Tennis can’t break the tiebreaker
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On Sunday afternoon – after over seven hours since the day of men’s tennis had begun – Miroslav Herzan was the last match playing on court two with the second match of the doubleheader tied at 3-3.
Herzan’s big serve was enough to take the first set against Washburn’s Blake Hunter. After Herzan took a 3-1 lead in the second, Hunter’s pesky defensive play and his ability to track down shots led him to a second set comeback. Herzan dropping the second set 5-7.
In a contested third set, Merzan led by a break before being taken to a tiebreaker, where he would lose the third set 6-7 (3-7).
Wichita State’s doubleheader consisted of a late morning match against the University of Denver followed by an afternoon meeting with Washburn University.
The Shockers won their first match against the Pioneers 5-2. The doubles match-ups – Denver’s strength – proved to be important.
“We knew the type of talent [Denver] had,” head coach Danny Bryan said. “Ultimately in that match the biggest difference was the doubles point. We knew that was going to be huge. Their top three are really good, they actually win doubles all the time.”
To help secure the doubles point, the Shockers had to win two out of the three doubles matches. The doubles team of Jocelyn Devilliers and Eddie Stoica led with an upset win over no. 29 Alex Gasson/Yannik James 6-4. The WSU team of Murkel Dellien and Marius Frosa also prevailed with a 6-4 doubles victory.
Bryan made the decision to pull Frosa – who plays in the two spot for singles – for the second match. Frosa was defeated 2-6, 2-6 in his only singles match of the day to Denver’s Diogo Rocha. Before then, Frosa had won four straight matches – and was playing with confidence according to coach Bryan.
After the match, Bryan was questioning his decision to change his line-up in an attempt to get other guys more match experience.
“We didn’t overlook Washburn. I would say, we knew they were going to be on a very solid level,” Bryan said. “I think we were really just trying to get some good matches in for some of these guys.”
Haru Inoue – No. 94 in the nation and playing the top flight in singles – and Herzan had both been ill this past week before the matches, neither practicing much leading up to Sunday.
Despite his two wins, Inoue thought his play was lacking.
“I didn’t play good both matches. I just tried to find a way to win,” Inoue said.
Inoue’s second singles win came from behind over the hard-hitting No. 31 Alejandro Plaza. Inoue was ousted in the first set with big shots from Plaza to give up the first set 3-6. Inoue charged back 6-4, 7-5 to win the last two sets, after finding rhythm in his own shots to neutralize Plaza’s power.
Dellien also captured a singles point for WSU, boosting his record 13-6 since joining the Shockers this semester.
The Shockers will play Drake, their Missouri Valley Conference Tennis rivals, on Friday.
The University of Denver – who the Shockers beat 5-2 in their first match – defeated Drake in late March, 4-3.