ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The University of Chicago men’s tennis team faced off with conference-rival Washington University – St. Louis for a third time this season on Friday, this time in the semifinals of the 2022 University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship. In an intense back-and-forth affair, the Maroons emerged with the victory once again by a 5-3 margin.
The Maroons (16-1 record) extended their winning streak to nine in-a-row and will play in the UAA title match for the third time in program history. The 2018 squad won the program’s first league title. The Bears fell to 13-9 on the season.
UChicago had beaten WashU on two previous occasions this year – 8-1 at the ITA Indoor Nationals in February and 5-2 in St. Louis last weekend.
On Friday afternoon, the Maroons took a critical 2-1 lead after doubles play. The No. 3 duo of junior Sachin Das and senior Alex Guzhva dominated with an 8-0 win. Soon after, junior Christian Alshon and sophomore Derek Hsieh came away with an 8-3 victory at No. 1.
WashU applied pressure in singles action, capturing the No. 5 and No. 6 slots to tie the score up 3-3. Das earned a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 3 for the Maroons, and Alshon battled to a 7-6, 6-3 victory at No. 1 to put the team within one match of sealing a spot in Saturday’s final.
It came down to the No. 4 singles bout with Guzhva thrust into the limelight once again. The UChicago senior has come up through as the clincher on the big stage numerous occasions over the years, and he did it again with a three-set triumph against WashU, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. Guzhva broke his opponent’s serve at 5-5 and then served out the match, with the final WashU shot sailing long past the baseline.
“It’s really, really difficult to beat a team three times in-a-row and it’s especially difficult to do it in the conference tournament,” Head Coach Jay Tee said. “The guys dug deep and pulled out a win that at times looked like it might be a loss. The doubles lead was huge, so for No. 1 and No. 3 to spot us an early two points was key. Singles was an absolute battle in the Florida heat as expected. Sachin recovered from an early 1-4 deficit in the first to give us our third point and Christian gutted out a tough victory to put us within one point. Alex did what he does and played his best under pressure to clinch yet another match for the team.”
The No. 2-seeded Maroons will next take on No. 1-seed Case Western Reserve University in Saturday morning’s UAA title match. The winner will get the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA postseason.
UChicago 5, Washington-St. Louis 3
1. Christian Alshon (UC) def. Abhi Ramireddy (WU) 7-6 (7-2), 6-3
2. Derek Hsieh (UC) vs. Daniel Li (WU) 6-7 (3-7), 4-4, unfinished
3. Sachin Das (UC) def. Luke Smith (WU) 6-4, 6-2
4. Alex Guzhva (UC) def. Gaurav Singh (WU) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5
5. Jared Phillips (WU) def. Marek Michulka (UC) 2-6, 6-3, 6-3
6. James Shaheen (WU) def. Shramay Dhawan (UC) 6-2, 6-1
1. Christian Alshon/Derek Hsieh (UC) def. Daniel Li/Abhi Ramireddy (WU) 8-3
2. Jeremy Ouyang/Scott Yamamoto (WU) def. Arjun Asokumar/Andrei Leonov (UC) 8-5
3. Sachin Das/Alex Guzhva (UC) def. Jared Phillips/Gaurav Singh (WU) 8-0
- Saturday, April 23 @ 8:30 AM (ET) – UChicago vs. Case Western Reserve University (at Altamonte Springs, Fla.)
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