Seraphim Sends No. 1 Deacs to First-Ever NCAA Finals
May 21, 2018
By Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeMTennis)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Monday’s weather-delay riddled NCAA Semifinals ended with a Christian Seraphim three-set victory, propelling the top-seeded Wake Forest men’s tennis team past No. 5 Texas A&M, 4-3, and into the NCAA Championship match for the first time in the program’s history.
Down 3-1, the Aggies (26-6) evened the score, sending all spectators, coaches and players rushing to the last remaining court – coincidentally court six – manned by Seraphim and Texas A&M’s Barnaby Smith. At that instance, Seraphim led 3-0 – a lead that would only increase. Using his 6-foot-10 frame, the redshirt senior out reached and out positioned a tiring Smith down the stretch, breaking each of the Aggies’ serve to seal the Demon Deacons victory with a 6-0 final set.
Wake Forest (30-2) players and fans erupted as the Demon Deacons upped its storied run from first-ever semifinals to a chance to earn the school’s ninth team National Championship among all sports. The NCAA Championship match is slated for Tuesday at 5 p.m. against No. 3 Ohio State, who defeated No. 2 UCLA in the other semifinal match.
Doubles, which occurred approximately six hours prior to the final point due to two weather delays, went to Wake Forest. The point marked the 25th this season by the Demon Deacons and kept them perfect for the 2018 NCAA Championships.
Playing error-free doubles, the No. 21-ranked duo of Borna Gojo and Skander Mansouri swept the nation’s third-ranked tandem of Juan Carlos Aguilar and Jordi Aronada, 6-0, on court one. On the neighboring court, the 35th-ranked twosome of Petros Chrysochos and Bar Botzer found themselves in a 0-3 hole, before rallying off six straight games to clinch the doubles point, 6-3, over AJ Catanzariti and Arthur Rinderknech.
In singles, Gojo, Chrysochos and Mansouri took first sets, before the first weather delay hit at 3:25, suspending play for what would be approximately three hours.
After the restart, Gojo and Chrysochos showed no signs of rust in the lengthy break, mowing through their opponents in the second sets. On court one, seventh-ranked Gojo defeated No. 5 Patrick Kypson, 6-2, 6-1. Soon thereafter on court two, Chrysochos methodically finished off No. 12 Arthur Rinderknech in an identical final score for the commanding 3-0 Wake Forest lead. The win extended Chrysochos’ win streak to 23 matches.
The Aggies got on the board with a win on court four, halting Bar Botzer’s win streak at 16 matches. Lightning sent the match into its second weather delay around 7:15 p.m., which stood for roughly 50 minutes.
After resuming play again, competition tightened. On court three, Mansouri, ranked No. 38, and TAMU’s No. 48 Jordi Arconada were seesawing in the third set. Juan Carlos Aguilar was attempting to finish off Alan Gadijev on court five, and Smith was forcing the third set on Seraphim. Down 2-4, Mansouri broke back and held to knot it at 4-all, however Arconada held down the stretch and obtained the final break to win 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. Moments later, Aguilar beat Gadijev, 7-6, 6-3, sending the action down to court six and Seraphim.
The lasting historical context to the match is that the victory set another program mark – the longest win streak at 15 matches.
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