ATHENS, Ga. - Northwestern's Chris Jackman beat Wake Forest's Morgan Mays 7-5 in the third set of the deciding No. 6 singles match to hand the 36th-ranked Wildcats a 4-3 win over the 19th-ranked Demon Deacons in the first round of the NCAA Tennis Championship at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
The Deacons finish the season with a 20-9 record while the Wildcats (22-9) advance to face the winner of the match between Georgia and Binghamton.
Wake Forest won the doubles point to take an early lead but Northwestern came on strong in singles, taking leads of 2-1 and 3-2. After Adam Lee won at No. 4 singles to tie the score at 3-3, the match came down to Mays and Jackman at No. 6 singles who were tied 3-3 in the third set.
Mays broke Jackman and had a chance to serve out the match for the Deacons at 5-4 in the final frame, but after he took a 30-0 lead in the game, two points away from the match, Jackman responded to break back and eventually closed out the Wake Forest freshman 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5.
The match was the last for Wake Forest's trio of accomplished seniors David Hopkins, Danny Kreyman and Amogh Prabhakar.
Hopkins won in doubles against the Wildcats to finish with 92 career doubles wins, tied for the third most in Wake Forest history. Kreyman ended his career with 105 singles wins, which is the fourth-most for the Wake Forest player. Prabhakar was one of the Demon Deacons' most solid players over the past two seasons, ending his career with 64 singles wins and 58 doubles wins.
The Deacons won the doubles point to grab early control of the match. At the top position, No. 35 David Hopkins and Amogh Prabhakar broke Alex Pasareanu and Spencer Wolf early and continued to build their lead, rolling to an 8-3 win.
At No. 2 doubles, No. 53 Danny Kreyman and Adam Lee fell behind Northwestern's Mihir Kumar and Raleigh Smith early, but rallied back to break the Wildcat duo to take a 6-5 lead. Kreyman stepped up to the line to serve out the match a few games later, leading 8-6, and after the Deacs won the first three points, Lee angled a backhand volley that the Wildcats couldn't get to, giving Wake Forest an 8-6 victory and the doubles point.
The win came at an important time as on Court 3, Northwestern was attempting to serve out the match against Wake Forest, leading 8-7.
But Northwestern seized control in singles, earning straight-set wins at No. 3 and No. 5 to take its first lead of the day 2-1. Sidharth Balaji took down No. 78 Prabhakar 6-3, 6-4 at No. 3 and Alex Pasareanu topped Jon Ho 6-4, 6-4 at No. 5.
Momentum had swung in the Wildcats' favor but David Hopkins got the Deacons back in it, gutting out a tough No. 1 singles match 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. Hopkins earned his first break point of the final set with his opponent Spencer Wolf serving at 4-5 and he wasted no time converting it, smashing a forehand passing shot square on the line to seal victory and tie the overall match 2-2.
Minutes later, No. 87 Smith finished off Kreyman 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) at No. 2 to again put the Wildcats in the lead 3-2. But the Deacons had break advantages in the two remaining matches.
Lee finished off his match at No. 4, topping Mihir Kumar 7-6 (4), 6-2 to tie the score 3-3. The junior ended the season with a 38-9 record - his 38 singles wins ranking as the most-ever in a season for a Demon Deacon.
But the Deacons weren't able to complete the comeback as Jackman fought past Mays at No. 6.
#36 Northwestern 4, #19 Wake Forest 3
1. David Hopkins (WF) def. Spencer Wolf (NU) 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
2. #87 Raleigh Smith (NU) def. Danny Kreyman (WF) 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4)
3. Sidarth Balaji (NU) def. #78 Amogh Prabhakar (WF) 6-3, 6-4
4. #106 Adam Lee (WF) def. Mihir Kumar (NU) 7-6 (7-4), 6-2
5. Alex Pasareanu (NU) def. Jon Ho (WF) 6-4, 6-4
6. Chris Jackman (NU) def. Morgan Mays (WF) 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5
1. #35 David Hopkins/Amogh Prabhakar (WF) def. Spencer Wolf/Alex Pasareanu (NU) 8-3
2. #53 Danny Kreyman/Adam Lee (WF) def. Mihir Kumar/Raleigh Smith (NU) 8-6
3. Jon Ho/Anthony Delcore (WF) vs. Sidarth Balaji/Chris Jackman (NU) 7-8, unfinished
Northwestern 22-9; National ranking #36
Wake Forest 20-9; National ranking #19
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2*); Singles (3,5,1,2,4,6*)
NCAA Championship - First Round