Pepperdine advances to quarterfinals with 4-2 win against Memphis
URBANA, Ill. -- Despite dropping the doubles point, No. 12 Pepperdine rallied back in singles to defeat No. 32 Memphis 4-2 in NCAA Tournament Round of 16. The Waves will face No. 2 Georgia in the quarterfinals for the second-straight season.
Memphis (16-8) took early control of the dual after a solid performance in doubles. Joe Salisbury and David O'Hare, ranked No. 64 in the ITA doubles poll, cruised to an 8-2 win on court one while the Tigers' No. 3 team of David O'Leary and Cedric De Zutter clinched the point with an 8-5 triumph.
The Waves still entered singles with confidence. Although Pepperdine has lost the doubles point 11 times this season prior to today, the team has still walked away with the overall victory on eight occasions.
Pepperdine (27-5) fired back in a big way in singles, winning five of the six opening sets.
Alex Sarkissian quickly put Pepperdine on the board, disposing of Salisbury 6-2, 6-3 from the No. 2 spot in the lineup.
The Tigers didn't go away quietly, however, and regained the lead after David O'Hare posted a straight-set decision on court six.
After escaping the first set with a 7-3 win in the tiebreaker, Sebastian Fanselow steadily found his rhythm and his serve and cruised to a 6-1 triumph in set two.
With just three matches remaining and the score knotted at 2-2, it was still anybody's match. Francis Alcantara fell in set two against Johnny Grimal and was heading to a third, while both Mousheg Hovhannisyan and Finn Tearney were locked in heated second-set battles after winning their respective first sets.
Although O'Leary fought off match point to comeback 5-4 in the second set vs. Hovhannisyan, the senior Wave held serve to win 6-4 in the second and give Pepperdine the go-ahead point 3-2. Tearney also made a late run and clinched the 4-2 win for the Waves after outlasting Lukas Vrnak 6-2, 6-4.
The Bulldogs, despite playing without their No. 1 singles player KU Singh, topped No. 14 Oklahoma 4-1 in the round of 16. UGA and Pepperdine met in the quarterfinals last season in Athens, Ga. The Waves pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of the tournament with their 4-3 victory over the hometown favorite. Pepperdine was ranked No. 7 at the time and issued the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs just their second home loss of the season.
Georgia enters the quarterfinals with a 25-4 record.