A long wait was well worth it for the Minnesota men's tennis team at Friday's NCAA Regional as the Gophers opened with a 4-1 win over Arizona in Austin, Texas.
The teams were forced to endure an eight-and-a-half hour rain delay before finally getting started at 6:30 p.m. They even warmed up around 12:30 p.m. only to have a storm come through just as the match was about to start. The match was originally scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
Minnesota is 14-10 overall and has won its NCAA opener two straight years after beating New Mexico in last season's tournament opener. The Gophers will take on Texas, which is the third overall seed in the tournament, on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Longhorns rolled past Texas-San Antonio 4-0 in Friday's other first round matchup. Arizona, which was ranked 30th in the country, ended its season at 13-11 overall. The winner of Saturday's match advances to the NCAA Round of 16 on May 21 in Athens, Ga.
The Gophers won the doubles point over the Wildcats as Dino Bilankov and Sebastian Gallego posted the clinching win with an 8-4 victory over Andres Arango and Ravid Hazi at No. 2. Arizona had the first doubles win as Geoff Embry and Pat Metham beat the Gophers' Tobias Wernet and Julian Dehn 8-3 at No. 1. Minnesota bounced back with a win from Phillip Arndt and Rok Bonin over Jay Goldman and Borja Malo 8-5 at No. 3 before the clinching win at No. 3.
The two team matches were played simultaneously on six courts, so the top three singles matches went on the court and the remaining matches began after Texas' victory opened up the other three courts. Wernet gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead with a straight sets win at No. 2 singles as he defeated Arango 6-3, 6-4. Gallego made it 3-0 with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Goldman at No. 1 singles for his sixth straight win and 20th of the season.
Arizona got on the board at No. 3 singles when Andres Carrasco beat Bonin 6-4, 6-2. However, Bilankov dominated Hazi at No. 5 by a 6-1, 6-1 score to finish the match. The Wildcats won the first set at the other two flights by 6-4 scores when the match was suspended. Jason Zafiros had the lead on Arndt at No. 4 and Malo led Brendan Ruddock at No. 6.
Minnesota and Texas will be meeting for the fifth time and first time since 2006. The Longhorns have won the previous four matchups.
#35 Minnesota 4, #30 Arizona 1
May 14, 2010 at Austin, Texas
(Penick-Allison Tennis Center)
1. #68 Sebastian Gallego (MINN) def. Jay Goldman (ARIZ) 6-3, 7-5
2. #114 Tobias Wernet (MINN) def. Andres Arango (ARIZ) 6-3, 6-4
3. Andres Carrasco (ARIZ) def. Rok Bonin (MINN) 6-4, 6-2
4. Jason Zafiros (ARIZ) vs. Phillip Arndt (MINN) 6-4, 0-1, unfinished
5. Dino Bilankov (MINN) def. Ravid Hazi (ARIZ) 6-1, 6-1
6. Borja Malo (ARIZ) vs. Brendan Ruddock (MINN) 6-4, 1-2, unfinished
1. Geoff Embry/Pat Metham (ARIZ) def. Julian Dehn/Tobias Wernet (MINN) 8-3
2. Dino Bilankov/Sebastian Gallego (MINN) def. Ravid Hazi/Andres Arango (ARIZ) 8-4
3. Phillip Arndt/Rok Bonin (MINN) def. Jay Goldman/Borja Malo (ARIZ) 8-5
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,1,3,5)
NCAA Tournament First Round - Austin, Texas
Match delayed eight and a half hours by rain