Sarkissian Survives First Round at NCAA Singles Championship
May 21, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. – Both Alex Sarkissian and Lorraine Guillermo of the Pepperdine men’s and women’s tennis teams were faced with top-16 seeded opponents in their respective first round matchups at the NCAA Singles Championship. Sarkissian held on for an exciting win in the third set tiebreaker, but Guillermo could not overcome the formidable opposition and made her exit out of the tournament.
Sarkissian (Glendale, Calif./Glendale CC), who reached the 2013 NCAA Singles Championship round of 16 as an underdog, began his 2014 run with another upset. The Waves’ ace is currently ranked #28, up from #62 last year, but was faced with #15 Brayden Schnur of North Carolina in the opening round.
The tightly contested battle saw Schnur, seeded 9-16 in the 64-person draw, break Sarkissian’s serve early to take a 3-2 lead, which proved enough to hold on for the 6-4 win in the opening frame. The Wave stormed back and owned the second set, winning 6-1 to extend the match.
Similar to the first stanza, breaking serve proved to be a tall task in the third. Although Sarkissian finally got a break at 5-4, the senior was unable to serve out the match which eventually would head to a tiebreaker to determine the winner.
After falling behind 1-4 in the first-to-seven tiebreaker, Sarkissian rattled off three unanswered points to even the tally. Schnur took match point at 5-6, but the Pepperdine standout continued to fight and scored the next three consecutive points to win 8-6 and advance to the second round.
“I fell behind a break early in the third and I just started playing more aggressively at that point,” said Sarkissian after the match. “After I had gone up 5-4, my opponent was able to break my serve. I think I had stepped away from playing so aggressively during that game, but was able to get back on track in the tiebreaker.”
Meanwhile on the women’s side, #26-ranked Guillermo (Walnut, Calif./Rowland HS) was faced with #7-ranked and fifth seeded Beatrice Capra. Capra had led Duke to the team quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship just a few days prior.
The Blue Devils’ No. 1 player proved deserving of her top-10 ranking, and defeated Guillermo in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0.
Guillermo concludes her junior season with a 29-11 singles record. She was an All-West Coast Conference first-team performer in both singles and doubles as she helped lift the Waves to the 2014 WCC Tournament title. Last week, Guillermo was recognized as the ITA Southwest Regional winner of the prestigious Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship.
Sarkissian will face #29 Romain Bogaerts of Wake Forest tomorrow in the round of 32. Bogaerts edged #18 Farris Gosea of Illinois 7-6, 7-5 earlier today.
The NCAA Doubles Championship also gets underway tomorrow. Sarkissian will team up with Francis Alcantara (Cagayan de Oro, Philippines/Fresno State) while on the women’s side, Michaela Capannolo (Melbourne, Australia/ Genazzano FCJ College) and Yuki Chiang (Ojai, Calif./Campbell Hall HS) make their debut in Athens.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Sarkissian of his doubles match alongside Alcantara tomorrow. “It’s our last tournament together as student-athletes and hopefully we can go out there and get the win.”
Live scores and video will be available. Sarkissian's second-round match is scheduled for 6 a.m. (PT), while both doubles matches are set to begin at 10:30 a.m. (PT) More information can be found at the Tournament Central while updates can be followed on Twitter (@PeppTennis & @PeppWTEN).
NCAA Singles & Doubles Championship