Frogs Fall to No. 9 Ole Miss
WACO, Texas—TCU’s men’s tennis team continued its early-season gauntlet of a schedule Thursday with a 5-2 loss to No. 9 Ole Miss at the Baylor Tennis Center. So far this season, each of the 32nd-ranked Horned Frogs’ eight matches have come against teams currently ranked no lower than No. 56, including five of the nation’s top-20 squads.
The loss dropped the Frogs to 2-6 on the season, while Ole Miss improved to 7-1.
TCU faced a difficult task Thursday without the services of sophomore Emanuel Brighiu, who has served as the squad’s No. 1 singles player this spring. Brighiu was held out of action due to injury.
The team responded without its top player, with the tandem of senior Kriegler Brink and freshman Slah Mbarek moving into the No. 1 doubles position to replace Brighiu and junior Adrian Simon. Brink and Mbarek upset the nation’s fourth-ranked duo of Jonas Berg and Bram ten Berge, 8-3, while sophomores Zach Nichols and Christopher Price followed with an 8-4 win over Devin Britton and Tucker Vorster to clinch the doubles point.
The win in doubles marked the fourth straight match against a top-20 team that TCU has taken the doubles point. Mbarek and Brink improved to 4-0 in doubles since teaming up for the first time last week against No. 14 Texas A&M.
In singles action, Mbarek continued his outstanding debut season with his second win of the spring against a ranked opponent. The native of Tunisia won in three sets at the No. 2 position over 40th-ranked Devin Britton, 6-4 (2), 5-7, 7-6 (2). Britton, also a freshman, was a finalist at the 2008 US Open Junior meet.
Three other Rebels brought national rankings into Wednesday’s singles action, with each garnering victories. Brink, who moved into the No. 1 slot due to Brighiu’s absence, dropped a 6-4, 7-6 (2) decision to the 39th-rated Berg, while Nichols and Price lost respective matches to No. 32 Kalle Norg at No. 3 singles (6-2, 6-2) and the 79th-ranked ten Berge in the No. 4 position (6-3, 6-3).
Simon took Ole Miss’ Otto Sauer to three sets at No. 5 singles before losing the super tiebreaker, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 10-8. The match was Simon’s second straight that went to the super tiebreaker. Sophomore Casey Powers lost to Marcel Thiemann at No. 6 singles, 6-1, 7-5, in his second match of the spring.
“I thought we competed really well,” Head Coach Dave Borelli said. “I was worried how the guys would respond without Brighiu. Slah really stepped up against a great player, and our doubles have continued to stand out for us.
“We had our chances to hang in there, but they are a really great team. We just need to get a little more experience against these types of teams and continue to improve in singles play. I think these tough matches will prepare us for the second half of the season.”
TCU next travels to Lubbock, Texas, to take on No. 29 Texas Tech Saturday at 1 p.m.
No. 9 Ole Miss 5, No. 32 TCU 2
Feb. 26, 2009
Waco, Texas (Baylor Tennis Center)
1. Slah Mbarek/Kriegler Brink (TCU) def. (4) Jonas Berg/Bram ten Berge (Miss.), 8-3
2. Zach Nichols/Christopher Price (TCU) def. Devin Britton/Tucker Vorster (Miss.), 8-4
3. Christoph Thiemann/Marcel Thiemann (Miss.) def. Adrian Simon/Jack Seider (TCU), 8-1
1. (39) Jonas Berg (Miss.) def. Kriegler Brink (TCU)—6-4, 7-6 (2)
2. Slah Mbarek (TCU) def. (40) Devin Britton (Miss.)—6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (2)
3. (32) Kalle Norberg (Miss.) def. Zach Nichols (TCU)—6-2, 6-2
4. (79) Bram ten Berge (Miss.) def. Christopher Price (TCU)—6-3, 6-3
5. Otto Sauer (Miss.) def. Adrian Simon (TCU)—7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 10-8
6. Marcel Thiemann (Miss.) def. Casey Powers (TCU)—6-1, 7-5