May 24, 2007
ATHENS, Ga. – Notre Dame’s eight-ranked and seventh seeded senior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, NY) was upset in the second round of the singles portion of the NCAA Tennis Championships on Thursday afternoon, falling to Washington’s Alex Slovic 6-3, 6-4. Later in the day, the Irish doubles tandem of senior Ryan Keckley (South Bend, IN) and junior Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, NE) dropped a heartbreaking three-set match against Henrique Cancado and Harel Srugo of Old Dominion.
Despite the defeat, Bass will become the 17th different Irish player to be tabbed an All-American in the history of the program. Bass and junior Sheeva Parbhu have each been awarded such an honor the past two seasons.
Bass not only earned one of the 16 seeds in the NCAA Singles Championship, but will more than likely finish the season in the top 20 of the final ITA national singles rankings (currently ranked eighth).
The ITA All-America team will consist of all players who meet at least one of three criteria in singles or doubles. In singles, an individual must 1) finish in the top 20 of the final ITA national singles rankings; 2) earn one of the 16 seeds in the NCAA Singles Championship; 3) advance to the round of 16 in the NCAA Singles Championship.
Slovic, who found out on Monday that he earned an at-large berth into the championships, avenged an earlier loss in the season. Bass cruised past Slovic on March 4, 6-1, 6-4 in a dual match.
Slovic, ranked 64th nationally, controlled much of the match from the get go. The Yugoslavian jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set and eventually won 6-3. Bass came out strong in the second frame, jumping out to a 3-0 and 4-1 lead. Both players then held serve until Slovic broke Bass while trailing 4-2. With the match knotted at 4-4, Slovic again broke Bass and then served out the match.
Bass finishes his brilliant senior season with a 36-11 record on the season and 109-46 for his career. The 36 victories rank tied for fifth-best in single-season Notre Dame history, while his 109 wins are the sixth most in school history.
Parbhu and Keckley, playing their first match together since April 1, showed early signs of rust in the opening set. Cancado and Srugo cruised to a 6-1 victory in the first set, but Keckley and Parbhu found the form that allowed the duo to ascend to #7 in the doubles poll earlier this season. They dominated the second set, winning 6-2, to set up a third and deciding set.
The two teams traded blows, back and forth, throughout the entire third set. Keckley and Parbhu took a 5-4 lead and served for the match, but Cancado and Srugo broke on Keckley’s serve to square the match at 5-5. After holding their serve, the Old Dominion duo took a 6-5 lead and clinched the victory following a second consecutive break of the Irish serve.
Keckley and Parbhu, ranked #28 in the last ITA poll, end their season at 21-14 overall and dropped seven of their last eight matches.
— ND –09