Arizona men’s tennis was pushed to the brink in the opening round of the NCAA championships but prevailed, beating Princeton 4-2 Friday afternoon in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Wildcats will face the winner of North Carolina vs. Navy Saturday at 1 p.m. PT, with a trip to the Round of 16 on the line.
Arizona was shaky out of the gate Friday, conceding the doubles point to Princeton.
In singles play, the UA earned quick points from Nick Lagaev, who won 6-3, 6-4 on court No. 6 and from No. 52 Jonas Ziverts, who topped No. 55 Ryan Seggerman 6-3, 7(7)-6 on court No. 1.
The Tigers tied the match at 2-2 with a straight set win on court No. 3.
Arizona turned to super senior Carlos Hassey to deliver a crucial third point. The Surprise native came from behind on court No. 5 to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Up 3-2 with one point to clinch, the Wildcats needed a win from either No. 53 Gustaf Strom on court No. 2 or No. 116 Herman Hoeyeraal on court No. 4. It was Hoeyeraal who clinched the match, winning his point 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Strom’s match ended unfinished at 3-6, 6-2, 4-3.
The match was originally supposed to take place outdoors, but inclement weather moved the contest to UNC’s indoor courts. Rain is in the forecast tomorrow as well.
Arizona is likely to face the No. 15 seed Tar Heels and winning on the road won’t be easy. However, the Wildcats have done it before. A year ago Arizona upset Kentucky in Lexington to advance to its first-ever Round of 16 appearance. The Wildcats would like to repeat that success tomorrow.