The following was originally published on: utsports.com.
Orlando, Florida. After splitting the first two sets of the afternoon, Australian senior duo Adam Walton and junior Pat Harper beat Auburn’s Finn Morgate and Tad McLean, 13-11 in an impressive third-set tiebreak, to win the 2021 NCAA National Duos Championship on Friday at the USTA campus the National.
The victory gives Tennessee men’s tennis four national singles titles in the history of the program, with Walton and Harper being third in the doubles competition.
“I’m really happy for our entire team and everyone who has played a role in our success this year,” said team coach Chris Woodruff. “This was a journey of improving both physically and mentally for all the players. Adam and Bat have worked incredibly hard and I know they will forever preserve that victory.”
The opening afternoon set was a back-and-forth affair that saw each side get a break from the other. In the end, the folders kept a 5-6 serving and took a narrow 7-5 break-break win to snatch the first set, 7-6 (5).
Morgate and Maclean Harper overcame Walton in the second half (6-2), using an early break to level the match in each set.
In the match that settled the excellent tiebreak, the two teams went again to point by point. The fraction was equal in each of the first three changes at 3-3, 6-6, and 9-9. Faced with match point and with an 11-10 loss, Walton and Harper fought a massive serve from Morgate to equal things in 11-11.
The duo fought second sending Morgit to score a 12-11 lead and a chance to act in the match.
At match point, Walton hit a hemisphere over the far side of the net to give the top doubles duo in Orange & White the national title.
“This was easily one of the most rewarding feelings I have had in my career. It was amazing to see how hard these men work to improve their husbands.” Woodruff said.
The Walton and Harper Cup is the third tennis doubles crown in Tennessee. The other two came in 1980 from Rodney Harmon and Mel Purcell and in 2014 from the tandem of Hunter Rees and Michaelis Lippitis.
Done the right way
Walton and Harper finished the year with 12 consecutive games, winning 17 of the last 18 sets of the season. The tandem finished the year 7-31 as a pair and 19-6 in double play.
Waltz is near 100/100 CLUB
Walton wraps up his fourth year at Rocky Top with 98 singles career wins and 79 doubles wins. This leaves Home Hill, Australia, after two singles and 21 doubles wins, far from reaching the coveted 100/100 club – a feat accomplished with only five parts in Tennessee tennis history.
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