Owls Outlast TCU
April 1, 2012
On a day that featured six tie breaks and four of six singles matches extended to a third set, Rice senior Christian Saravia broke the pattern with a match-clinching 6-1 win in his third set to give the 42nd ranked Owls a 4-3 win over 68th ranked TCU at the Friedman Tennis Center in Ft. Worth on Sunday.
The win gave the Owls a sweep of their matches in the Metroplex this weekend. They defeated SMU 4-3 on Friday.
The script for the day was evidenced early as the two teams staged a furious battle for the doubles point. After Jonathan Chang and Michael Nuesslein won 8-6 at No. 2, the final two matches were extended to tie breaks. TCU struck first, taking the decider at No. 1 by a 7-4 score, but the Owls' Sam Garforth-Bles and Leif Berger struck back to win 7-5 and give the Owls the early lead.
Rice was 7-0 this year when winning the doubles point, but the razor thin margin by which they won the point for the eighth time was proof made it a dubious predictor of the final outcome.
Singles play opened with TCU taking a straight-set win at No. 3, but Rice's Sam Garforth-Bles answered with a straight set win of his own over TCU's 114th ranked Nick Chappell, to put the Owls back on top, 2-1.
That score would remain unchained for over an hour as the remaining four singles matches each went into third sets.
Philipp Seifert bounced back from a first set loss to force a third with a 7-5 win, then grabbed the Owls' third point with a 6-1 win in his third set. TCU struck back to cut the margin to 3-2 with a win at No. 4.
Saravia was locked in a tight battle with TCU's JT Sundling. The two players refused to give in to the other, trading tiebreak wins to move to a third set. But Saravia finally broke the pattern and broke Sundling's serve in the final set, racing to a 6-1 win and provide the clinching margin.
The Owls (15-5) return home to host Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Friday at Jake Hess and follow that match with a matchup with 21st ranked Oklahoma on Sunday.