CLAREMONT, Calif. (Oct. 5, 2019) – Defending regional doubles champions Varun Shanker (Midland, Mich. / Midland Dow) and James Wei (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Horace Greeley) overcame adversity on Saturday afternoon to advance to the semifinals of this year's Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III West Regional Doubles Championship.
The juniors first overcame Bicks and Stark of Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in the early match after digging themselves out of a 7-2, 40-0 hole. The duo turned back three match points on their way to forcing a tiebreaker at 7-7 and rode the momentum to an impressive 7-1 win in the deciding tiebreaker. No strangers to a tight finish, Shanker and Wei started slow once again when they took on Chmielewski and O'Connor from Occidental College, a team already with a seeded victory in hand. After falling into a 3-0 hole, the juniors broke back and eventually took the match to a second-consecutive tiebreaker. They went on to win the deciding tiebreaker, 8-6, after a stiff challenge from the Tigers' top team. Shanker and Wei are now slated to face the Sagehens' Comadena and Madabhushi in Sunday's semifinals.
Senior Connor Soohoo (Redwood Shores, Calif. / Crystal Springs) and freshman Rishi Gundakaram (Wyoming, Del. / Caesar Rodney) also saw some Day 2 success. Soohoo made the semifinals of the Flight B singles tournament after defeating the University of Redlands' fourth-seeded Leahy via retirement after getting out to a 2-0 start, but ultimately met his match in Pomona-Pitzer's Stark, who advanced the the championship with a straight sets win. Gundakaram picked up consolation wins in both the doubles and Flight C singles brackets. The freshman, along with sophomore doubles partner Jake Will (Honolulu, Hawaii / Punahou School) defeated Hirsohn and Skattum from Pomona-Pitzer, 7-3, in the deciding tiebreaker before falling to Forman and Hum from Colorado College. Gundakaram went on to win two singles matches and will see the third day of ITA's after winning via retirement in his first match before besting Whittier College's Maniego, 7-5, 6-2, to make the consolation semifinals. He will next line up against the Bulldogs' Yang, a possible future opponent in the regular season in the first of a possible two Sunday matches. Senior Matthew Gonzalgo (Plantation, Fla. / St. Thomas Aquinas) also made the Flight A Consolation finals after a pair of walkovers, and will play the bracket's final match on Sunday.
Head Coach Jason Cohen and the Beavers will return for the final two rounds of doubles and consolation singles action on Sunday, Oct. 6, beginning at 9 a.m.