Men's Tennis Pair on to Finals ... Again

MOBILE, Ala. -- Marco Mokrzycki and Fabian Groetsch were living on the edge. Now they have another title to play for.

Barry's men's tennis tandem from Germany won a pair of matches Thursday at the United States Tennis Association/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Small College National Championships, earning them a right to play for the doubles title at 5 p.m. Friday against Armstrong Atlantic's Georgi Rumenov and Daniel Regan, the tournament's No. 1 seed.

The Buccaneers third-seeded pair beat Drury's Lukas Kriem and Roman Gonda, 7-6, 6-4, in their first match of the day. They went on to fight for a 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) win over Abilene Christian's second-seeded Hans Hach and Borja Cortes in a match that had anxiety, too much relaxation and stick-to-it-iveness all intertwined to it.

"I was getting nervous," Barry assistant coach Thomas Hipp said.

Groetsch and Mokrzycki trailed 2-0 in the first set against Hach and Cortes after the Bucs' serve was broken. Following another broken serve, the Bucs found themselves in a 4-2 hole. But Groetsch and Mokrzycki found some resilience, storming back to win the next four games to take the first set.

In the second set, the Buccaneers duo found themselves down 3-0 after getting broken. Barry's pair broke back, climbing back to within a game, 3-2. But each side held serve for the next six games before Mokrzycki and Groetsch tied the match at 6-6 in the second set, setting up a tiebreaker, when Groetsch blasted a shot at the fatigued and seemingly confused Wildcats pair at the net.

"That was a smart play on Fabian's part," Hipp said. "Marco and Fabian had a good feel for the opponents' mental state. They were really tight, and Marco and Fabian recognized that."

Barry fell behind 4-0 in the tiebreak before the Bucs battled to draw within 6-3. Groetsch and Mokrzycki rattled off the next five points to advance.

"Every game was kind of a battle," Hipp said. "We got ahead in the second set, and they got too comfortable. All of a sudden they were more focused. Now, they're intense and alert."

Alert enough to pull off an exciting come-from-behind win to set up a date in the finals.

Mokrzycki and Groetsch are 6-0 together this fall, and 9-0 as a pairs unit all-time at Barry.