LEBANON, Tenn. – Sixth-ranked Cumberland won a pair of doubles matches and Axel Lucich, Francisco Fernandez Meaca and Ramon Puertolas each picked up singles victories, as the Phoenix held off 25th-ranked McPherson College, 5-2, on Thursday morning in the Round of 16 at the 2018 NAIA Men’s Tennis Championships in Mobile, Ala.
The Bulldogs (15-4) led 4-1 and 2-0 in the third set in the other matches that did not finish before Puertolas finished off his match at No. 2 singles. The two teams were scheduled to play Wednesday afternoon but that was delayed by rain to Thursday morning.
McPherson started the match with a doubles victory, as the fifth-ranked duo of Ahmed Lahlou and Hector Carrillo Perales defeated 17th-ranked Pau Grabuleda Cruañas and Fernandez Meaca, 8-3, at No. 1, but Cumberland’s Thiago Lopes and Lucich won by the same score at No. 2 versus Jacob Turley and Andreas Huber.
Puertolas and Riccardo Ferraris gave the Phoenix (21-3) a 2-1 edge with an 8-4 triumph at No. 3 over Daan Coppelmans and Julien Bodin.
Lucich was the first off in singles, posting a 6-3, 6-4, win at No. 6 against Huber and Fernandez Meaca put Cumberland ahead 4-1 in the overall match with a 6-4, 6-1, victory at No. 5 versus Juan Jimenez.
Bodin claimed a 6-4, 6-2, win over Lopes at No. 4 and Turley won the final three games against Ferraris at No. 3, forcing a third set. Lahlou, ranked 43rd in singles, won the second set and was ahead 4-1 in the third versus seventh-ranked Grabuleda Cruañas.
Twenty-fourth ranked Puertolas fell behind 2-5 in the first set but won that, 7-3, in the tiebreaker and trailed 0-3 in the second set as well to Carrillo Perales. The Phoenix junior served for the match at 5-4 but was broken, only to win the final two games for a 7-5 second set to close out the match.
Cumberland is scheduled to face 14th-ranked Reinhardt University at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday in the quarterfinals. The Phoenix posted a 5-4 win over the Eagles on March 5. Reinhardt upset third-ranked Lindsey Wilson, 5-2, on Thursday morning in the Round of 16.
#6 Cumberland University 5, #25 McPherson College 2
1. #7 Pau Grabuleda Cruañas (CU) vs. #43 Ahmed Lahlou (MCP), 7-6 (9), 4-6, 1-4, DNF
2. #24 Ramon Puertolas (CU) def. Hector Carrillo Perales (MCP), 7-6 (3), 7-5
3. Riccardo Ferraris (CU) vs. Jacob Turley (MCP), 6-2, 5-7, 0-2, DNF
4. Julien Bodin (MCP) def. Thiago Lopes (CU), 6-4, 6-2
5. Francisco Fernandez Meaca (CU) def. Juan Jimenez (MCP), 6-4, 6-1
6. Axel Lucich (CU) def. Andreas Huber (MCP), 6-3, 6-4
1. #5 Lahlou-Carrillo Perales (MCP) def. #17 Grabuleda Cruañas-Fernandez Meaca (CU), 8-3
2. Lopes-Lucich (CU) def. Turley-Huber (MCP), 8-3
3. Puertolas-Ferraris (CU) def. Daan Coppelmans-Bodin (MCP), 8-4
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (6,5,4,2)