Deacs Rally From Brink to Down Clemson 4-3 in ACC Tournament
April 19, 2012
CARY, N.C. - Sometimes it's not how you start, but how you finish. That was the maxim for the Wake Forest men's tennis team Thursday as it came all the way back from a 3-0 deficit to knock off seventh-seeded Clemson 4-3 in the first round of the ACC Championship at Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C.
The 10th-seeded Demon Deacons (14-14) extended their season for at least one more day and will take on second-seed North Carolina Friday in a quarterfinal match at noon.
"It was a super gutty performance by our guys," said head coach Tony Bresky. "We're thrilled to get the win, and I think it's a testament to our team that they refused to let our season end today."
Things looked bleak for the Deacs as they dropped the doubles point and trailed in the first set on four of the six singles courts. But they kept fighting and were able to squeeze out three first sets in tiebreaks to keep hope alive.
Thoughts of a comeback began to turn toward a reality when Amogh Prabhakar rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the second set at No. 3 after dropping the first to win a tiebreak in the second set and force a deciding third frame. Momentum began to palpably shift in Wake Forest's favor.
"I was playing, but all I wanted to watch was Amogh's tiebreak," said Adam Lee, who was playing on Court Four, a short distance away. "As soon as he came back and won the that set, even though we were down 3-0 at the time, I knew that we would win."
Danny Kreyman got the Deacons on the board with one of his best wins of the season when it counted most, downing No. 64 Yannick Maden 7-6 (3), 6-3 at the top position. David Hopkins followed minutes later with a 7-6 (5), 6-1 win over Meza at No. 2 to cut the Clemson lead to 3-2.
Soon after, Prabhakar finished off his comeback with a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1 win over Wibowo to tie the match at 3-3, and all eyes turned to the No. 4 match where a hobbled Lee held a set lead and was locked in a second-set tiebreak with Dominique Maden.
Lee jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the tiebreak, earning three match points for Wake Forest, but Maden saved two of them, sending the Kiwi to up to the line to try to serve it out. Lee made his serve and a few shots later, Maden sailed a forehand wide to give the Deacons what had at one point seemed an improbable victory.
"I just wanted to get off the court to be honest because my leg was hurting," said Lee. "I knew that everyone was there cheering for me, and I just gutted it out at the end."
Wake Forest's match against North Carolina tomorrow will be a rematch of last year's ACC Tournament quarterfinal that the Tar Heels won 4-1 in a match that was played indoors at NC State due to rain.
"I'm looking for us to come out tomorrow and compete just as hard as we did today and just see where we stand" said Bresky.
#74 Wake Forest 4, #66 Clemson 3