The Gophers men’s tennis team only had two representatives make the NCAA Tournament this spring in what is currently their final season as a varsity program, but the pair is trying to send out the Gophers with a bang. Minnesota’s #1 doubles team of sophomore Siim Troost and senior Vlad Lobak qualified for the NCAA doubles championships that began play on Monday in the round of 32. The Gopher duo picked up an easy 6-1, 6-3, straight-set victory over Jim Hendrix and Victor Chaw of Samford. That win advanced them to the Round of 16 on Tuesday where they would meet the #1 seed Tim Sandkaulen and Finn Reynolds of Ole Miss.
The Gopher duo went out Tuesday afternoon and pulled out the upset of the tournament defeating the #1 seed 6-4, 3-6, 1-0(4) to advance to the Quarterfinals on Wednesday earning themselves All-American honors in the process! They are the first Gopher All-Americans since Leandro Toledo was honored for singles in 2014, and the first doubles team to earn the honor since Thomas Haug and Harsh Mankad in 2002!
The Gopher pair came out strong in the opening set taking the first game before dropping the next three to fall behind 3-1. The Gophers could come back and break the Ole Miss duo to tie the first set up at 3 before splitting the next pair of games on serve to make it 4-4. Once again the Gophers earned a big break point and took advantage on their serve to win the first set 6-4.
The #1 pair in the nation would not go down easily though. They regrouped and opened up a 4-0 lead in the second set before the Gophers came back to cut the lead to 4-2. From there the teams kept on serve and Ole Miss pulled away to earn a 6-3 second set win. It would come down to a tiebreaker to see who would advance.
The Gophers would be the team to regroup and jump out with momentum early in this one. Troost and Lobak would take a 3-2 lead and then extend that to 5-2 halfway through the tiebreaker. They kept the pressure on pulling ahead 9-3 before trading points to earn the 10-4 tiebreak win and the match.
The Gophers will now face another pair who pulled off an upset on Tuesday in Guy Den Ouden/Adrian Oetzbach of Pepperdine, who knocked off Top-8 seeded Trent Bryde and Tyler Zink of Georgia. That match is scheduled to kick off approximately 5PM central time and can be streamed HERE.