The 12th-ranked Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team suffered a close loss to 10th-ranked Brandeis University on Friday afternoon, falling 5-3 to the Judges in the quarterfinals of the 2019 University Athletic Association Championship at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
The loss dropped the Spartans to 19-9 on the year, while Brandeis improved to 15-3 with the win.
The Spartans' third doubles pairing of freshmen Chaitanya Aduru and Aaron Umen started the Spartans off strong, topping Tyler Ng and Colt Tegtmeier 8-3. Brandeis responded with a win at second doubles, as Jeff Chen and Adam Tzeng (ranked 13th in the Northeast Region) defeated the Spartans' regionally 11th-ranked duo of sophomore Matthew Chen and junior Zach Hennessey 8-2 to tie the team score at 1-1.
In the remaining doubles match, junior Anthony Kanam and sophomore Jonathan Powell, ranked seventh in the Central Region, jumped out an early lead over the Northeast's fifth-ranked pairing of David Aizenberg and Anupreeth Coramutla, and carried a 7-6 advantage into a rain delay. After a two-and-a-half hour wait, the teams returned to action, and Brandeis' pairing was able to pull out an 8-7 (3) win to give the Judges a 2-1 lead heading into singles play.
Aduru was able to even the score with a dominant performance at fifth singles, besting Nikhil Das in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0, and junior Sam Concannon gave the Spartans a 3-2 lead with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Rajan Vohra at sixth singles.
However, the Spartans' lead would prove to be short-lived. Tzeng evened the score with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Kanam at fourth singles, and a 6-4, 6-2 win by Aizenberg over Chen at first singles put Brandeis on the brink of clinching.
The match would be decided at second singles, where Umen claimed a 7-6 (9) win in a closely played first set, but Coramutla batted back for a 6-4 win in set two, and then secured the victory with a 6-3 win in the third set.
At the time the match was completed, Powell was leading in the third set over Chen at fourth singles, 6-4, 5-7, 4-0.
The Spartans will now turn their attention to their consolation semifinal match against the 37th-ranked University of Rochester on Saturday, April 27th at 12:30 p.m. in Altamonte Springs. The Yellowjackets, who were seeded eighth in the tournament, dropped a 5-0 decision to Chicago in the quarterfinals to fall to 12-6 on the year.
This will be the second meeting of the season between the two teams, after the Spartans defeated Rochester 9-0 on March 30th. The Yellowjackets' lineup features the Northeast Region's 11th-ranked singles player in Masaru Fujimaki.
Fans can follow the action on Saturday with live results at http://www.enrollment.cmu.edu/athletics/msoccer/xlive.htm, and a full recap of the match will be posted to athletics.case.edu after the completion of competition.