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SDSU Men's Tennis Fights the Good Fight; Falls to Rice, 5-2

Freshman Danny Heidecker pulled out a dramatic victory at No. 5 singles in the Aztecs' 5-2 loss to Rice on Monday.
Freshman Danny Heidecker pulled out a dramatic victory at No. 5 singles in the Aztecs' 5-2 loss to Rice on Monday.

March 3, 2008

SAN DIEGO - The 50th-ranked San Diego State men's tennis team had its two-match winning streak snapped on Monday as No. 24 Rice claimed a hard-fought 5-2 decision at Aztec Tennis Center. Despite a valiant effort against a lineup that featured three nationally ranked singles players and one doubles team, SDSU (4-4) was unable to generate any momentum against the Owls, who won for the eighth time in their last 10 outings.

Rice gained the upper hand at the outset of doubles competition as Filip Zivojinovic and Chong Wang combined to dispatch Andre Feliz and Matan Shitrit, 8-3, at the No. 2 position. However, the Aztecs drew even shortly thereafter when Achim Ceban and Jordan Colman emerged triumphant by an 8-5 count over Dennis Polyakov and Bruno Rosa in the third spot. Over on the No. 1 court, Bartosz Golas and Juan Gomez were locked in a tight battle with the Owls' 12th-ranked tandem of Ralph Knupfer and Christoph Müller, but ultimately succumbed, 8-6, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead they would never relinquish.

SDSU then found itself in deeper trouble after dropping the first two singles matches. First off the court was Golas, who suffered a 6-4, 6-4 defeat at the hands of No. 26 Rosa at the top of the ladder, while Gomez experienced a similar fate against 55th-ranked Müller, falling by a 6-1, 6-4 margin at No. 2. Trailing 3-0, the Aztecs dented the scoreboard when Feliz ousted Polyakov in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, in the sixth position. However, any designs of a Scarlet and Black rally were soon dashed as No. 92 Knupfer edged Ceban, 7-6(1), 6-4, in a spirited dual at No. 3.

The final two encounters of the afternoon were both extended to three sets. On the No. 4 court, Shitrit overcame an early deficit and held a slim lead in the third set against Zivojinovic, but eventually ran out of steam in a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 setback. Over at No. 5, Danny Heidecker was poised to close out Wang in straight sets, but his Rice adversary overcame a 5-4 shortfall to knot the score at one set apiece. Stung, Heidecker then fell behind 5-0 in the final set before staging an unbelievable comeback. Trailing 6-5 and facing three match points, the Aztec freshman served his way back into a tie-breaker where he pulled out a dramatic victory, 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(4).

San Diego State returns to action this weekend when it travels to Boise, Idaho, for a pair of dual matches. The Aztecs will square off against Idaho on Friday, March 7, before locking horns with No. 41 Boise State the following day on March 8. Both contests are slated for a 1 p.m. MST start at the Appleton Tennis Center on the BSU campus.

No. 24 RICE 5, No. 50 SAN DIEGO STATE 2
Aztec Tennis Center
San Diego, Calif.

Doubles
1. #12 Ralph Knupfer / Christoph Müller (Rice) def. Bartosz Golas / Juan Gomez (SDSU), 8-6
2. Chong Wang / Filip Zivojinovic (Rice) def. Andre Feliz / Matan Shitrit (SDSU), 8-3
3. Achim Ceban / Jordan Colman (SDSU) def. Bruno Rosa / Dennis Polyakov (Rice), 8-5
Rice wins doubles point

Singles
1. #26 Bruno Rosa (Rice) def. Bartosz Golas (SDSU), 6-4, 6-4
2. #55 Christoph Müller (Rice) def. Juan Gomez (SDSU), 6-1, 6-4
3. #92 Ralph Knupfer (Rice) def. Achim Ceban (SDSU), 7-6(1), 6-4
4. Filip Zivojinovic (Rice) def. Matan Shitrit (SDSU), 6-3, 1-6, 6-3
5. Danny Heidecker (SDSU) def. Chong Wang (Rice) 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(4)
6. Andre Feliz (SDSU) def. Dennis Polyakov (Rice), 6-2, 6-3

Order of finish
Doubles: 2, 3, 1
Singles: 1, 2, 6, 3*, 4, 5
*match-clinching victory