MALIBU, Calif. – The #7 Pepperdine men’s tennis team battled #2 UCLA with everything they had, despite playing shorthanded, but the Bruins prevailed in the end by a score of 4-3.
The Waves, playing without lineup regular Finn Tearney (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College), got the leg up on the Bruins (21-1) and won the doubles point.
Alex Sarkissian (Glendale, Calif./Glendale CC) and Damian Gryzelko (London, England/Saddlebrook Preparatory School) put Pepperdine on the board, downing Dennis Mkrtchian and Alex Brigham – ranked at #87 – by a score of 8-5.
Meanwhile, the Bruins won on court two to leave the fate of the doubles point on the outcome of the top match.
Sebastian Fanselow (Essen, Germany/Kaplan College Prep) and Francis Alcantara (Cagayan de Oro, Philippines/Fresno State) fell behind a break early, but won three games in a row to take a 7-6 lead versus #38-ranked Marcos Giron and Dennis Novikov.
Although the Waves (21-5) threatened to break again for the match, UCLA held serve before breaking Alcantara. Pepperdine broke right back to tie the match 8-8 and send the contest to the tiebreaker.
Fanselow and Alcantara battled back and forth with Giron and Novikov, but a late run capped by an Alcantara ace clinched the tiebreaker 7-5 to give Pepperdine a 1-0 lead heading into singles.
Pepperdine and UCLA faced off in a heated battle, with both teams winning the first sets on three courts.
The Bruins overtook the lead, 3-1, after wins from the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6. lineup positions.
With their backs against the wall the Waves climbed back, beginning with Sarkissian’s 6-4, 7-5 triumph over #18-ranked Giron. It was the junior’s second win over a ranked opponent this season.
Fanselow was brilliant in a come-from-behind 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 win over Novikov. Novikov broke Fanselow’s serve late to force a tiebreaker in the third set, but the senior All-American quickly took control and won 7-3 to tie the dual score up 3-3.
The deciding match came down to David Sofaer (Bellevue Hill, Australia/Sydney Distance Education HS) and Clay Thompson on court five. The opposing players were deadlocked 5-5 when Fanselow’s match wrapped up.
After both players held serve, the match was sent to a tiebreaker. Although Thompson claimed a 5-2 lead, Sofaer fought his way back to knot it up a 6-all. The Wave went ahead match point, 7-6, but his shot down the sideline flew just wide and Thompson found new life tied at 7-7. Thompson once again went ahead match point, and Sofaer would not come back again and bowed out 9-7.
The Waves return for one final regular-season match this Friday, April 19 vs. BYU. First serve is scheduled for 3 p.m. and Senior Day will be celebrated. Seniors Fanselow, Tearney and Mousheg Hovhannisyan (North Hollywood, Calif./Continental Academy) will be recognized prior to the start of the dual.
Tennis Match Results
UCLA vs Pepperdine
Apr 15, 2013 at Malibu, Calif.
(Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center)
#2 UCLA 4, #7 Pepperdine 3
1. #16 Sebastian Fanselow (PEP) def. #32 Dennis Novikov (UCLA) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3)
2. Alex Sarkissian (PEP) def. #18 Marcos Giron (UCLA) 6-4, 7-5
3. #20 Adrien Puget (UCLA) def. #80 Francis Alcantara (PEP) 7-5, 6-3
4. #70 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA) def. Mousheg Hovhannisyan (PEP) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
5. Clay Thompson (UCLA) def. David Sofaer (PEP) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (9-7)
6. Karue Sell (UCLA) def. Kento Tanaka-Tamaki (PEP) 6-3, 6-1
1. Sebastian Fanselow/Francis Alcantara (PEP) def. #38 Marcos Giron/Dennis Novikov (UCLA) 9-8 (7-5)
2. #50 Adrien Puget/Karue Sell (UCLA) def. David Sofaer/Mousheg Hovhannisyan (PEP) 8-3
3. Alex Sarkissian/Damian Gryzelko (PEP) def. #87 Dennis Mkrtchian/Alex Brigham (UCLA) 8-5
UCLA 21-1; National ranking #2
Pepperdine 21-5; National ranking #7
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (6,3,4,2,1,5)