#15 Waves Tangle with #5 Duke and #8 California

Alex Llompart

March 7, 2012

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MALIBU, Calif. - After spending last weekend competing at the Pacific Coast Doubles Championship, the Pepperdine men’s tennis team resumes dual action this weekend with a pair of contests in Durham, N.C. The Waves, currently listed at #15 in the ITA Collegiate Rankings, first face #5 Duke on Friday, March 9 before facing #8 California in a neutral court dual on Saturday, March 10.

MATCH #13 - Friday (March 9) at the Sheffield Tennis Center: #15 Pepperdine (6-6) at #5 Duke (10-1) at 1 p.m. (ET)

MATCH #14 - Saturday (March 10) at the Sheffield Tennis Center: #15 Pepperdine vs. #8 California (7-5) at 1 p.m. (ET)

COVERAGE - Live scoring updates will be available for Friday’s match against Duke and can be accesses at: http://www.goduke.com/fls/4200/livestats/xlive.htm?SPID=1839&DB_OEM_ID=4200. Live video is also available through the Blue Devil’s website for a nominal fee.

TWITTER - Fans can follow the Waves on Twitter @PeppTennis or @PepperdineWaves and “like” us on Facebook by searching for Pepperdine Athletics.

LOOKING BACK - The Waves had a strong showing at the Pacific Coast Doubles Championship last weekend in La Jolla, Calif. Of the over 100 doubles pairs in attendance, Sebastian Fanselow and Jenson Turner were one of four duos left standing having reached the semifinals of the main draw. Alex Llompart and Kento Tanaka-Tamaki rebounded from an early loss and reached the semifinals of the consolation bracket, before suffering a narrow three-set loss to #5-ranked Cal pair Christoffer Konigsfeldt and Nick Andrews. Coincidentally, Llompart will likely get a shot at a rematch with the Golden Bear pair this weekend alongside Finn Tearney.

WHAT’S NEXT - After nearly a month on the road, the Waves return to the friendly confines of the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center on Wednesday, March 14 when they open a six match homestand against Texas Tech.

DUKE - The Blue Devils are 10-1 this season, with their only loss coming to #1 USC. Henrique Cunha is ranked #2 in singles, while Chris Mengel is listed at #19. In doubles Cunha and Fred Saba are ranked #15. Cunha is a perfect 9-0 in singles this dual season. Pepperdine and Duke faced each other twice last season. The Blue Devils won in Durham 4-3, while the Waves won the meeting in Malibu 4-3.

CAL - The Golden Bears are 7-5 this season and recorded a 4-2 win over the Waves on Feb. 18 at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. In singles, Carlos Cueto is ranked #39 while Ben McLachlan is listed at #40. Together in doubles, they are ranked #51. Christoffer Konigsfeldt and Nick Andrews hold down the top spot in the lineup for Cal and are ranked #5.

TEAM RANKINGS - The Waves are currently ranked #15 and have reached as high as #12 this season. Other WCC schools to be recognized as a top-75 team include Santa Clara (#29), San Diego (#31) and BYU (#40)

SINGLED OUT - The latest individual rankings were released on February 28 and several Waves have earned a spot in the poll. In singles, four Pepperdine student-athletes are currently ranked including Sebastian Fanselow (#18), Finn Tearney (#26), Mousheg Hovhannisyan (#98) and Alex Llompart (#120). In doubles, Tearney and Llompart are listed at #4.

DAVID OVER GOLIATH - Alex Llompart and Finn Tearney issued the NCAA’s #1-ranked pair of Blaz Rola and Chase Buchanan (Ohio State) their first loss of the 2011-12 season on Feb. 3 in Columbus, Ohio. This is not the first time Llompart and Tearney have earned the “W” against one of the nation’s most highly touted doubles pairs. Last season, the Wave tandem upset Texas A&M’s Austin Krajicek and Jeff Dadamo, ranked #2 by the ITA at the time, 9-7. The Aggie twosome would go onto win the 2011 NCAA Championship doubles title. Llompart and Tearney entered the ITA doubles ranks at #53 on Feb. 16 and subsequently defeated #9-ranked Florida pair Nassim Slilam and Billy Federhofer, #3 Ashley Watling and Clifford Marsland of Tulsa and #11 Dane Webb and Costin Paval of Oklahoma. Since then, they have moved up to #4 in the polls.

SEB IN SINGLES - Junior Sebastian Fanselow just posted one of his most dominating wins of the season, with a 6-0, 6-3 triumph over Oklahoma’s #1 singles player Costin Paval. What’s more is that Paval was ranked #5 in the ITA singles poll at the time and is currently listed at #9. Fanselow routinely plays his best tennis when up against the NCAA’s elite. Last season at the NCAA Singles Championship, Fanselow upset #2-ranked Alex Domijan of Virginia and went on to earn All-American status.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE - The Waves boast one of the toughest schedules in the country, with at least 11 duals versus teams who are currently ranked in the top-25, including seven that are listed in the top-10.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH - Finn Tearney picked up West Coast Conference Singles Player of the Month honors after reaching the semifinals of the USTA/ITA Southwest Regional Championships on Oct. 20-24 in Malibu. Although the junior has earned doubles player of the month recognition on four occasions, this was the first time he was honored for his success in singles. Sebastian Fanselow earned the same award for the month of November.

THE LINEUP - In singles, Sebastian Fanselow and Finn Tearney trade time in the top two spots, while Alex Llompart and Mousheg Hovhannisyan hold down the middle of the lineup. Hugh Clarke, Jenson Turner and David Sofaer share time playing at the No. 5 and No. 6 spots. Llompart and Tearney play No. 1 doubles, while Fanselow and Turner have been a mainstay at No. 2. Clarke and Sofaer team up to play No. 3 doubles.

REGIONAL SUCCESS - Pepperdine hosted the USTA/ITA Southwest Regional Championships last October. Four Waves reached the fourth round with Finn Tearney and Mousheg Hovhannisyan emerging to the quarterfinals. Tearney advanced to the semifinals after defeating Hovhannisyan before suffering a loss to the eventual winner, Ray Sarmiento of USC. For his efforts, Tearney was awarded an at-large bid to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships. Sebastian Fanselow was awarded one of two ITA wildcard entries into the bracket.

ITA ALL-AMERICAN RECAP - Four members of the Pepperdine men’s tennis team, including Mousheg Hovhannisyan, Jenson Turner, Finn Tearney and Sebastian Fanselow gained entry to the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla. Hovhannisyan tallied three-straight wins in qualifying to earn a spot in the singles main draw. Fanselow reached the consolation singles final but suffered a loss, narrowly missing out on the automatic bid to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship in Flushing, N.Y. next month.

Adam Steinberg — Now in his 10th season as head coach of the Waves, Adam Steinberg enters the 2011 season with a career record of 324-145 (.691) including a 180-61 (.747) mark at Pepperdine. Since setting foot on the Malibu campus in 2003, Steinberg has captured eight WCC conference championships, eight appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and an NCAA Championship crown in 2006. He has tutored 15 Waves to All-American status, and has been named WCC Coach of the Year five times. Prior to coming to Pepperdine, Steinberg served as the head coach at Alabama and St. John’s for five seasons apiece.

2011 DUAL RECAP — The Waves finished the 2011 dual season with a 18-5 record and concluded the season ranked #15 in the Campbell’s/ITA Collegiate Rankings. Pepperdine defeated two top-10 ranked teams including #4 Duke and #7 Texas A&M. Sebastian Fanselow, Finn Tearney and Alex Llompart were all named to the All-WCC first team in singles, while Fanselow and Jenson Turner were awarded all-conference honors in doubles after piecing together an 18-1 dual season record as a pair. At the 2011 NCAA Singles Championships, Fanselow advanced to the round of 16 to earn All-American distinction.

TENNIS HISTORY — The Pepperdine men’s tennis program is synonymous with the word excellence, as the Waves are a perennial national power. The Waves have advanced to postseason play 35 times in 38 seasons, including an NCAA championship in 2006. Within the WCC, Pepperdine has dominated the competition, winning 41 conference championships since 1958.

ABOUT PEPPERDINE — Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men’s sports - one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat - and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest enrollment and is the only school not in a major conference. Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation’s most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #55 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges. The 2011-12 school year marks Pepperdine’s 75th anniversary.



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