Arizona senior Will Kneale played three close sets in the championship match of the Wildcat Invitational on Sunday, winning only one of them.
New Mexico State junior Christofer Goncalves took the title in Tucson by a score of 7-5, 3-6, 7-5.
“Both players played at a high level today,” Arizona Coach Clancy Shields commented. “They competed well, and a few points here and there made the difference.”
Set 1 (5-7):
The third-seeded Aggie blinked first by double faulting to give Kneale a 3-1 lead.
But before the Wildcat could even consolidate the break, Goncalves caught fire, using his nasty forehand and too-hot-to-handle kick serve to win four consecutive games.
Kneale, in a must-hold situation down 3-5, battled back by jamming Goncalves with speedy serves to take the game at love. He then managed to tie the set at 5-5 by winning a no-ad deciding point.
But that momentum didn’t last long. A series of errors from Kneale allowed Goncalves to take the next two games and win the set 7-5.
Set 2 (6-3):
Goncalves went on to break Kneale in the first game of the second set by whipping a windshield wiper forehand winner down the right sideline.
Kneale then had a stretch of dominance and won four straight games, going up 4-1.
But with a quick hold and a break, Goncalves put the match back on-serve.
The Wildcat responded with a fence-clearing overhead smash to go up 5-3. He went on to hold his serve and win the set.
Goncalves reacted by throwing his racket, and was penalized by the umpire. Kneale was automatically awarded the first point of the third set.
Set 3 (5-7):
The Wildcat gave himself an early break point, and converted it via a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 1-0.
Goncalves then broke back for 1-1.
After a string of holds by both players, a double fault and three missed forehands from Kneale gave Goncalves a 5-3 lead and a chance to serve for the tournament.
Goncalves had a match point at deuce (because of no-ad scoring), but missed wide, allowing Kneale to trail by only one game.
Both players held their serves in the two subsequent games, bringing the set to 5-6.
Kneale needed to hold his serve to force a tiebreak. The game went to deuce, giving Goncalves a second match point. Goncalves then hit an inside-out crosscourt winner to take the set 7-5 and win the match 2 sets to 1.
The Arizona men’s tennis team is back in action on October 7th when they travel to Albuquerque for The New Mexico Balloon Invitational.