ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – UCF’s No. 18 Bogdan Pavel and Trey Hilderbrand fell just short of upsetting the top doubles tandem in the nation in the NCAA Doubles Championships. No. 1 Sven Lah and Jimmy Bendeck from Baylor edged the Knights’ top pair 4-6, 7-6, 11-9.
UCF started out well against the country’s best pair, holding serve and then breaking Baylor’s pair to go up 2-0. The same sequence happened for the opposition as the match became tied at 2-2. The two teams continued to trade games as UCF found themselves up 5-4. The Knights earned one more break to secure the first set by a score of 6-4.
The second set was just as tight as the first. UCF continued to stay one slight step ahead of the opposition, earning leads at 3-2 and eventually 5-4. As the trend had been all night long, Baylor’s top tandem kept trading games with the Knights. Up 6-5 and trying to break the opponent again, Pavel and Hilderbrand had built a 40-0 lead in the game. They were unable to close the door on Lah and Bendeck as they pulled out a pair of aces on their way to forcing a tiebreaker that the Baylor pair eventually won.
In the NCAA Doubles Championships, third sets are played as super tiebreakers. Baylor quickly took a 2-0 lead in the final frame, but Pavel and Hilderbrand bounced back to tie it at 2-2. This seemed to be the pattern of the final frame as Lah and Bendeck climbed out to 2 point leads just to see Pavel and Hilderbrand crawl back to tie it. The two tandems battled for an edge the entire super tiebreak segement with Lah and Bendeck eventually prevailing 11-9.
Pavel and Hilderbrand’s spectacular season will end with a record of 15-5 and an 8-2 mark against ranked opponents. They gave the top doubles team in the country a scare and just barely missed the upset. Pavel and Hilderbrand were the highest ranked freshman duo going into the tournament and will likely remain that way after its conclusion.
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