos Hassey and Alejandro Reguant fell 6-2, while Jonas Ziverts and Herman Hoeyeraal fell 6-3 in their respective matches, leading to the Wildcats falling to an early deficit.
Hassey got his redemption in singles play on court six, defeating No. 115 Pat Harper 6-4 to put Arizona on the board and tie the match at 1-1.
After Filip Malbasic fell in his match 0-6, 3-6 against No. 41 Martim Prata, Jonas Ziverts picked up a big 7-5, 6-3 victory over No. 8 Johannus Monday to tie the match again at 2-2.
The senior and captain Alejandro Reguant then picked up a huge 6-4, 6-1 win on court five to give Arizona a 3-2, bringing them one match away from reaching the Elite Eight.
It all came down to Gustaf Strom on court one and Hoeyeraal on court four.
Both players lost the first set, Strom falling 7-5 against No. 10 Adam Walton and Hoeyeraal falling 6-3 against Luca Wiedenmann. They were both, however able to battle back and force a third set after Strom cruised through his second set 6-1 and Hoeyeraal took his second set 6-4.
Hoeyeraal fell behind two breaks in his respective third set, as Wiedenmann came one game away from winning his match at 5-2. The freshman was able to get one break back and hold his serve to bring the score to 5-4 and put some pressure on his opponent, but Wiedenmann was able to hold his serve to tie the match at 3-3.
It all came down to Strom and Walton on court one.
Strom had all the momentum heading into the deciding set after a 6-1 second set win, but an early break for Walton proved to be costly for the freshman and the Wildcats. Strom tried to get the break back and came close in a couple of Walton's service games, but he was unable to get the break back, falling 6-2 in the final set that wound up deciding the match.
It was not the finish the Wildcats wanted or were hoping for, but regardless this is going to be a season to remember for all of them and one that might just very well end up turning around the whole program for years to come under head coach Clancy Shields.
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