The No. 12 Demon Deacon racquetmen take on No. 5 Texas Christian at 1 pm ET tomorrow in Waco, Texas. Wake (24-7) has been on a total tear of late, winning 11 of their last 12 matches.
On March 8th, the Demon Deacons edged out the higher-ranked Horned Frogs (23-7) in Winston-Salem, 4-3. Wake won this match without the injured Noah Rubin, forcing every player to move up one spot in the lineup. Since then, TCU has won 14 of 16 matches, including three Top 10 wins. Their only two losses? Versus No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 2 Baylor.
Like Wake, who defeated both George Washington and Pepperdine 4-0, the Horned Frogs swept both Marist and No. 30 Tulsa in the first two rounds. College tennis pundit Bobby Knight stated that this Sweet 16 matchup is the toughest to predict. With No. 7 Noah Rubin and No. 16 Romain Bogaerts, arguably the most dominant one-two punch in the nation, the Demon Deacons are well-positioned to take the first two singles positions.
In their first meeting, Bogaerts defeated No. 28 Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4 at first singles. Meanwhile, Jon Ho, who usually plays fourth singles, lost 7-6 in the third set to No. 48 Nick Chappell at second singles.
The Horned Frogs, however, are deeper than the Demon Deacons and are favored at the bottom of the lineup. One key for Wake is having a healthy Jon Ho. The junior played doubles last week but did not compete in singles. At fourth singles, he is Wake's best chance to steal a match at the anchor positions.
Last time they played, the doubles point catapulted Wake to a resume-building victory. Like in non-conference play, this battle will likely be determined by the doubles point. Wake is an incredible 22-2 when they win the doubles point.
Wake has the edge at first doubles, where Twin Towers Christian Seraphim and Skander Mansouri defeated Nick Chappell and Will Stein in March, 6-2. Ho and Keivon Tabrizi solidified the doubles point with a gutsy 6-4 win over Guillermo Nunez and Norrie. This time, Rubin back to partner with Ho and the Bogaerts and Tabrizi teamed up at third doubles. Wake will sport a stronger doubles lineup than last time, but the Horned Frog pose a tall task.
The Demon Deacons already set a school record for wins in a season and boast arguably the best lineup in school history. They have the talent to make an even deeper NCAA Tournament run, but TCU is a mighty task, especially when playing on an hour and a half away from home in Waco, Texas. After wavering for a day, Knight predicted the Demon Deacons to pull off the seeding upset by a score of 4-3. The winner plays the winner of No. 4 Illinois and No. 13 North Carolina.
Click HERE for a link to the live feed from Hurd Tennis Center at Baylor University.