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NCAA Championship
SEC vs. Big 12 in the NCAA Division I Men's Final Four
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The seeds held true to form to set up a Big 12 vs. SEC Final Four in the NCAA Division I Men’s Championships.

No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Baylor, No. 3 Tennessee and No. 4 Texas all registered victories on Thursday to move one step away from a chance to capture a national title.

Defending champion Texas and No. 12 University of Southern California engaged in the most dramatic quarterfinal match, with Texas sophomore Cleeve Harper beating Bradley Frye 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to clinch the 4-3 victory over the Trojans at the USTA National Tennis Center in Lake Nona, Florida.

With all eyes on their match at court four, Harper and Frye were tied 3-3 in the third set. Harper broke to take a 6-5 lead and then served out the match to secure the Longhorn’s trip back to the semifinals.

“When you’re in a 3-all match in the last eight, it’s a little nerve-wracking. My coaches always preach to me to trust myself and play aggressive,” said Harper, a Canadaian who trained at Smith Stearns Academy (S.C). “I just tried to play my game. It ended up working out for me. It’s an unbelievable feeling and it’s one I’ll remember forever.”

Baylor and Tennessee had to overcome conference rivals to set up their semifinal showdown. Tennessee defeated No. 11 Georgia 4-1 in the opening match of the day, followed by Baylor taking down No. 7 TCU 4-1.

The Vols (28-3) lost the doubles point to UGA, but swept four straight singles matches to secure a spot in the semifinals for the first time since 2010.

Andrew Rogers rallied from down 5-2 in the second set to beat Erik Grevelius 6-3, 7-5 on court six and pave the way for Luca Wiedenmann to clinch the victory with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Blake Croyder at court four.

“I was a little bit disappointed [after dropping the doubles point],” Tennessee head coach Chris Woodruff said. “But I told them that was probably the best thing that could happen ... I think they really forced us to dig in.”

Baylor (33-4) beat TCU for the third time this season to advance to the program’s sixth Final Four in program history, and first since 2015.

The doubles point came down to court three, where Baylor’s Charlie Broom and Finn Bass defeated TCU’s Bertus Kruger and Jake Fearnley 7-6 (5).

Trailing 5-2 in the opening set of singles on court six, Spencer Furman won nine straight games and 11 of the last 12 to beat Kruger 7-5, 6-1 and clinch Baylor’s win.

Baylor is 2-6 all-time against Tennessee, but haven't played the Vols since a 4-3 loss in Knoxville in March 2012.

"We know they're going to be really feisty and tough and make a lot of balls and make it really hard for us," Baylor head coach Michael Woodson said. “We're going to have to bring our 'A' game and we're going to have to band together if we're going to have a chance to win."

In the quarterfinal nightcap, Florida dropped the doubles point before rebounding to win four consecutive matches in singles. Ben Shelton, Blaise Bicknell, Sam Riffice and Duarte Vale all recorded straight-set wins.

“Unfortunately (the doubles point) didn't bounce our way but we've been resilient all year,” Florida head coach Brian Shelton said. “We've lost doubles points throughout the season. We lost the doubles point last time we played Texas A&M at the SEC Tournament and we turned that match around and won it. So back to business - business as usual."

Texas has both its men’s and women’s programs still remaining in the Final Four for only the second time in program history. In 1993, the women won the title and the men lost in the semifinal.

The Texas men beat Florida 4-3 on Jan. 23 in Austin. The programs also met in the 2019 NCAA semifinals, with the Longhorns emerging with a 4-2 win in Lake Nona on their way to the title.

After watching his team improve to 8-1 in outcomes decided by the final singles match this season, head coach Bruce Berque is confident his players will be ready for anything thrown their way against the Gators.

“Obviously if it happens once or twice or three times, you might chalk it up to luck, you win some you lose some. When it happens this many times I gotta feel like there’s some special character on this team,” Berque said. “That’s gotta have something to do with it. We’ve got a lot of guys that love tennis and compete hard and have each other’s backs in the big moments.

 

Friday’s Semifinals Schedule:

No. 3 Tennessee vs. No. 2 Baylor, 2 p.m. ET

No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 Texas, 7:30 p.m. ET

 

Quarterfinal Results:

No. 3 Tennessee 4, No. 11 Georgia 1

Doubles

1. #4 Pat Harper/Adam Walton (UT) def. #7 Trent Bryde/Tyler Zink (UGA) 6-3

2. #54 Blake Croyder/Billy Rowe (UGA) def. Johannus Monday/Martim Prata (UT) 6-3

3. Philip Henning/Erik Grevelius (UGA) def. Giles Hussey/Mark Wallner (UT) 6-2

Order of finish: 1,2,3

Singles

1. #10 Adam Walton (UT) def. #15 Trent Bryde (UGA) 6-4, 6-4

2. #8 Johannus Monday (UT) def. #27 Tyler Zink (UGA) 7-6 (7-3), 6-4

3. #41 Martim Prata (UT) vs. #19 Philip Henning (UGA) 3-6, 6-6 (3-3), unfinished

4. Luca Wiedenmann (UT) def. Blake Croyder (UGA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3

5. #92 Giles Hussey (UT) vs. Billy Rowe (UGA) 2-6, 6-2, 0-2, unfinished

6. Andrew Rogers (UT) def. Erik Grevelius (UGA) 6-3, 7-5

Order of finish: 1,2,6,4

No. 2 Baylor 4, No. 7 TCU 1

Doubles

1. #2 Luc Fomba/Alastair Gray (TCU) def. #9 Constantin Frantzen/Sven Lah (BU) 6-2

2. #75 Matias Soto/Nick Stachowiak (BU) def. Tadeas Paroulek/Sander Jong (TCU) 6-3

3. Charlie Broom/Finn Bass (BU) def. Bertus Kruger/Jake Fearnley (TCU) 7-6 (7-5)

Order of finish: 1,2,3

Singles

1. #21 Adrian Boitan (BU) vs. #12 Alastair Gray (TCU) 4-6, 6-5, unfinished

2. #11 Matias Soto (BU) def. #17 Luc Fomba (TCU) 6-4, 6-4

3. Sven Lah (BU) def. #110 Jake Fearnley (TCU) 6-3, 6-1

4. Nick Stachowiak (BU) vs. #94 Tomas Jirousek (TCU) 7-5, 2-3, unfinished

5. Tadeas Paroulek (TCU) def. Charlie Broom (BU) 6-2, 6-4

6. Spencer Furman (BU) def. Bertus Kruger (TCU) 7-5, 6-1

Order of finish: 3,5,2,6

No. 4 Texas 4, No. 12 USC 3

Doubles

1. #11 Siem Woldeab/Eliot Spizzirri (UT) def. #10 Daniel Cukierman/Riley Smith (USC) 7-6 (4)

2. Bradley Frye/Stefan Dostanic (USC) def. #78 Cleeve Harper/Chih Chi Huang (UT) 6-2

3. Micah Braswell/Payton Holden (UT) def. Jake Sands/Ryder Jackson (USC) 6-4

Order of finish: 2,3,1

Singles

1. #49 Daniel Cukierman (USC) def. #23 Eliot Spizzirri (UT) 6-4, 2-6, 6-1

2. #38 Micah Braswell (UT) def. #52 Riley Smith (USC) 6-4, 6-3

3. #116 Stefan Dostanic (USC) def. #75 Siem Woldeab (UT) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3

4. #108 Cleeve Harper (UT) def. Bradley Frye (USC) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5

5. Chih Chi Huang (UT) def. Lodewijk Weststrate (USC) 6-2, 0-6, 6-3

6. Jake Sands (USC) def. Evin McDonald (UT) 6-4, 6-4

Order of finish: 2,6,1,5,3,4

No. 1 Florida 4, No. 8 Texas A&M 1

1. #8 Bjorn Thomson/Carlos Aguilar (TAMU) def. Duarte Vale/Johannes Ingildsen (UF) 7-6 (8-6)

2. #65 Valentin Vacherot/Pierce Rollins (TAMU) def. Sam Riffice/Ben Shelton (UF) 6-3

3. Will Grant/Brian Berdusco (UF) def. #86 Hady Habib/Noah Schachter (TAMU) 6-2

Order of finish: 3,2,1

Singles

1. #4 Duarte Vale (UF) def. #5 Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-2

2. #6 Sam Riffice (UF) def. #3 Hady Habib (TAMU) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4

3. #18 Andy Andrade (UF) vs. #30 Carlos Aguilar (TAMU) 6-3, 4-6, 4-3, *unfinished*

4. #51 Blaise Bicknell (UF) def. #100 Noah Schachter (TAMU) 6-3, 6-4

5. Ben Shelton (UF) def. #122 Pierce Rollins (TAMU) 6-2, 7-5

6. #79 Josh Goodger (UF) vs. Guido Marson (TAMU) 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 2-3, *unfinished*

Order of finish: 5,4,2,1

 
 

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