By Ells Boone
Stanford men’s tennis (10-5, 6-1 Pac-12) lost a tight battle with Arizona State (16-7, 3-4 Pac-12) 4-3 on Sunday afternoon in the Pac-12 Championship semifinal. The No. 1 seed in the tournament after capturing the Pac-12 regular season title, the Cardinal had beaten Washington (10-12, 1-6 Pac-12) 4-0 the day before.
Sunday’s match came down to a tiebreaker on court five between senior Timothy Sah and the Sun Devils’ Max McKennon. McKennon earned the win 6-2, 4-6, 10-8 to give Arizona State its first win over Stanford since the reinstatement of its program.
The Cardinal started off the match on a high note, winning two of the three doubles matches to secure the point. Senior Axel Geller and junior Tomas Kopczynski scored a 6-3 win on court one while freshman Arthur Fery and junior Alexandre Rotsaert won on court three.
In singles play, freshman Tristan Boyer was the first off of the courts, dispatching his opponent 6-1, 6-1 at the number four spot. Arizona State earned a point through Christian Lerby’s victory over sophomore Neel Rajesh on court six. Fery then extended Stanford’s lead to 3-1 after his 6-3, 7-5 win on the second court.
However, that would be the last match in which Stanford came out victorious. Geller and Rotsaert lost on courts one and three, respectively, to set up a decisive finish on court five.
Sah struggled in the first set before coming out on top in the second one. In the tiebreaker, the two went back and forth, eventually evening out at 8-8. McKennon then won the final two points to send his team to the Pac-12 Championship Final.
Despite the tough loss, the Cardinal’s season is far from over. The team will now look to regroup and find out who they will take on in the NCAA Tournament, which will be held on the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. from May 16-28. Stanford is ranked No. 23 in the nation so the team figures to be favorably seeded once the draw is finalized.