Pfister Wins Three-Set Thriller to Claim Match for No. 22 Tech
WACO, Texas – Raphael Pfister had a thrilling come-from-behind three-set win to claim a 4-3 victory for No. 22 Texas Tech over No. 43 Rice in the first round of the NCAA Championships at the Baylor Tennis Center Friday afternoon.
“Raphael played one of the gutsiest matches I have ever been a part of,” said head coach Tim Siegel. “He was down 6-4, 2-0, and really getting beat, and found a will and a second wind and just played extremely tough down the stretch.”
Tech (17-9) started off the match by winning the doubles point for the 15th time this season with victories at all three spots. Winning quickly was No. 1 and then the other two matches finished exactly at the same time as No. 2 won its match point when No. 3 won on a double fault.
The Red Raiders’ All-Big 12 doubles team of No. 20 Raony Carvalho and Rafael Garcia easily downed Harry Fowler and Oscar Podlewski, 8-1. The match marked the return of Garcia who missed the previous two matches due to an injury he sustained during the Oklahoma match on April 17.
Tech’s No. 2 team of 50th-ranked Gonzalo Escobar and Vitor Manzini wrapped up its match simultaneously as Jeff Bryan and Raphael Pfister did at No. 3. Escobar and Manzini topped Christian Saravia and Michael Nuesslein, 8-4, while Bryan and Pfister picked up a 9-7 victory over Peter Frank and Sam Garforth-Bles.
“I’m very proud of Jeff Bryan to be a big part of our win. I felt we needed to get the doubles point and that’s the best we’ve played as a whole at all three spots,” stated Siegel.
Singles began with Rice (17-10) winning four of the six opening sets with Tech getting first-set wins at No. 1 and No. 2.
No. 23 Carvalho gave Tech a 2-0 lead by dominating at No. 1, 6-0, 6-2, over No. 84 Fowler. However, the Owls got on the scoreboard by winning the next three matches to take a 3-2 advantage. Garforth-Bles beat Manzini, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 4 and Podlewski, 6-3, 6-2, defeated Garcia at No. 3. Saravia then gave Rice the lead with a 6-2, 6-2, victory at No. 5.
The Red Raiders tied the match at three all as No. 26 Escobar dropped Frank, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 2.
“I can’t say enough about how well we played at No. 1 and No. 2,” Siegel stated. “Those guys were fantastic.”
With the match knotted at 3-3, that left the deciding point in the hands of Pfister.
Pfister lost the first set 6-4 and was down 2-0 before battling back to win the second set 6-3. On serve in the third set at 1-1, Pfister broke serve and was broken right back by Philip Seifert. After that, Pfister broke Seifert’s serve and followed that up by holding serve to go up 4-2. He again broke serve to lead 5-2 before Seifert broke back to put the score at 5-3. On his second match point, Pfister broke serve to win his match with a 6-3 third-set triumph and clinch the win for the Red Raiders.
“I knew Rice would be very tough. There is no question that talent-wise they are a top 25 team,” Siegel said. “To win a match like this in the NCAA Tournament will really give our team confidence going into tomorrow. We will give everything we got tomorrow.”
Tech advances to the second round of the NCAA Championships and will face the winner of the No.5 Baylor-No. 70 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sat., May 14, at 3 p.m.
#22 Texas Tech 4, #43 Rice 3
NCAA Championships – First Round
May 13, 2011
Baylor Tennis Center – Waco, Texas
Doubles – 1, 2/3
1. #20 Carvalho/Garcia (TTU) def. Fowler/Poslewski (Rice), 8-1
2. #50 Escobar/Manzini (TTU) def. Saravia/Michael Nuesslein (Rice), 8-4
3. Jeff Bryan/Pfister (TTU) def. Frank/Garforth-Bles (Rice), 9-7
Singles – 1, 4, 3, 5, 2, 6*
1. #23 Raony Carvalho (TTU) def. #84 Harry Fowler (Rice), 6-0, 6-2
2. #26 Gonzalo Escobar (TTU) def. Peter Frank (Rice), 6-1, 6-1
3. Oscar Podlewski (Rice) def. Rafael Garcia (TTU), 6-3, 6-2
4. Sam Garforth-Bles (Rice) def. Vitor Manzini (TTU), 6-1, 6-1
5. Christian Saravia (Rice) def. Gabriel Wanderley (TTU), 6-2, 6-2
6. Raphael Pfister (TTU) def. Philip Seifert (Rice), 4-6, 6- 3, 6-3