May 28, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. - Pepperdine senior Bassam Beidas clinched All-American status for the third straight year with a second-round upset of seventh-ranked Alex Lacroix of Florida at the NCAA Men's Tennis Singles Championships on Thursday.
Beidas (Cairo, Egypt), ranked #32, battled back to win in three sets (4-6, 7-5, 7-5) against Lacroix, who was seeded #8 in the tournament. He trailed 5-3 in the third set but won the final four games.
"This was one of the best matches Bassam has played in his four years," Pepperdine Coach Adam Steinberg said. "It came against a great player from Florida, and the level of tennis was so high for three hours. Bassam did an amazing job getting through it. It was 95 degrees, he was cramping a little bit, and he gutted his way through it. He played the last four games incredibly smart and found a way to win."
Beidas was one of just four non-seeded players to advance to Friday's Round of 16. Reaching the final 16 in singles assures a player of All-American honors. Beidas earned that status in singles in 2008 and in doubles in 2009. He won for the 11th time in his last 12 matches and improved to 33-11 this season.
Unfortunately, the effort needed to win the singles match may have cost the Waves in doubles later on Thursday, as Beidas and sophomore Alex Llompart (Carolina, Puerto Rico) lost their first-round match to sixth-ranked Dimitar Kutrovsky and Josh Zavala of Texas, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
"He was a little tired in doubles, but they started off well before fading a bit," Steinberg said. "Their energy level dropped and the Texas team picked it up and starting playing very well. Our guys couldn't get it going in the third set. I know they're disappointed, but Bassam and Alex had a great year and deserve credit for getting into the tournament."
Beidas will have another crack at Texas' Kutrovsky, as the two will meet in the Round of 16 on Friday. Kutrovsky is ranked #10 and was seeded in the #9-16 range.
NCAA SINGLES TOURNAMENT
May 26 First Round: #32 Bassam Beidas d. #55 James Meredith (Boise State), 7-6 (4), 6-3
May 27 Second Round: Beidas d. #7 Alex Lacroix (Florida), 4-6, 7-5, 7-5
NCAA DOUBLES TOURNAMENT
May 27 First Round: #6 Dimitar Kutrovsky/Josh Zavala (Texas) d. #27 Beidas/Llompart, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2