CLAREMONT, Calif. — Eighth-ranked Williams defeated host and third-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 5-4 in thrilling fashion on Tuesday to advance to the NCAA Division III men’s tennis semifinals.
With the victory, the Ephs will now face rival Amherst in the semis. The loss ends the Claremont-M-S Stags season with a record of 27-4 and snapped its 13-match win streak.
The Ephs battled the Stags deep into the night on the Stags’ home courts, surprising the host team by taking Nos. 1 and 2 doubles and claiming an early 2-1 lead. Matt Micheli and Bryan Chow won at No. 1 doubles 8-4 and Trey Meyer and Felix Sun won 8-3 in the second slot.
Claremont-M-S stormed back in singles, winning in straight sets at Nos. 3, 2 and 1 to take a 4-2 lead. The Ephs top singles player, Felix Sun, bounced back from an 0-6 second-set loss to capture his match with a 6-4 win in the third set to make the team score 4-3 in favor of C-M-S.
At No. 6 singles, Dylan Page opened his match with a 7-5 first-set win before dropping the second set 6-1. He followed in the third set with a convincing 6-1 win to even the team match score at 4.
The match came down to No. 5 singles where sophomore Bryan Chow lost his first set 6-3, but bounced back to win the second set in a tie breaker 7-6 (3). With the crowd now fully engaged in the third set, Chow and C-M-S’s Ronald Wu fought through a tense and exciting final set that featured Chow fighting off seven match points and succeeding on his one match point to prevail 11-9 in the tie-breaker and lift the Ephs above the Stags.
“This was the most unbelievable college match I’ve seen,” Williams coach Dan Greenberg said. ”Bryan saved seven match points and capitalized on his one match point. Just an amazing effort to clinch the win for us.
“The entire day the guys fought and didn’t let up, even when Claremont went on a run in singles and looked close to winning. Truly proud of how tough these guys were.”