From University of Chicago Athletics
For the fourth consecutive year, the University of Chicago men's tennis team swept the singles and doubles titles at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Central Region Championships on Sunday.
Coming into the day, the Maroons accounted for five singles players in the quarterfinals and three doubles teams in the semifinals.
Teammates faced off in one doubles semi as the No. 1-seeded sophomores Erik Kerrigan and Ninan Kumar took on sophomore Tyler Raclin and freshman Jeremy Yuan. Raclin/Yuan came away with the win 8-4 and reached the final. In the other semifinal, the combo of sophomore Abhin Sharma and freshman Justin Lee dropped an 8-1 decision to the No. 2 seeds from Washington University – St. Louis.
In the title match, Raclin and Yuan found themselves in trouble after losing the first set 6-4 and trailing the second set 5-3. However, the Maroon duo dug deep to score four unanswered games to nab the second set 7-5. The third set super tiebreak saw UChicago fall behind 7-4, but another clutch rally gave Raclin/Yuan the doubles title, 10-8.
Raclin won his second-straight ITA regional doubles trophy, replicating last year's result alongside Max Hawkins. The UChicago combo now advances to the ITA Oracle Cup to take on other regional championships from Oct. 11-15 in Rome, Ga.
The Maroons were completely dominant in singles all weekend and pulled off their most impressive feat on Sunday by grabbing all four semifinal spots.
No. 1 seed Kerrigan made quick work in the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-1 win. He next faced freshman teammate Alejandro Rodriguez, who earlier defeated his quarterfinal opponent 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. Kerrigan advanced to the final with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Rodriguez.
On the other side of the bracket, sophomore Ninan Kumar beat junior Charlie Pei to set up a semifinal with freshman Jeremy Yuan. Yuan previously beat the Case Western Reserve quarterfinalist 6-1, 6-4. The tightly-contested semi ended in Yuan's favor 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).
Kerrigan and Yuan will play each other for the singles championship starting at 3:15 PM on Tuesday at UChicago's Stagg Courts. The winner will also play in the ITA Oracle Cup.
Luke Tsai also delivered for the Maroons in the consolation bracket. The senior blazed through his opening two bouts of the day (6-0, 6-0 and 6-2, 6-0) before meeting Bernardo Neves (Washington-St. Louis) in the consolation final. Tsai clinched the match by scores of 1-6, 6-4, 10-6.
Along with the four-straight years of winning the singles and doubles titles, this is also the fifth year that UChicago had finalists in both events.
"I'm so proud of the way our team competed throughout the entire weekend and especially during the doubles final," said Head Coach Jay Tee. "Our guys were down big to a very, very good team from WashU, but never gave up and kept fighting. I'm still a little at a loss for words after watching such a display of grit and determination. But I know I witnessed something special that the team won't forget and will serve us well later in the season."