It was a battle of extremely high level tennis between two of the top programs in college tennis on Saturday night in Austin as the top-ranked Texas Longhorns hosted No. 3 TCU. With both squads entering the contest unbeaten in league play, the match would determine the Big 12 regular season champion and top seed in the upcoming Big 12 Tournament. TCU took a lead after battling to a Doubles point win and held a 2-1 lead after two Singles matches were decided, but the Longhorns won out the final four matches to take the dual in a 2-5 final decision
The Frogs took the fight directly to the ‘Horns and the large crowd on hand in Austin, breaking serve early across all three of the Doubles courts. Sebastian Gorzny & Pedro Vives captured the first Doubles set by sweeping the final four games to take a 6-3 win over No. 78 pair of Siem Woldeab & Pierre-Yves Bailly. The Doubles point was secured for the Frogs from the marquee matchup in Court 1 as No. 4 Jake Fearnley & Luc Fomba bested No. 2 pairing Eliot Spizzirri & Cleeve Harper 6-4.
As the evening sun turned to twilight and the stadium lights illuminated the courts, the Singles matches were set to begin with TCU holding that 1-point lead, needing to win just three of the six remaining contests to take home the Big 12 Title. Texas took four of the opening sets and quickly had the match tied thanks to Cleeve Harper’s straight-set victory over No. 70 Gorzny. That would be the only match to be resolved in only two sets, as all other battles went the distance. The Frogs re-took the lead from Court 4 as Texas’ No. 38 Woldeab forced a third set with No. 60 Sander Jong, but Jong won every game the rest of the way to take a 6-2, 5-7, 6-0 victory. It would however be the final match that the Frogs would take on the night.
From Court 6, Vives forced a third set with Nevin Arimili, but the Longhorn quickly took the point to tie the contest at two apiece with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 win. No. 15 Fearnley had top overall Singles player Spizzirri on the ropes at Court 1, winning the first set 6-4 and reaching tiebreakers in the 2nd set with a chance to put him away and secure a big point for TCU. However Spizzirri showed the resilience he’s had all season to remain at No. 1, getting back off the mat for a 7-6 (7-4) 2nd set win to survive and then sprinting to a 6-2 final set to give the Longhorns the lead. Texas secured the dual victory and conference crown as No. 26 Bailly outlasted TCU Freshman No. 90 Jack Pinnington Jones in three sets 6-2, 5-7, 6-1. The competitors closed out the final point despite the match being in-hand for UT. No. 25 Luc Fomba had an exquisite chance to secure an opening set win, but dropped several set points, eventually giving No. 78 Micah Braswell a 7-6 (7-5) win with the deciding point being a Fomba double fault. Fomba bounced back to take the 2nd set 6-3 and again pushed into a tiebreaker for set three, eventually falling 7-6 (7-3).
The loss dropped TCU to 20-2 on the season and 5-1 in conference play, with its only losses coming to No. 1 Texas. TCU will be the 2-seed in the Big 12 Tournament, which gives the Frogs a Bye into the Semifinals. The Big 12 Tournament will take place at the Jayhawk Tennis Center in Lawrence, KS beginning Friday April 21 with the Championship to be decided on Sunday the 23rd on ESPN+. TCU’s opening match will be on Saturday Aprill 22 at 9AM against the winner of Fridays contest between 3-seed Texas Tech and 6-seed Oklahoma State. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will be Monday May 1 at 5:30 PM on NCAA.com with the Regions to begin May 5th at on-campus sites.