By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA, MAY 24, 2014 – Roberto Cid’s remarkable NCAA Singles Championship run ended in the quarterfinals with a 6-0, 6-3 loss to Pepperdine’s Alex Sarkissian on Saturday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
Cid, a sophomore, became the first USF men’s tennis player to earn All-America honors in his first season with the Bulls after being named American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. The native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic went 24-6 this season and won in straight sets three times to reach the NCAA quarterfinals.
“What he did this year is incredibly special and really unique,” head coach Matt Hill said. “It’s super exciting for the team and for the future of where we’re going. He’s going to be an incredible leader by example for the next two years for us.”
No. 47 Cid led No. 28 Sarkissian, 6-4, 2-6, 5-4, earlier this season on April 15 when the match was called at the end of USF’s 4-2 victory over Pepperdine in Champaign, Ill. Cid had two break points in the first four games of Saturday’s match but couldn’t break through this time.
“Those points didn’t swing our way. The other guy either played really well or we just missed by very, very small margins,” Hill said. “The second set he got back on track and tried to pick it up a level, but Sarkissian really played well. We saw him earlier in the year and the level he played today definitely wasn’t the norm I’ve seen him play in the past.”
Despite the loss, Cid has shown the nation he can thrive under the spotlight and proved it right away at the NCAA Singles Championship by taking down No. 1 Clay Thompson of UCLA, 6-4, 6-3, Wednesday.
Cid became an All-American by reaching the round of 16 when he defeated No. 68 Alen Salibasic of Drake, 7-6 (5), 6-1, Thursday. Cid set up a meeting with Sarkissian by getting past No. 41 Dane Webb of Oklahoma, 6-2, 7-5, Friday afternoon.
“Roberto knows his level is good enough to beat any of the guys in the tournament,” Hill said. “He believed in that and when he gets in those moments he really raises his game up. That’s just something you can’t really coach, it’s within a player, and we’re really excited Roberto has that.”