#6 Spartan Tennis Upends #5 Chicago in Thrilling 5-4 Win

#6 Spartan Tennis Upends #5 Chicago in Thrilling 5-4 Win

Behind a clutch three-set win from senior All-American CJ Krimbill, the sixth-ranked Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team upset the fifth-ranked University of Chicago 5-4, to complete a sweep of action during their first day of competition in Chicago, Illinois on Friday.

Earlier in the day, the Spartans bested Elmhurst College 9-0 to open up competition during their four-match swing in Chicago.  Case Western Reserve then turned the tides on the Maroons, avenging a 7-2 loss to Chicago at the ITA Indoor National Championships earlier in the season, one of just two Division III losses for the Spartans this season.  The only other Division III loss for the Spartans this year was a 6-3 setback against Emory University, the top-ranked team in the country.

Case Western Reserve improved to 14-5 overall on the season with the two victories, including an 11-2 mark against all Division III opponents and a 5-2 mark against nationally-ranked Division III opponents.  Elmhurst dropped to 2-8 with the loss, while Chicago fell to 12-3.

#6 CWRU 5, #4 Chicago 4
With the match tied at 4-4, Krimbill, ranked fourth in the region, gutted his way to a three-set with over Nicolas Chua, ranked fifth in the region, to lift the Spartans to the upset win over the University of Chicago.

The Spartans jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the match with an 8-3 win from freshmen John Benedetto and David Zakhodin over Bobby Bethke and Luke Tsai at third doubles, and an 8-5 win from Krimbill and senior Louis Stuerke at first doubles over Chua and David Liu.  Chicago would get a point back at second doubles, where Charlie Pei and Peter Leung bested juniors James Fojtasek and Phil Gruber 8-6 to cut the Spartans' lead to 2-1.

Chicago event the match with a win at fifth singles, as Tsai bested junior Kevin Dong in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1, and the took a 3-2 lead when David Liu defeated freshman Robert Stroup 6-2, 6-4 at third singles.  Fojtasek would knot the score again, besting Pei 6-2, 7-5 at second singles to tie the match at 3-3.

A three-set win at fourth singles from Leung over Stuerke, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4, would put Chicago just a match away from clinching the victory, but junior Joshua Dughi claimed a straight-set win in the sixth singles match, 7-5, 6-3 over Max Liu to tie the score again, and shift all the attention to the marathon first-singles match between two of the region's top players.

Krimbill would claim a win in the first set by tiebreaker, 7-6 (4), before Chua evened the match with a tiebreaker win of his own in the second set, 6-7 (5).  However, Krimbill would edge Chua in the third set, 7-5, clinching both the individual win and the team victory for the Spartans, 5-4.

The win was the 97th singles victory of Krimbill's career, moving him just three away from becoming the first Spartan to break the century mark in career singles wins, and just the second player in UAA history with at least 100 wins in both singles and doubles play.

#6 CWRU 9, Elmhurst 0
The earlier match in the day was a runaway for the Spartans, who swept all nine matches for the team's seventh shutout win of the year.

In doubles play, Krimbill and Stuerke downed Elmhurst's Chris Harrison and Quinn Jennings 8-1 at first doubles, while Fojtasek and Gruber bested Kyle Endicott and Justin Delawder 8-2.  In the third doubles match, Zakhodin and Benedetto claimed an 8-3 win over Alex Abbuhl and Ricardo Franco.

The Spartans would go on to claim all six singles wins in straight sets.  At first singles, Krimbill bested Harrison 6-1, 6-2, and Fojtasek topped Jennings 6-2, 6-1 at second singles.  Stroup topped Abbuhl 6-4, 6-2, with other victories from Stuerke over Endicott 6-3, 6-1 at fourth singles, Dong over Franco 6-3, 6-0 at fifth singles, and Dughi over Delawder 6-0, 6-1 at sixth singles.

The Spartans will be back in action on Saturday with two more matches against nationally-ranked opponents.  Case Western Reserve will face 37th-ranked Coe College at the Forest View Racquet & Fitness Club at 1:00 p.m., and then face 13th-ranked Washington University (Mo.) at 7:00 p.m. at the Lincolnshire Club.