May 23, 2015
WACO, Texas — It started with a scare.
University of Notre Dame men’s tennis junior Quentin Monaghan had won the first set in each of his first three matches at the NCAA Singles Championship leading into Saturday’s national quarterfinal matchup with No. 39 Cameron Norrie of TCU. So when Norrie took a first-set lead, Monaghan found himself in uncharted territory.
It was a good thing, then, that Monaghan doesn’t rattle easily.
The ninth-ranked Irish captain quickly put that first-set setback behind him, putting together a dominating final two sets at the Hawkins IndoorÂ Tennis Center at Baylor University to continue his run through the tournament, defeating Norrie 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 to advance to the first national singles semifinal since the singles and doubles championships separated from the team competition in 1977.
Monaghan and Norrie went back and forth to start the match, with Monaghan snagging the first break to take a 4-2 lead. Norrie retaliated, however, to knot things at 4-all, then broke Monaghan again for set point to take an early lead.
“It was tough to lose the first set after being up a break, but I had to stay composed and keep battling,” Monaghan said. “I got away from the point-to-point toughness mentality that got me the lead and I needed to regroup.”
The Irish junior wasted no time in making up ground in the second set. Norrie held to open the set, but Monaghan swept the next six games to take the set and force a decisive third session.
The momentum carried over to the final set as Monaghan picked up two straight breaks in the third set to take a 5-2 lead. Norrie broke back to make it 5-3, but the Irish junior picked up his third break of the set to win it 6-3.
“The [last] two sets i was able to compete at a high level and, ultimately, my game followed and I ended up playing a great match,” Monaghan said.
Prior to 1977, the national team championship was decided by points according to individual singles and doubles wins. Under that format, three Irish singles players advanced as far as the semifinal round, including Jim Evert (1943 semifinal), Charles Samson (1944 championship loss to Pancho Segura, later world co-No. 1 in 1950 and 1952) and Maxwell Brown (1959 semifinal).
“Being the first player from Notre Dame to reach the semis is an absolute honor,” Monaghan said. “It’s hard to put into words, but I feel like I put so much into my tennis game and this program that it’s nice to see some rewards. I couldn’t ask for better teammates, coaches and alumni and they have supported me so much throughout my time here. As a player, it’s easy to take for granted what you have, but hopefully this is a sign of my gratitude. Notre Dame men’s tennis is a program headed for great things and I think some of the success I’ve had will rub off on other players and future commits.”
Monaghan will face No. 8 Ryan Shane of Virginia in Sunday’s semifinal match. Monaghan defeated Shane earlier this season, coming back from down 2-5 in the first set to win 7-6(4), 6-3.
NCAA Men’s DI Singles Championship
May 20-25, 2015
No. 9 Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 33 Farris Gosea (ILL), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
No. 9 Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 25 Roberto Quiroz (USC), 6-4, 6-4
Round of 16
No. 9 Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 32 Jakob Sude (OKST), 6-2, 6-4
No. 9 Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. No. 39 Cameron Norrie (TCU), 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
No. 9 Quentin Monaghan (ND) vs. No. 8 Ryan Shane (UVA), TBD
Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant