ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The No. 21 nationally-ranked Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team defeated No. 30 University of Chicago (Ill.), 6-3, in the opening round of the 2012 University Athletic Association Championship Tournament on Thursday morning. The fourth-seeded Spartans advance to play top-seeded and No. 2-ranked Emory University (Ga.) on Friday.
The win versus fifth-seeded Chicago bumps the Spartans record to 14-7 for the season, while the Maroons drop to 9-9.
The Spartans now face their biggest test of the season in the nation's second-ranked team, Emory, tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. The Eagles swept the University of Rochester (N.Y.), 9-0, in round one.
Case picked up a 2-1 lead in doubles action as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Region's No. 2-ranked tandem of junior Kyle Gerber (Columbus, Ohio/St. Charles Preparatory) and sophomore John Healey (Columbia, Md./Atholton) led off with an 8-3 victory versus No. 5-ranked Troy Brinker and Jan Stefanski. Chicago claimed the point at No. 2 with an 8-6 win, but the Spartans' No. 3 duo of senior co-captain Rohan Patel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore) and sophomore Eric Klawitter (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey) won a tie-breaker to take the point, 9-8 (8-6).
In singles, freshman Will Drougas (Roanoke, Va./Salem), the region's sixth-ranked player, opened with a straight-set win (6-1, 7-6 (9-7)) to make the score 3-1. Case then got points from Healey at No. 6 (7-5, 6-1) and Gerber at No. 3 (6-1, 4-6, 6-2) to counter a Chicago win at No. 5, sealing the quarterfinal victory.
Senior co-captain Sean Carr (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) earned the last team point at No. 2 in three sets (3-6, 6-3, 6-2).
With his two victories, Gerber now has 93 for his career. The junior is second all-time in program history behind only Ben Sinder (2003-07) with 97.
Patel's doubles win also made him just the third player in program history to reach 90 career wins.
The winner of tomorrow's match with Emory advances to the championship on Saturday at 9:00 a.m., while the loser will play for third place.