UCF Falls to SMU at American Athletic Conference Championships

April 18, 2014

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By Dan Forcella

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UCFKnights.com) – The UCF men’s tennis team was upended by SMU in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Championships Friday.  The fifth-seeded Mustangs defeated the fourth-seeded Knights 4-1 at the Raquet Club of Memphis.

SMU put 62nd-ranked UCF in a hole early by winning the first two doubles matches to earn the first point of the day.  The Mustangs won 8-5 at number one doubles and 8-2 at the number two position to get out to the lead.

The Knights tied things up at the start of singles play when freshman Inaki Espindola cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 victory at the number four spot, making it 1-1 overall.

After SMU won in straight sets at number one and six to take a 3-1 lead, three matches remained and all three went into a third set.  Chris Barrus, Francesc Aulina, and Amar Hromic were all in tightly contested sets and the Knights needed to win all three to move on.

Unfortunately for UCF, Hromic dropped his final set in a tie-breaker as Alex Sanders won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) to clinch the match for the Mustangs.  Barrus was leading 4-2, while Aulina was tied 6-6 when their matches went unfinished.

With the triumph SMU improved to 11-12 and advanced to play top-seeded Memphis in the semifinals of the tournament.  UCF fell to 12-9 on the season.

Singles competition
1. #115 Arturs Kazijevs (SMU) def. Matthew Gladstone (UCF) 6-2, 6-2
2. Alex Sanders (SMU) def. Amar Hromic (UCF) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3)
3. Francesc Aulina (UCF) vs. Mischa Nowicki (SMU) 6-2, 6-7 (9-11), 6-6, unfinished
4. Inaki Espindola (UCF) def. Julio Olaya (SMU) 6-2, 6-0
5. Chris Barrus (UCF) vs. Nate Lammons (SMU) 7-6, 4-6, 4-2, unfinished
6. Tony Russell (SMU) def. Jose Sangroniz (UCF) 6-2, 6-4 

Doubles competition
1. Mischa Nowicki/Arkidjas Slobodkins (SMU) def. Amar Hromic/Jesse Flores (UCF) 8-5
2. Alex Sanders/Nate Lammons (SMU) def. Matthew Gladstone/Francesc Aulina (UCF) 8-2
3. Chris Barrus/Inaki Espindola (UCF) vs. Arturs Kazijevs/Tony Russell (SMU) 2-5, unfinished 

Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (4,1,6,2)



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