May 21, 2009
IRVING, Texas - Bruno Rosa of Rice won the last 12 games of the match while fighting off five match points to complete a stunning comeback and defeat Florida State's Clint Bowles 5-7, 7-5, 6-0 in the second round of the NCAA Men's Tennis Singles Championships at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M University Thursday. In other singles action, top-ranked Tulsa senior Arnau Brugues defeated Illinois’ No. 50 Roy Kalmanovich, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, to advance to the round of 16 for the fourth-straight season.
Rosa and Bowles held serve through first 11 games of the first set before Bowles broke through to take the opening set. He broke Rosa twice in the second set and appeared ready to close out the match in the seventh game. However, down 5-1 in the set and faced with two match points, Rosa surged back to break Bowles for the first time. After holding serve to move the match to 5-3, Rosa was down 40-0 and faced with three additional match points before he rallied to gain a second service break and close the match to 5-4.
After his stunning comeback in the second set, Rosa blitzed through the third set without losing a game to become the first Rice men's tennis player to reach the round of 16 since William Barker in 2003.
He will meeting Ole Miss freshman Devin Britton on Friday looking for a berth in the quarterfinals. Match time has not yet been determined.
With a finish in the top 16 guaranteed, Rose will become the first Rice singles player to earn back-to-back All American honors since Mike Estep earned the honors in three consecutive years from 1969-71.
In doubles play, Brugues and junior Philip Stephens, the 11th-ranked team in the nation, lost a tough 6-2, 1-6, 6-7 (3) decision to eighth-ranked Omar Altmann and Basam Beidas of Pepperdine in the opening round of 32.
In singles, Brugues fell behind early in the first set as Kalmanovich capitalized on unforced errors and used great ground strokes to build a 3-1 lead. Brugues came back to tie the score at 3-3, but Kalmanovich went onto win three out of the next four games to take the first set 6-4.
The four-time All-American responded in the second set by jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead using a terrific balance of strong serves and precise ground strokes. Brugues went onto win the second set 6-1, and continued his sharp play in the third set winning by a 6-3 score.
Brugues improves to a 43-3 singles record on the season and extends his winning streak to 27-straight matches. The Barcelona, Spain, native will play 44th-ranked Omar Altmann of Pepperdine in the round of 16 on Friday. The start time has not yet been set.
In doubles, Stephens and Brugues got off to a great start, dominating the first set with a quick 6-2 win, but Altmann and Beidas bounced back in the second set losing only one game in an impressive 6-1 victory.
In the deciding third set, Stephens and Brugues pounced on the Pepperdine duo early, taking a 3-1 lead, but Altmann and Beidas came back to tie the score at 5-5. Brugues and Stephens won the next game taking a 6-5 lead, only to see the Pepperdine tandem force a tiebreaker by winning the next game and tying the score at 6-6. The two teams exchanged points early before Altmann and Beidas took control of the tiebreaker, winning 7-3.
Stephens and Brugues end the season with a 17-8 record, including 10 wins against nationally-ranked opponents. This past fall the duo claimed second place at the D’Novo All-American Doubles Championships.
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