The 12th-ranked Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team defeated the 37th-ranked University of Rochester 5-1 in the consolation semifinals of the 2019 University Athletic Association Championships on Saturday afternoon at Sanlando Park in Atlamonte Springs, Florida, advancing to Sunday's fifth-place match against 14th-ranked Carnegie Mellon University.
The win was the 20th victory of the season for the fifth-seeded Spartans, who improved to 20-8 overall, while Rochester dropped to 12-7 during the campaign. It marked the Spartans' second win over the Yellowjackets (the eighth-seed in the tournament) this season.
The Spartans claimed wins in two of the three doubles matches to secure an early 2-1 lead in the match. At third doubles, freshmen Chaitanya Aduru and Aaron Umen secured an 8-3 win over Runjia Fang and Peter Huang, while junior Zach Hennessey and sophomore Matthew Chen claimed an 8-3 win over Pasquale Procaccino and Sahaj Somani in the second doubles match. In a closely played match at first doubles, sophomore Jonathan Powell and junior Anthony Kanam suffered an 8-7 (5) loss to Masaru Fujimaki and Yifan Shen.
CWRU went on to secure victories in the first three singles matches to be decided against Rochester. Aduru registered the first point for the Spartans with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Mark Zolotukhin at fifth singles, and junior Sam Concannon extended the lead to 4-2 with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Somani in the sixth singles match. At second singles, Umen was able to clinch the victory, coming from behind for a 0-6, 6-1, 6-0 win over Shen.
Powell was up a set for the Spartans on the fourth singles court at the time the match was decided, leading Tanmay Thakkar 6-2, 4-2, while CWRU players were down a set on both the first and third singles courts, with Chen losing 6-4, 3-1 to Fujimaki and Kanam trailing Fang 7-6 (1), 0-1.
The victory sets up the third meeting of the season between the Spartans and the Tartans, who were seeded sixth in the field entering the UAA Championships. The teams split their first two contests against each other, with CWRU besting Carnegie Mellon 5-4 at the 2019 ITA Indoor Championships on February 23rd, and the Tartans claiming a 5-4 victory of their own when the teams met in Orlando two weeks later.
Carnegie Mellon secured a 5-0 victory over NYU in their consolation semifinal match on Saturday afternoon, improving to 9-8 for the season. The Tartans' lineup features three singles players ranked in the Atlantic South Region, including no. 2 Chaz Downing, no. 7 Daniel Levine and no. 25 Ray Boppana, in addition to the region's fourth-ranked doubles pairing of Levine and Downing.
Fans can follow Sunday's fifth-place match with live results at http://www.enrollment.cmu.edu/athletics/mtennis/xlive.htm. Final results and a recap of the match will be posted to athletics.case.edu following the completion of competition on Sunday.