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Men’s tennis No. 12 falls to No. 5 Michigan, 4-2, in NCAA Round of 16




Ann Arbour, Mich. Texas’ No. 12 men’s tennis narrowly fell to Michigan’s No. 5, 4-2, in the Round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor on Saturday. The Longhorns finish the season with an 18-11 overall record, their eighth straight year with at least 18 wins and to reach the Sweet 16. Despite numerous injuries all season, of their 11 losses, all have come in the top 15 teams. with nine of them against teams in the top six.

The game was played on multiple courts, with Michigan winning all four tiebreakers that occurred throughout the contest. The first of those offered the doubles point to the Wolverines, who went on to win singles matches at No. 2, 5 and 3, while Texas picked up victories from the No. 92 senior. Richard Ciamarra at No. 4 and in the second year Cleeve Harper at No. 6.

After Michigan secured the point in the doubles, Ciamarra was the first off the court in singles action with an effective 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 70 Jacob Bickersteth to tie the game overall at 1- 1. Ciamarra sprinted out of the gates winning eight of the first nine games with only one of those leveling at 4-0 in the first set, while Bickersteth resumed their only game at 5-1. The run put Ciamara up 2-0 in the second, and the rest of the game stayed in service to their win with a single point deuce that went to Bickersteth to close 4-3.

Wolverines then regained the lead, as second No. 26 Micah Braswell returned to the roster for the first time since April 16 and only the third time since April 3 while recovering from injury. Braswell gave up their match against No. 88 Patrick Maloney, 6-3, 6-3, with Maloney taking the lead in both sets of 5-1 and 4-1 before Braswell made late surges in each.

However, not much later, Harper made it 2-2 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Nick Beaty. After Harper opened the serve, he took the first break of the game for a 3-1 lead which he consolidated to 4-1 with a hold. Beaty snapped Harper’s three-game streak with a two-point catch that started a 3-0 run to tie it. The next game also went to twos, but Harper held to regain the lead, then broke for the set. In the second, Harper started with a two-point catch and break, while Beaty followed with a two-point break and catch, but from there it was all Harper, who led a 4-run. 0 until the end.

The next game off the field was at No. 5 where the tiebreakers again came into play in the second year Siem Woldeab was edged out by No. 77 Nino Ehrenschneider, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) to restore Michigan to the lead. The whole first set remained in the service of the breaker, each player winning a point tied at 3-2 for Ehrenschneider and 6-6 for Woldeab. In the breaker, Ehrenschneider took a 3-0 lead, and although Woldeab rallied to tie it at 4-4, Ehrenschneider took two straight points and three of the next four to win. The second set, however, was more back and forth, as Woldeab started on serve and won the first two games, while Ehrenschneider responded with the next four, capped off with a two-point hold. The next three games were also on serve at 5-4 for Ehrenschneider, but Woldeab took the break back with a two-point win for 5-5 and took the lead on serve. Ehrenschneider then held on to send it on a second breaker where Woldeab took a 2-0 lead on a mini-break. Ehrenschneider came back with three straight points for their lead, but after Woldeab secured two more to move up 4-3, Ehrenschneider continued a 4-0 run to the final and a 3-2 aggregate lead to Michigan.

This left two extremely close matches on the court for No. 1 and 3 who were in their third sets where the second No. 69 Eliot Spizirri faced No. 27 Ondrej Styler and freshman No. 34 Pierre-Yves Bailly was facing No. 63 Andrew Fenty. With Bailly on a break (3-1) and Spizzirri on a break (3-4) in those third sets, weather became a factor with play halted due to a lightning warning. After an hour-long delay which later involved rain, play resumed indoors with the two matches in reverse.

Spizzirri had used a 5-0 run to put together a quick first set over Styler at 6-1, but the second set went the distance. He stayed on serve throughout with just three games to two, including wins for Styler at 1-0 and 5-4, while Spizzirri used his to equalize at 3-3. Once again a tiebreaker came into play with Styler posting a 4-1 lead that Spizzirri couldn’t quite recover from, getting half a point, the second time at 5- 4, but Styler collected the last two points to send it to third. There each player held their opening serve starting with Spizzirri, but Styler broke and held a 3-1 lead. After Spizzirri also held, the next four games were all drawn but also stayed on serve until Spizzirri was able to recover the break at 5-5 and hold a 6-5 lead. Styler also held for another tiebreaker, and it was tied at 3-3 when play stopped with Michigan’s clinch at No. 3.

In that match, Fenty had won the first set, 6-3, thanks to a 4-0 run that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead, starting with a two-for-2 break. -2. Bailly recovered a game on serve on another two, but Fenty then served the set. The second stayed on serve most of the way, with Bailly serving first and later winning two points at 4-3. His next two win would be the break he needed to take the set at 6-4 and head for a third. Starting over on serve, Bailly had just used two straight wins for a 3-1 lead when lightning forced the game inside, and Bailly extended their lead to 4-1. However, Fenty then rallied and put together a 5-0 run, including two two-point wins at 3-4 and 5-4, to clinch the aggregate game for Wolverines.

Earlier in doubles, the match opened in exciting fashion, ending in a tiebreaker in the deciding game at No. 3 after Texas rallied from 4-1 deficits at No. 1 and No. 3. After the No. 4 pair of Ciamara and Harper fell to Beaty and Maloney, 6-1, at No. 2, the No. 8 duo of Spizzirri and Woldeab completed their comeback on the No. 24 pair by Ehrenschneider and Fenty. The Wolverines held their opening serve in that game, while the Longhorns rallied from a 15-40 deficit to do the same. Michigan then went 3-0 with the last two of those two points. However, Spizzirri and Woldeab went on a 5-0 run that started with a two-point grab after losing 15-40.

This shifted focus to No. 3 where Junior Chih Chi Huang and second Eshan Talluri had lost 4-1 to Styler and Bickersteth on a break at 3-1. After the next three games stayed on serve, capped by a two-point victory for Texas trailing 5-3, the Longhorns got the break they needed to get back on serve at 5-4 before the evening at 5-5 with a catch. It looked like they could win their fourth straight game, taking a 15-40 lead in the next one, but Michigan rallied to hold two, and Texas followed with a hold for the tiebreaker. The Wolverines recorded the first two points there and four of the first five, and although the Longhorns retired twice in one at 4-3 and 6-5, Michigan held serve on the final point for the victoire.

With the tag team season over, several Longhorns will travel to Champaign, Ill., for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships May 23-28. These include Braswell and Bailly with singles bids in general, as well as the doubles pairings of Ciamarra and Harper as the 4-seeded, and Spizzirri and Woldeab as the 5-8 seeded. Spizzirri, whose rankings have been affected by not playing in the fall and being injured throughout the spring, also has the option of receiving a singles offer after being selected as the no. No. 10 on the substitute list.

#5 Michigan 4, #12 Texas 2

Order of arrival of singles (4,2,6,5,3)
1. #27 Ondrej Styler (UM) against #69 Eliot Spizirri (UT) 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-6 (3-3), unf.
2. #88 Patrick Maloney (UM) def. #26 Micah Braswell (UT) 6-3, 6-3
3. #63 Andrew Fenty (UM) defeats. #34 Pierre-Yves Bailly (UT) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
4. #92 Richard Ciamarra (UT) def. #70 Jacob Bickersteth (UM) 6-1, 6-4
5. #77 Nino Ehrenschneider (UM) def. Siem Woldeab (UT) 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4)
6. Cleeve Harper (UT) def. Nick Beaty (UM) 6-4, 6-2

Double order of arrival (2,1,3)
1. #8 Eliot Spizirri/Siem Woldeab (UT) def. #24 Nino Ehrenschneider/Andrew Fenty (UM) 6-4
2. Nick Beaty/Patrick Maloney (UM) def. #4 Richard Ciamarra/Cleeve Harper (UT) 6-1
3. Ondrej Styler/Jacob Bickersteth (UM) def. Chih Chi Huang/Eshan Talluri (UT) 7-6 (5)




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