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Lobos' lightning-fast finish against TCU beats weather

As if it sensed the weather turning, the UNM tennis team finished TCU quickly 6-1, almost exclusively in straight sets.

“We have struggled getting all six players playing good at the same time,” head coach Alan Dils said. “And today was finally that day — the culmination. Everybody played good in doubles. Everybody played good in singles.”

On the women’s side, the Lobos fell by the same score, 6-1, which marks their 13th loss in a row.

After solidifying the doubles point, Ben Dunbar, playing at the No. 1 position, was the first one off the court, beating Emanuel Brighiu 6-4, 6-2.
“He has been a really good player in the past. He has given us fits in the past,” Dils said. “Sometimes you can make the other player look bad, hanging his shoulders. There is usually a reason for that. It is usually that you are making that guy not wanting to be on the court, you are grinding him out or making him tired.”

Dunbar was on a five-match losing streak in singles, and he said this win will give him a lift to finish in conference play.

“Singles-wise I have been struggling a little bit,” Dunbar said. “But I definitely was really pleased with how I played — getting off nice and quick so the boys could take confidence in that.”
Dunbar’s teammates soon followed suit, winning early.

Connor Berg, who has won his last nine singles matches, finished next. Then Carl Ho and Joe wood won back-to-back in two sets.
But even though the Lobos won quickly, Dils said that is not the same as winning easily.

“Take an example like Carl (Ho’s) match,” he said. “A 6-4, 6-1 match looks easy. Yet, there were two matches that were done before he finished his first set. There was absolutely nothing easy about that match.”
Jadon Phillips was the only one who didn’t beat the weather, but he did end up beating his opponent indoors. After getting bagel-ed in the first set 6-0, he fought back and won the second and led 4-3 in the third, before inclement weather forced the match indoors.

He ended his match inside the tennis bubble by beating TCU’s Zach Nichols in three sets 0-6, 7-6, 6-4. . He played in the No. 2 position Saturday, moving up from No. 3 after he played an impressive match against Boise State on Thursday.

Dunbar said it wasn’t strange for Phillips to move to the No. 2 spot. With the youth of the team, all the positions are interchangeable, Dunbar said.
“We have been moving around all season,” he said. “I started off in the three position, then moved to two and then to one.”

Dunbar said the seeding just depends on which player poses the biggest threat to the opponent on that day.

“It has to do with matchups,” Dunbar said. “Whoever the coach feels is the better matchup with that player, we can move it around like that. Like I said everyone is pretty similarly matched… it is the way college tennis works.”

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