MALIBU, Calif. - Pepperdine men's tennis team standout Alex Sarkissian saw his magical run at the NCAA Singles Championship come to a close today at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. After stringing together five wins to become just the third finalist in the Waves' program history, the unseeded senior fell in the finals to No. 2 seeded Marcos Giron of UCLA.
Despite the loss, Sarkissian (Glendale, Calif./Glendale CC) still has much to be proud of. He was named the 2014 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and was also recognized as an All-WCC first team performer in both singles and doubles.
Sarkissian entered the NCAA Singles & Doubles Championship ranked #28 and #15, respectively, and earned ITA All-American honors in both to become just the seventh Wave to ever do so in a single season.
He is also the only Pepperdine player in recorded program history (dating back to 1978) to reach the quarterfinals in both the singles and doubles draws at the NCAA Championships in the same year. Pedro Rico came close, ending his doubles run in the quarterfinals and his singles run in the round of 16 in 2004. Omar Altmann replicated Rico's feat in 2009.
"This week has been incredible, I'm so happy for him," said head coach Adam Steinberg after the finals. "We had a tough season team wise and for Alex to end the year like he did meant a lot to a lot of people. We needed something positive and he provided that. He earned it this week. He ran out of gas a little bit today, but overall had an incredible tournament."
With today's loss, Sarkissian concludes his senior campaign with a 29-11 overall record, bringing his career tally to 52-17. In doubles, the Glendale native went 23-7 alongside Francis Alcantara (Cagayan de Oro, Philippines/Fresno State) and 42-17 over his two seasons with the Waves.
Giron, 29-5 this season prior to today's match, struck first in set one, breaking Sarkissian's serve just once to take the 3-2 lead. The single break proved enough as neither side would be broken again, leading the Bruin to a 6-4 triumph.
Sarkissian struggled to settle into his rhythm in set two and fell behind 4-0 before putting a game on the board. Giron never relinquished an ounce of the momentum and put away the frame 6-1 to take the national title.
As the NCAA Singles Champion, Giron has earned an automatic entry into the main draw of the 2014 U.S. Open, set to begin at the end of August. Sarkissian was rewarded with a bid into the qualifying draw as the national runner-up.
Sarkissian opened his run against 9-16 seeded Brayden Schnur of North Carolina. Although the senior fell behind match point in the third set tiebreaker, Sarkissian held on to win 8-6 and move out of the first round.
He would beat top-50 ranked players from Wake Forest, Minnesota and South Florida in straight sets before meeting with #39 Denis Nguyen of Harvard in the finals. Although he dropped the first frame 6-4, Sarkissian continued to play strong and punched his ticket into the finals winning 7-5, 6-2 in the final sets.
NCAA Singles & Doubles Championship
May 21-16, 2014 at Athens, Ga. (Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
#28 Alex Sarkissian (Pepperdine) def. #15 Brayden Schnur (North Carolina) 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6)
#28 Alex Sarkissian (Pepperdine) def. #29 Romain Bogaerts (Wake Forest) 6-1, 6-4
#28 Alex Sarkissian (Pepperdine) def. #38 Leandro Toledo (Minnesota) 7-6 (7-1), 6-1
#28 Alex Sarkissian (Pepperdine) def. #47 Roberto Cid (South Florida) 6-0, 6-3
#28 Alex Sarkissian (Pepperdine) def. #39 Denis Nguyen (Harvard) 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
#15 Francis Alcantara/Alex Sarkissian (Pepperdine) def. #12 Ashok Narayana/Max Schnur (Columbia) 6-3, 1-6, 6-1
#15 Francis Alcantara/Alex Sarkissian (Pepperdine) def. #60 Jack Findel-Hawkins/Norbert Nemcsek (North Florida) 6-2, 6-1
#14 Arjun Kadhe/Jakob Sude (Oklahoma State) def. #15 Francis Alcantara/Brayden Schnur (North Carolina) 6-4, 6-3