KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Amherst College sophomore Sean Wei played one of his best matches of the year on Friday afternoon at West Hills Athletic Club, beating Jack Katzman of CMS 6-1, 6-3 to earn himsef a place in the 2019 NCAA Individual Singles championship quarterfinals.
After his 20th singles win of the season, Wei, a semifinalist in last year's tournament, will play at 10:30 on Saturday morning against Grant Urken of Bowdoin, the defending national singles champion.
With the victory, Wei improves to 20-10 on the year and is now 5-1 in his career in NCAA tournament singles play.
Wei was locked in against Katzman, taking a quick 2-0 lead and then coming back from down 40-15 in the third game to break serve and open up a 3-0 advantage.
After a 6-1 first set win, Wei quickly went up 2-0 in the second set before Katzman got on the board. At 4-2, Wei held serve to take command of the second set, and he served out for the win.
Earlier in the day, Wei got his 2019 tournament started with a straight set win over Matthew Chen of Case Western Reserve.
He went up 4-1 in the first set and then held on for a 6-2 victory against Chen, who defeated him in three sets when the Mammoths played Case on March 15th in Orlando, Florida, a 7-2 victory for the Spartans.
"It feels good to beat someone that I lost to in the regular season," said Wei. "I definitely felt better in the first set and had to figure out more in the second. He started hitting good balls, but I think I adjusted well."
Chen broke to start the second set but then Wei broke back to square things. The Amherst sophomore broke again to make it 5-5, held to make it 6-5 and then he broke a final time to avoid a tiebreak and win the match in straight sets.
After making a run to the semifinals last year, Wei admitted he approaches the tournament with a little more confidence his second time around.
"Yeah, I feel less nervous than last year. My first match last year I was super nervous. This year I was playing more loose," said Wei.