The Arizona men's tennis team defeated Michigan by a score of 4-3 in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 7. It was the programs first tournament win since 2009.
The Wildcats fell behind 1-0 early after losing the doubles point, putting them in an early hole against the Wolverines.
This deficit jumped up to 2-0 after junior Jonas Ziverts fell 6-4, 6-1 against Ondrej Styler of Michigan. Senior Carlos Hassey put the Wildcats on the board with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Nino Erchenshneider before senior Alejandro Reguant won his match 6-4, 6-2 over Nick Beaty and senior Filip Malbasic won his match 6-3, 6-4 over Patrick Maloney to combine for a 3-0 run by Arizona and take a 3-2 lead on the match.
The win by Reguant brings him into a tie with program legend and fellow countryman Roger Matalonga for the most overall wins in program history.
Reguant recalled earlier in the spring season how much Matalonga has meant to him as a player.
“It means a lot to be honest, especially after seeing all these years that I’ve been here, seeing that a fellow countryman in [Matalonga]; He’s always been an inspiration for me,” Reguant said. “It feel very good, but it feels even better to do it with a team like that with all the guys that are on the team. It means so much more than just breaking records. I am doing it for the guys and we always play for each other, so it was pretty special.”
After the Wildcats took a 3-2 lead, freshman Herman Hoeyeraal fell 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to tie the match and leave all eyes on freshman Gustaf Strom's match to decide the fate of both teams.
After winning the first set 6-3 against Michigan's Andrew Fenty, Strom fell 3-6 in the second set to move on to what would be a match-deciding set. Strom picked up an early break to take a 3-1 lead, going on to win the set 6-2 and clinch the match for Arizona.
With this win, Strom is one win away from tying Malbasic and Andres Carrasco for the program record in singles wins in a spring season in program history.
"Great team win today," Shields said on Twitter. "MVP: Our bench. Our guys off the court, tremendous support. On to the second round. Hopefully we’ll play the hosting team, Kentucky. Michigan [was] preseason No. 4 in the country. Big win for our team, but more left for the boys. So we’re ready to keep going.”
The Wolverines men's tennis team was preseason No. 4 in the country, making this win that much bigger for the Arizona program as well as the fact that it was the team's first tournament win since 2009.
The Wildcats will play the host Kentucky in round two on Saturday, May 8.
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