Princeton's Pecotic Goes on Historic Run to ITA All-American Semifinals
Courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications
TULSA, Okla. -- Princeton senior Matija Pecotic won four matches in three days and nearly captured a fifth at the ITA Men's All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla.
The two-time Ivy League Player of the Year started the day with a 6-3, 6-7(1), 4-1 (ret.) win over seventh-seeded Raymond Sarmiento of Southern California in the quarterfinal. Pecotic was up 5-3 in the second set, but Sarmiento fought off six match points to square the match and eventually get it into a tiebreak, which Sarmiento won 7-1.
In the third set, Sarmiento retired due to injury with Pecotic up 4-1 in games, and Pecotic was on to the final against sixth-seeded Alex Domijan of Virginia.
Pecotic was one of two unseeded players in the semis, along with Peter Kobelt of Ohio State. While Kobelt was able to upset his opponent, eighth-seeded KU Singh of Georgia, Pecotic came up a tiebreak short of doing the same.
Domijan won 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-6(7) as Pecotic forced tiebreaks on each of the last two sets in his bid to outlast the highest-remaining seed in the draw. In the second set, Domijan led 5-4 and 6-5, serving in both games while Pecotic was able to kepe the match going. In the tiebreak, Domjian led 6-4 before Pecotic tied it and extended the extra session.
"I couldn't be more pleased with Matija's preparation and quality of play this weekend at the All-Americans," Princeton coach Billy Pate said. "He is a warrior and competed with tremendous fight, determination and energy all the way through the end. He almost had yet another great win against Domijan, who won this tournament two years ago as a freshman. Matija's win this morning against Sarmiento was another gritty performance versus one of the nation's elite players. Most of all, he distinguished himself and his university with pride while gaining valuable experience playing at this level."
With his win Friday, Pecotic became the first Princetonian to make the quarterfinals in the event since Ted Farnsworth '84 in 1982. He is only the third Princeton player to do so since the event began in 1979, after Jay Lapidus, the No. 1 seed in 1979, made the final and Farnsworth made the semis in 1982, also losing to the No. 6 seed.
Only two other Ivy League players have advanced as far in the event, with Columbia's Jeff Chiang getting to the semifinals in 1989 and Harvard's James Blake, the No. 2 seed, winning the title in 1998.
The Ivy League also had presence in the doubles competition as the Columbia tandem of Ashok Narayana and
close 9-7 loss to the second-seeded duo of Shaun Bernstein and Evan King from Michigan, Narayana and Schnur knocked off three-straight ranked pairs -- Tulsa's Grant and Tristan Jackson (ranked 50th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Preseason Rankings) 8-1, LSU's Boris Arias and Chris Simpson (ranked 24th), 8-5 and Tennessee's John Collins and Hunter Reese (ranked sixth).
In the consolation final, the Lions' duo captured the first set but ultimately fell to the 35th-ranked duo of Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland from Georgia 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1.