HOUSTON – Felipe Sarrasague earned the clinching victory at No. 1 singles and Elon University men’s tennis won its sixth-straight match with a 4-3 comeback victory over Rice on Sunday, Feb. 10, at the George R. Brown Tennis Center.
Trailing the Owls (6-2) in singles play at 3-1 after dropping the doubles point, the Phoenix (6-1) rallied with wins from Felipe Osses-Konig, Camilo Ponce and Sarrasague to claim the come-from-behind victory.
“I’m extremely proud of watching our team come back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat a quality Rice team,” said head coach Michael Leonard. “Our team was scrappy and kept fighting the whole day until we finally got to the finish line. We have a very competitive group that doesn’t give up and keeps fighting until the very end.”
Rice took the early 1-0 lead, handing Elon just its second doubles loss of the season. Following a victory on court two, Eric Rutledge and Sumit Sarkar clinched the point with a 6-2 win on the top court. Dino Bonetta and Mario Paccini were tied 4-4 at No. 3 before the point was clinched.
At the start of singles action, Kyle Frankel earned his fifth-straight singles win on the year and leveled the match at 1-1 with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Mohamed Abdel-Aziz. Rice would then go on to win two straight matches on courts two and six to take a 3-1 lead with three singles matches remaining.
Osses-Konig’s 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 win on court three over Eric Rutledge trimmed Rice’s lead to 3-2 and Ponce’s come-from-behind 1-6, 6-1, 7-5 win at No. 5 tied the match at 3-3, which setting up Sarrasague’s contest on the top court to decide the match. Ponce was down 2-4 in the third set and 15-40 in the seventh game before rallying to defeat Adam Oscislawski on court five.
After Sarkar battled back to force a third set, Sarrasague took a commanding 5-2 advantage in the final set. Sarkar made one last attempt at a comeback winning two straight games, but Sarrasague closed out the set with a 6-4 victory to clinch the match for the Phoenix. Sarrasague extends his singles winning streak to four matches with the victory against Rice.
The Phoenix is off to its best seven-match start to a season since going 6-1 at the beginning of the 2007 campaign. Elon would improve its record to 9-1 at the start of its season 11 years ago and earned nine straight victories after its season-opening loss at then No. 26-ranked Wake Forest.
The Phoenix returns to action on the road later this week with two matches in Wilmington, N.C. Elon will face UNCW on Friday, Feb. 15, at 1 p.m., followed by Georgia Southern on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 11 a.m.
Elon 4, Rice 3
1. Felipe Sarrasague (ELON) def. Sumit Sarkar (RICE) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
2. Jacob Eskeland (RICE) def. Mario Paccini (ELON) 6-1, 6-2
3. Felipe Osses-Konig (ELON) def. Eric Rutledge (RICE) 7-6 (7-3), 6-1
4. Kyle Frankel (ELON) def. Mohamed Abdel-Aziz (RICE) 6-2, 6-1
5. Camilo Ponce (ELON) def. Adam Oscislawski (RICE) 1-6, 6-1, 7-5
6. Campbell Salmon (RICE) def. Jacob Bicknell (ELON) 6-4, 6-3
1. Eric Rutledge/Sumit Sarkar (RICE) def. Felipe Sarrasague/Taylor Foote (ELON) 6-2
2. Daniel Warren/Jacob Eskeland (RICE) def. Kyle Frankel/Camilo Ponce (ELON) 6-2
3. Mohamed Abdel-Aziz/Campbell Salmon (RICE) vs. Dino Bonetta/Mario Paccini (ELON) 4-4, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (4,2,6,3,5,1)