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2017-2018 Game of the Year Nominee: Men’s Tennis Upsets A&M on the road

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The Frogs knocked off a top ten opponent, part of a 12 match winning streak, on their way to the postseason.

image courtesy of www.gofrogs.com

David Roditi has built a powerhouse on the purple courts in Fort Worth, vaulting the men’s tennis program at TCU from also ran to national power.

He oversaw the one of the best players in TCU history - after being one himself - over the course of Cameron Norrie’s three years, winning back-to-back Big 12 titles in the process. For that reason, the Frogs were expected to take a bit of a step back in 2018, but Roditi and company weren’t ready to go down easy. And with one of the best home court advantages in all of collegiate tennis behind them, they put together an impressive mid-season run that included a back to back upsets of a top ten teams.

After losing at #9 Illinois, the Frogs would go blemish free for the next seven weeks, scorching through the Big 12 schedule - losing only in the championship game of the conference tournament. Nine of their 12 straight wins would come over ranked opponents, including a streak of three straight in March. Sandwiched in the middle of a sweep of #9 Columbia and a dominating 6-1 victory over #32 Tulane was a hard-fought road win over the best team in Texas, #6 Texas A&M.

Led by senior Guillermo Nunez, the Frogs earned their fifth straight win, securing the doubles point and the final singles point to secure the 4-3 victory.

Alastair Gray and Trevor Johnson won the first doubles match, followed by a victory by Alex Rybakov and Nunez. Rybakov followed his doubles win with a singles victory, putting the Frogs up 2-0 with his eighth straight victory on the year. A&M won straight sets to tie things up at two a piece, but freshman Bertus Kruger put TCU back on top with a 6-0, 6-4 victory of his own. Nunex followed that up by earning the tiebreaker and thus the match, over No. 25 Valentin Vacherot for his fifth straight win and third over a ranked opponent.

David Roditi was fired up by the win. “Tonight was a huge road win for our guys. There were tough conditions and this is a very tough place to play and our guys were ready and more importantly resilient and mentally tough. The doubles point can be a critical point and I felt like we took advantage of opportunities and we showed a lot of poise in tough situations in doubles. In singles, we got off to a great start and as expected they fought back. I am proud of our guys for hanging in there and continuing to do what was working for them. The best part about this win is there is still room for improvement.

The Frogs would make it to the championship round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Illinois yet again, beating Utah State and Oregon in the first two rounds.