April 23, 2017
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Senior Josh Hagar turned in the best day of his career Sunday, notching a pair of top-three wins in doubles and singles at the top of the Notre Dame men’s tennis lineup against No. 1 Wake Forest. But though Hagar and the Irish did not back down against the Demon Deacons, they fell just short in a 5-2 loss at the Courtney Tennis Center.
Hagar and partner Eddy Covalschi started the day with a 7-5 doubles win over the nation’s No. 1 tandem, while Hagar went on to defeat third-ranked Petros Chrysocos at No. 1 singles. Both proved to be career-best wins for Hagar by ranking.
How It Happened
A spirited doubles point came down to two 7-5 decisions, with Wake Forest (25-1, 12-0 ACC) ultimately snaring the point despite a strong Irish effort. The Demon Deacons won the first match, as Borno Gojo and Alan Gadjiev defeated sophomore Grayson Broadus and junior Brendon Kempin 6-3. But the Irish made a compelling case to take the point on the remaining courts.
At the No. 1 spot, 37th-ranked Hagar and Covalschi took down the nation’s top-ranked duo, snatching a late break over Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim to go up 6-5 before holding to win the match at 7-5. It looked like Notre Dame (13-12, 4-8 ACC) might repeat the feat at No. 3 when freshman Matt Gamble and sophomore Alex Lebedev pulled out of a one-break deficit to hold at 5-5, but Chrysocos and Dennis Uspensky won the next two games to take the match and the doubles point.
The Demon Deacons took a 2-0 lead when No. 45 Gojo defeated Covalschi 6-3, 6-1 at No. 3, but Hagar cut the deficit with his win over Chrysocos. The 67th-ranked senior was dominant from start to finish, earning a 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 1. Hagar is 2-0 in his career against the Wake Forest sophomore, having also defeated Chrysocos last season during the ACC Championships.
Wake Forest won the next two matches, though, to clinch at 4-1. First, No. 15 Mansouri defeated Lebedev 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 2 spot, followed by Gadjiev’s 6-3, 6-2 win over Kempin on Court 6.
On the remaining two courts, both Gamble and freshman Guillermo Cabrera forced third sets in competitive matches at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively. Cabrera completed his comeback with a gritty 4-6, 7-5, 10-8 win over No. 59 Seraphim at No. 5 to make it 4-2, but Gamble surrendered five straight games to fall to Uspensky 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 at No. 4.
Coach Ryan Sachire Says
On the takeaways from the Wake Forest match…
“We were excited to play Wake Forest, a team that we respect a ton. They’re ranked No. 1 in the country for a reason and they have a really good lineup. They’re big and physical and they all serve really well. We were pretty fired up and I think all-in-all we played pretty well in most spots and I’m not disappointed in our efforts by any stretch of the imagination. I thought we competed hard and went after it and, give credit to Wake, they were a little bit better than us today.”
On Josh Hagar’s performance…
“You want that for your senior captain in his last home match to play the way he played and compete the way he competed. He’s been in that situation a few other times this season where he’s had some of the elite of the elite players on the ropes in singles and he’s blinked a little bit, and it’s hard to acknowledge that. You have to acknowledge that you had something and you let it slip, but he’s done that through the course of the season and he’s made a commitment, I think, that if he finds himself in a position to finish those kinds of matches that he’s going to step up and do it. Obviously he did it in a pretty emphatic way in that second set today.”
On looking ahead to the ACC Championship…
“I thought that this was a pretty good weekend for us. It’s not necessarily about the results; it’s how we play, it’s how we compete, it’s how we prepare. When you do those things well, the results are going to come and they’re going to be lasting results. I thought this was a good step in the right direction. The key is to build on this and to take confidence from the things we did well and the positions we put ourselves in to be successful and to address what held us back and didn’t get us across the finish line on more courts. If we can have a couple good days of practice and clean those things up, I think we’re going to be a tough team to beat in (Rome, Georgia, at the ACC Championships).”
The Irish will next head to the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, slated for April 26-30 at the Rome Tennis Center in Rome, Georgia. Notre Dame, the No. 10 seed, will take on seventh-seeded Louisville at 10 a.m. ET Thursday in a second-round matchup.
No. 1 Wake Forest 5, Notre Dame 2
April 23, 2017
Courtney Tennis Center
Notre Dame, Ind.
1. No. 67 Josh Hagar (ND) def. No. 3 Petros Chrysocos (WF) 6-3, 6-1
2. No. 15 Skander Mansouri (WF) def. Alex Lebedev (ND) 6-3, 6-3
3. No. 45 Borno Gojo (WF) def. Eddy Covalschi (ND) 6-3, 6-1
4. Dennis Uspensky (WF) def. Matt Gamble (ND) 6-1, 3-6, 7-5
5. Guillermo Cabrera (ND) def. No 69 Christian Seraphim (WF) 4-6, 7-5, 10-8
6. Alan Gadjiev (WF) def. Brendon Kempin (ND) 6-3, 6-2
1. No. 37 Eddy Covalschi / Josh Hagar (ND) def. No. 1 Skander Mansouri / Christian Seraphim (WF) 7-5
2. Borno Gojo / Alan Gadjiev (WF) def. Grayson Broadus / Brendon Kempin (ND) 6-3
3. Petros Chrysocos / Dennis Uspensky (WF) def. Matt Gamble / Alex Lebedev (ND) 7-5
-- ND --
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication, and earned her master's degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.