April 21, 2012
ORLANDO (SMU) - Wins in the top-three singles flights were not enough for the SMU men's tennis team as No. 47 Rice defeated the Mustangs 4-3 today in the Conference USA quarterfinals. The two sides were forced to wait a day to begin tournament play as thunderstorms suspended matches yesterday afternoon.
After dropping the first flight of doubles competition, the tandem of Arturs Kazijevs and Tobias Flood tied-up play at 1-1 with an 8-4 victory over Michael Nuesslein and Jonathan Chang. Despite earning their 11th win of the season together, SMU lost the deciding match 8-5 to give Rice the doubles point.
SMU (9-12) was not down for long as the squad picked up three-straight victories. Pablo Perez-Esnaola leveled the match by dispatching Christian Saravia, 6-4, 6-2, at No. 2 singles. Kazijevs followed that up with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Nuesslein at No. 3. Gaston Cuadranti extended the Mustangs' lead to 3-1 after defeating Sam Garforth-Bles, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), in the top singles flight. For Kazijevs and Cuadranti, it was their team-leading 12th wins of the season.
Although SMU got to within one win of claiming the dual match, Rice (18-8) won straight-set victories at No. 4, 5 and 6 to earn the team win.