Escobar Wins 30th Match, Advances To NCAA Singles Round of 32

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NCAA.com Wire
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Gonzalo Escobar upset Ryan Thatcher in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championships.

May 23 ,2012

ATHENS, Ga. – Gonzalo Escobar is in elite company – his own.

The Texas Tech senior from Ecuador, ranked 40th nationally, battled back to take a straight-set win over No. 29 Ryan Thacher of Stanford, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Singles Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

It was Escobar’s 30th single-season win, breaking his own school record of 29 he set last year. He also extended his career win total to 98, which ranks No. 1 all-time for the Red Raiders. Escobar is now 3-0 in NCAA first round matches, always playing as the lower seed.

“This was just a very good win for Gonzalo,” said Red Raider head coach Tim Siegel. “He played a very smart first set to take control of the match and then battled back in the second set. He played like he has so many times before – he battled out there.”

After getting an early break, Escobar (30-12) cruised to a 6-3 win in the first set. It seemed as if Thacher (22-14) had swung the momentum in the second set. The Stanford senior took a 5-2 lead, but Escobar held serve, broke Thacher and then held serve again.

Suddenly it was 5-5 in the second set. Thatcher took the next game and Escobar was serving to extend the set. He won 40-15 and sent it to the tiebreaker.

Again, Thatcher took the early command with a 4-1 lead, but Escobar, as he has done so many times before – fought back and took six of the next seven points to win the match.

Escobar is now one win away from earning All-America status and advancing to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Men’s Singles Championships. But standing in the way is conference rival No. 12 Costin Paval of Oklahoma, who defeated Hernus Pieters of Georgia, 6-3, 6-4.

Escobar has never beaten Paval in four tries, including a twice this season. But Escobar is poised.

“I think he is ready,” added Siegel. “In fact, I know he is ready.”

The last time Escobar and Paval squared off was on Nov. 4 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships. Paval prevailed, 6-7 (3-7), 6-1, 6-4.

Doubles also begins play tomorrow for both the men’s team of Escobar and Raony Carvalho and the women’s tandem of Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo.

Escobar and Carvalho are set to square off with Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee. There is no time set for the match.

Adams and Kilgo will battle No. 9 Courtney Dolehide and Pamela Montez of UCLA.

2012 NCAA Men’s Singles Championships
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Round of 64
#40 Gonzalo Escobar (TT) def. #29 Ryan Thatcher (Stanford) 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)

Thursday, May 24, 2012
Round of 32

#40 Gonzalo Escobar (TT) vs. #12 Costin Paval (Oklahoma) TBA

2012 NCAA Men’s Doubles Championships
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Round of 32

#18 Gonzalo Escobar / Raony Carvalho (TT) vs. Mikelis Libietis / Hunter Reese, (TENN), TBA

2012 NCAA Women’s Doubles Championships
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Round of 32

#19 Samantha Adams / Kenna Kilgo (TT) vs. #9 Courtney Dolehide / Pamela Montez (UCLA), TBA




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