FORT WORTH -- The No. 34 BYU men’s tennis team edged out No. 56 TCU 4-3 to remain unbeaten in conference play Saturday. The Cougars improved to 3-0 against Mountain West Conference opponents and 18-5 overall with the road win.
“This win is a testament to competing no matter what the score,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “Beating a good team like TCU at home lets us know we’re capable of playing with anyone.”
Doubles play was a battle from the start, with evenly matched pairs on all courts. Playing together for the first time, Ricardo Campos and Evan Urbina earned a 9-8 victory for BYU on court three. Their win came after Georgy Batrakov and Daniel Hwang dropped a match for only the third time this spring (8-5). The doubles point came down to the contest at the No. 1 position. Cassidy Mears and Thomas Shubert led No. 61 Emanu Brighiu and Christopher Price 8-7 but fell in the tiebreak to give the Horned Frogs the advantage going into singles.
“The players competed well in doubles,” Pearce said. “We had our backs against the wall in singles. It’s a credit to the team and its fitness that we were able to come back and get the win.”
Brighiu earned another point for TCU in singles with a 6-2, 6-4 win. Spencer Smith was the first to put BYU on the board with a straight-set victory on court five. The Horned Frogs were only one match away from upsetting the Cougars after another win at the No. 6 spot.
“This shows the team that it’s not over until it’s over,” Pearce said. “We have to keep fighting.”
Mears turned things around for BYU by winning a third-set tiebreak on court four. Batrakov lost the first set and trailed his opponent 5-2 in the second before rallying back to force a third and tie the score with his victory. Urbina clinched the win for the Cougars with his three-set triumph at the No. 2 position.
Next week, the team will return to Provo for the last two home matches of the season. The Cougars face San Diego State Friday and UNLV Saturday.
No. 34 BYU-4
No. 56 TCU-3
1. #61 E. Brighiu/C. Price (TCU) def. C. Mears/T. Shubert (BYU) 9-8 (7-4)
2. S. Mbarek/C. Nash (TCU) def. G. Batrakov/D. Hwang (BYU) 8-5
3. R. Campos/E. Urbina (BYU) def. P. Chappell/Z. Nichols (TCU) 9-8 (8-6)
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
1. Emanuel Brighiu (TCU) def. Thomas Shubert (BYU) 6-2, 6-4
2. Evan Urbina (BYU) def. Zach Nichols (TCU) 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3
3. Georgy Batrakov (BYU) def. Slah Mbarek (TCU) 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
4. Cassidy Mears (BYU) def. Marius Cirstea (TCU) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4)
5. Spencer Smith (BYU) def. Christopher Price (TCU) 6-4, 6-1
6. Sren Goritzka (TCU) def. Ricardo Campos (BYU) 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 5, 6, 4, 3, 2
PROVO -- With two conference wins under its belt, the No. 34 BYU men’s tennis team will travel to Texas this week to play the last nonconference contest of the season and take on Mountain West opponent No. 56 TCU. The Cougars will face SMU Friday and the Horned Frogs Saturday.
“Our simple goal is to come back with two wins,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “Both of these matches are both important for us.”
BYU improved to 2-0 in conference play with a 6-1 defeat of Air Force and a 5-2 win over New Mexico. The Cougars stand at 17-4 overall, the first time the team has reached the 17-win mark since 2005. Thomas Shubert was honored as MWC Men’s Tennis Player of the Week for his performances over the weekend. It was BYU’s seventh honor this season.
Up first for the Cougars will be Southern Methodist University. The Mustangs (10-10) fell 5-2 to No. 36 Notre Dame Saturday. SMU’s Artem Baradach is currently the No. 68 player in the country. On the doubles side, Adam el-Effendi and Darren Walsh come in at No. 29.
“SMU is a big match. They have a good program and a strong tradition,” Pearce said. “It’s an opportunity for us to get acclimatized in preparation for TCU.”
Saturday’s match will pit BYU against defending regular season champion TCU. The Horned Frogs (7-8, 1-1) have the No. 61 pair in Emanu Brighiu and Christopher Price. In conference play, TCU defeated UNLV 4-3 and lost to San Diego State by the same score. Last season, the Horned Frogs beat the Cougars 5-2 in Salt Lake City.
“I like our chances against TCU,” Pearce said. “But we have to go down there and compete. We’ve experienced a hostile environment when we’ve played there before, and we have to be ready.”
Weekend play kicks off against SMU Friday at 2 p.m. CT at the Turpin Tennis Center in Dallas. BYU will then face TCU Saturday at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center at 11 a.m. CT. Live stats will be available for that match. To follow along, click here.