(ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla.) - With a 6-3 win over fourth-ranked Emory University, the ninth-ranked Carnegie Mellon University Tartans advance to the University Athletic Association (UAA) Men's Tennis Championship match for the first time in school history. The Tartans improve to 17-5 on the year while the Eagles fall to 16-6.
The number one pair of juniors Will Duncan (Newbury Park, Calif./Newbury Park) and Christian Heaney-Secord (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) earned the first point of the match with an 8-2 dominating performance while the number two pair of junior Bryce Beisswanger (Los Angeles, Calif./Viewpoint School) and freshman Kiril Kirkov (Tampa, Fla./C. Leon King) withstood a late Emory rally to win 8-5, giving the Tartans a 2-0 lead.
At number three doubles, sophomore Yuvraj Kumar (New Delhi, India/Millfield School) and freshman Kenny Zheng (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) battled back from a 4-1 deficit to take a 5-4 lead and later win 8-5 to give the Tartans what they needed, a 3-0 advantage, heading into singles play.
Emory got back in the match with wins at number two singles and number five singles, as the Tartans held first set wins at three, four and six singles.
With freshman Kunal Wadwani (Saratoga, Calif./Ballarmine College Prep) up at six singles after a first set 7-6(7-1)win, he fell behind 4-1 to start the second set. The freshman battled back and fought off three straight match points to tie it at 5-5 and went on to win 7-5 after winning five straight points to make the score 4-2 in favor of the Tartans.
As Wadwani put the Tartans within one point of moving on to the championship match, Duncan and Kirkov were in their own three set battles while sophomore Abhishek Alla (Hyderabad, India/IMG Pendleton School) forced a third set at number one singles.
Duncan fell behind 5-3 but won three straight points to take a 6-5 lead while Kirkov went up 4-1. Duncan fed off the momentum of Wadwani's win and pulled out a third-set tiebreaker 7-6(7-4) at number three singles to give the Tartans the match point they needed.
Kirkov finished off his number four singles match with a 6-3 third-set win to put the Tartans up 6-2 before Alla fell at number one singles 6-2 in his third set.
The win for the Tartans marks the first time in UAA history that Emory is not playing in the championship match.
The Tartans will face Washington University, ranked second in the nation, on Saturday at 9:00 am for the program's first title. It will also be a re-match of a 6-3 Washington win during the first round of the Stag-Hen Invitational on March 14.