The second seeded Western Michigan Bronco men's tennis won a dramatic 4-3 decision over the No. 1 seed Ball State on Saturday (April 28). WMU now advances to the NCAA tournament with the victory. The match took just over four hours to complete, marking the second straight day that the match featuring Western Michigan took four hours to finish. The Broncos beat Bowling Green 4-3 the previous day.|
Doubles saw the Broncos earn the point with wins in the No. 2 and the No. 3 match. Ravishankar Pathanjali and Steve Pillon won the No. 2 match over Chris Varga and Nick Vizzone 8-4 for the first win of the day. That was followed by Jason Pressel and Edgardo Rivera of Ball State taking the No. 1 match over Ryan Maarschalk and Ryan Tomlinson 8-5. The doubles point then rested on the outcome of the No. 3 doubles match, between Christian Brattstrom /Fernando Garcia of Western Michigan and Michael Westerhof and Andrew Seni of Ball State. Brattstrom and Garcia came through for WMU, earning an 8-6 win to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead.
The singles matches featured five singles matches that went the full three sets. Ball State took the No. 2 match when Westerhof beat Pillon 7-5, 6-2. All of the other matches contested would go to the full three sets. The Cardinals took the next two matches as well, when Rivera beat Tomlinson 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the No. 3 match and Varga beat Maarschalk 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. At that point, Ball State led 3-1 with three matches left to play. WMU needed to win all three matches that were left in order win the match. The first match to finish was the No. 1 match, where Garcia beat Pressel 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 to cut the Cardinal lead to 3-2. Brattstrom was the next Bronco to win, taking the No. 6 singles match over Vizzone 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
With the overall match tied 3-3, the MAC tournament title rested on the outcome of the No. 4 match between Seni of Ball State and Pathanjali of Western Michigan. Seni took the first set 6-2, while Pathanjali won the second set 7-5. Pathanjali took control of the third set, leading the match 5-2 when he began cramping. Seni then won the next two games to cut the margin to 5-4. Pathanjali served at 5-4 to try and finish off the match. Hitting his serves with less power to conserve energy, Pathanjali took the game to win the match 2-6, 7-5, 6-4. The MAC newcomer of the year, Pathanjali's win was his 30th of the year in singles and his 17th in a row overall.
WMU will learn their NCAA tournament draw this Thursday when the pairings are announced.
WESTERN MICHIGAN 4, BALL STATE 3
1. Fernando Garcia (WMU) def. Jason Pressel (BSU) 3-6, 7-6, 6-1
2. Michael Westerhof (BSU) def. Steve Pillon (WMU) 7-5, 6-2
3. Edgardo Rivera (BSU) def. Ryan Tomlinson (WMU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
4. Ravishankar Pathanjali (WMU) def. Andrew Seni (BSU) 2-6, 7-5, 6-4
5. Chris Varga (BSU) def. Ryan Maarschalk (WMU) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
6. Christian Brattstrom (WMU) def. Nick Vizzone (BSU) 7-5, 5-7, 6-3
1. Presel/Rivera (BSU) def. Tomlinson/Maarschalk (WMU) 8-5
2. Pathanjali/Pillon (WMU) def. Barga/Vizzone (BSU) 8-4
3. Garcia/Brattstrom (WMU) def. Westerhof/Seni (BSU) 8-6