PHILADELPHIA Junior Jason Pinsky’s shot at an individual title came to an end today, as he lost in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship. Pinsky, who earned an automatic bid into the singles draw as the highest-ranked Ivy League player (No. 96), took on Texas Tech’s Bojan Szumanski.
Szumanski, who was ranked No. 37 coming into the tournament, earned an at-large bid after going 21-13 in singles this year, playing at the No. 1 spot.
The two faced off at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., in one of the first matches of the singles draw. Pinsky held his own, winning the first set, 6-4.
“Coming into the match, I was confident. I felt like I could play with anybody,” Pinsky said after the match. “I went up early in the first set, and I broke him in the first game. I went up 2-0, and I had a chance to go 3-0. I felt like he was a little nervous since it was the first round, so I capitalized on that.”
But Szumanski’s jitters faded fast.
“He came out fired up in the second set,” Pinsky said. “He broke me early on, and he just kind of rode that throughout the second set. Once he started getting confident, he was able to just roll.”
Szumanski won the second set 6-3 and forced a third set. There, Szumanski, who had found his stride, finished the match by winning 6-2.
“Everyone in the tournament is good,” Pinsky said. “It just came down to a few points here and there, and he won those points. Execution at the big points is what it came down to.”
Head coach Mark Riley was pleased with the way Pinsky played, and has already turned his thoughts to next season.
“Jason did a good job,” Riley said. “He had chances in the second and third set, and I think there were some missed opportunities there. Jason is a good player. That’s how he got in the tournament. It was all of the best players in the country, and he deserved to be there. He played a quality match; it was a little disappointing that he lost, but hopefully he can improve and do better next year when he makes the tournament again.”
As for the fact that Pinsky’s junior season is officially over, after the team’s second straight ECAC and Ivy titles, another dramatic playoff match for the NCAA berth, and an individual post-season bid? He’s okay with that.
“It was a long season,” the co-captain said. “It will be nice to get a little break now.”