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Indian Wells, Calif. — The first-ever UTR College Match Challenge at the BNP Paribas Open went down to the wire, with a USC men’s squad edging out Pepperdine, 4-3 in front of more than 1,800 fans. The dual match couldn’t have ended more dramatically, with Trojan Wojtek Marek defeating Eero Vasa in a third-set tiebreak to clinch the victory.
UTR College Match Challenge Attracts Crowd
The event was the first of its kind held by Universal Tennis and the BNP Paribas Open. Organizers wanted to showcase college tennis on one of the biggest stages in the world, and USC and Pepperdine jumped at the opportunity.
“Seeing our guys get fired up just from the moment we announced it to the car ride up here and then walking on the grounds and getting to hit where the pros hit... it’s a special experience,” said Pepperdine head men’s coach Adam Schaechterle.
Trojans Pull Off Dramatic Victory
On Sunday, just ahead of the women’s and men’s BNP Paribas Open finals, the Waves and Trojans took to courts PC 15-20 in the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to face each other for the first time in 2023.
Pepperdine would pick up the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and No. 3. In singles action, USC’s No. 1 Stefan Dostanic defeated Daniel De Jonge handily to even the match at 1-1. Dostanic's teammates at No. 6 and No. 5 would make it 3-1 for the Trojans before the Waves started fighting back, with all three remaining matches in a third set.
At No. 4, Pepperdine’s Pietro Fellin managed to shut out Lodewijk Weststrate, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, and not long after, Tim Zeitvogel closed out USC’s Peter Makk, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-3, tying the match at 3-3.
With all eyes focused on the last remaining match at No. 3, USC’s Wojtek Marek and Pepperdine’s Eero Vasa kept holding serve right into a deciding tiebreak. When Vasa’s final shot landed long, Marek fell to the ground in relief, clinching a match for the first time in his career.
“I have no words,” Marek said. “I clinched the match for my team for the first time, and especially being here in Indian Wells was so amazing. It can't get better than this — amazing feeling, an amazing opportunity to play, and it's such a beautiful place. It was always a dream of mine to play here, so I’m extremely happy.”
Universal Tennis has plans in place to host another UTR College Match Challenge at the 2024 Australian Open, this time bringing both men’s and women’s teams to Melbourne. To learn more about all that Universal Tennis is doing for college tennis, click here.
Final Score: USC 4, Pepperdine 3
1. De Jonge/Zeitvogel (PEPP) vs. Dostanic/Frye (USC) - 4-5 UNF
2. Carlsson Halldin/Vasa (PEPP) def. Marek/Rubell (USC) - 6-2
3. Fellin/Hadigian (PEPP) def. Colby/Lee (USC) - 6-3
Order of finish: 3, 2
1. Stefan Dostanic (USC) def. Daniel De Jonge (PEPP) - 6-4, 6-0
2. Tim Zeitvogel (PEPP) def. Peter Makk (USC) - 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-3
3. Wojtek Marek (USC) def. Eero Vasa (PEPP) - 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (4)
4. Pietro Fellin (PEPP) def. Lodewijk Weststrate (USC) - 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
5. Bradley Frye (USC) def. Eric Hadigian (PEPP) - 7-5, 6-2
6. Samuel Rubell (USC) def. Carlsson Halldin (PEPP) - 6-4, 6-4
Order of finish: 1, 6, 5, 4, 2, 3*