Wake Forest advances to second round for first time in three seasons
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Wake Forest survived a lengthy rain delay and a move from outdoors to in to dispatch Louisville 4-1 in the opening round of the NCAA championships.
The Demon Deacons (15-13) move on to face Ohio State at noon ET Friday.
Wake Forest adapted well to the move indoors that happened toward the end of doubles, finishing off the doubles point and earning three straight-set singles victories to book a spot in the second round of the tournament for the first time since 2011.
"It always feels great to get a win in the NCAA tournament," head coach Tony Bresky said. "I thought we played pretty well across the board. [Our guys] did a good job winning their first sets and keeping that momentum going through the second sets to make those matches easier than we thought they would be."
The Deacons fought through a two-hour-and-11-minute rain delay to win the doubles point. Louisville (21-7) grabbed the early advantage as Chris Simich and Albert Wagner beat Pedro Dumont and Jon Ho 8-4 at No. 1, but Wake Forest answered at No. 2 as Romain Bogaerts and Maksim Kan topped Sebastian Stiefelmeyer and Jeffrey Brown 8-4 to even things up.
With Wake Forest's Anthony Delcore and Adam Lee leading Alex Gornet and Van Damrongsri 7-2 in the deciding No. 3 match, the skies opened up forcing a lengthy delay. After multiple attempts to dry the courts, the rain started again and the match was moved indoors.
With the doubles indoors in front of a loud partisan crowd, Louisville looked to make a comeback in the remaining match, holding to cut the lead to 7-3 and then breaking Lee as he attempted to serve out the point for the Deacs. But Wake Forest put pressure on Gornet's serve in the following game and Adam Lee smashed a backhand return on match point to give the Deacons an 8-4 win and the doubles point.
"Louisville came out with a lot of energy [after the move indoors] and made that match close, but we were able to close it out," Bresky said. "All across the board I think our guys had a lot of energy and adapted to the conditions pretty well."
Traditionally strong indoor players, Ho and Kan set the tone for the Deacs in singles, racing to early first-set leads. Ho posted Wake Forest's second point, cruising by Chris Simich 6-1, 6-3 and Kan scored the third with a 6-2, 6-3 win against Gornet.
Bogaerts, No. 29, clinched the win for the Demon Deacons at the top position with a masterful performance, winning the final eight games of the match to take down Sebastian Stiefelmeyer 7-5, 6-0.
Louisville's lone point came at No. 2 where Wagner topped No. 94 Lee 6-2, 6-2.