Deacons Win 5-2 Thriller Over No. 33 Rice
March 11, 2011
HOUSTON - The Wake Forest men's tennis team won five singles matches, three of them in three sets, as the Demon Deacons came back after dropping the doubles point and earned a hard-fought 5-2 win over No. 33 Rice at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium in Houston on Friday evening.
The No. 43 Deacs overcame two deficits in the match, falling behind 1-0 and then 2-1 before winning the final four matches on the court. Iain Atkinson put on the most dramatic performance of the day at No. 4 singles, overcoming a break in the third set and saving a match point in the final tiebreak before taking the next three points to defeat Sam Garforth-Bles 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6) for Wake's third point. Danny Kreyman earned the clinching win at the No. 3 spot, taking down Oscar Podlewski 7-6, 5-7, 6-3.
"We played a complete match today," said head coach Jeff Zinn. "Rice is a good team, but we just played really great tennis across the board. We wanted to get this win before we headed into the ACC season and we did."
The Demon Deacons improve to 6-4 on the year, while the Owls fall to 10-4. The win was Wake Forest's first road triumph of the season.
Wake earned a victory without winning the doubles point for the first time all year. Kreyman and Jonathan Wolff took down Rice's Michael Nuesslein and Peter Frank 8-6 at No. 2, but the Owls earned close 8-6 wins at the top and bottom doubles positions to take an early 1-0 lead.
"To be honest, we played pretty well in doubles. They were all very close matches, and Rice was able to steal one more win than we did" said Zinn. "I couldn't be happier with the way we responded in singles. The guys kept their heads up and gutted out some very tough matches."
No. 78 Wolff had the only easy match of the day, cruising past Frank at No. 2 singles to tie the match at 1-1. After No. 82 Harry Fowler took down No. 84 Tripper Carleton 6-4, 6-3 at the top position to put the Owls back in the lead, the Deacs rallied once again.
Adam Lee came through in straight sets at No. 5, topping Phillip Seifert 6-4, 6-4 to tie the match 2-2. Then Atkinson finished off his thrilling comeback at No. 4 to give the Deacs their first lead of the day at 3-2.
"Iain's match was a key match for us," said Zinn. "He fell behind in the third set and then was down match point in the tiebreak, but he found a way to win. He put us on the verge of clinching and gave us some momentum in the other two matches."
Kreyman clinched the match at No. 3, and David Hopkins followed with the final win at the No. 6 spot, outlasting Isamu Tachibana 6-3, 6-7, 6-2.
The Demon Deacons will open the ACC season this Friday with a trip to Durham to take on No. 4 Duke. The match is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Ambler Tennis Stadium.
For up-to-the minute Wake Forest tennis news, follow the Deacs on Twitter @WakeTennis or twitter.com/WakeTennis
#43 Wake Forest 5, #33 Rice 2