ATHENS, Georgia – No. 18 Raony Carvalho and Gonzalo Escobar put together the match of a lifetime and stunned No. 2 Steve Johnson and Roberto Quiroz of USC, 6-2, 3-2, to advance to the NCAA Men's Doubles National Championships on Saturday at the McGill Tennis Complex.
"We knew (Carvalho and Escobar) had the talent – and the way they complement each other on the court – to do this," said Red Raider head coach Tim Sigel. "They are playing their best tennis on the biggest stage, because they are so relaxed and so confident."
Texas Tech jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first set, before trading serves to take a 6-2 victory in the first set, as Escobar served for the first set victory.
In the second set, each side held serve through the first four games. Then the Tech tandem broke USC, 3-2. As Escobar prepared to serve, USC retired the match due to injury.
"The biggest joke going is about the number 26," added Siegel. "My dad's favorite number is 26. We are No. 26 on the draw and played today on the 26th. Raony and Gonzalo wanted to do better than I did 26 years ago. That is their goal.
"They played on the same court that I lost in the national semifinals 25 years ago. I really like the No. 26."
Carvalho and Escobar advance to face Chris Thiemann and Marcel Thiemann of Ole Miss on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. CT. The No. 17 Thiemann brothers defeated VCU's No. 63 tandem of Antoine Baroz and Alexis Heugas, 7-6, 7-6.
This is the farthest Texas Tech has advanced in the NCAA Individual Championships. Fittingly, Escobar and Carvalho are the two winningest singles and doubles players in school history.
"What makes these two so special is that Ray returns well and serves well, while Gonzalo is so good with touch," said Siegel. "They are power and finesse. They came out the first game and played tremendous tennis .
"These guys are relaxed and confident and doing the little things well. We know Ole Miss is a scrappy team. They are very good. It is going to be a tough match."
2012 NCAA Men's Doubles Championships
Saturday, May 26, 2012
#18 Escobar/Carvalho (TT) def. Johnson/Quiroz (USC), 6-3, 3-2, retired (Inj.)