Courtesy of Middlebury Sports Information
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Middlebury sophomore Lubomir Cuba became the first Panther in the program's history to win the NCAA Division III Singles Championship with a straight-set victory on Saturday morning. Later in the day, he teamed up with doubles partner William de Quant and hoisted the first doubles crown in the program's record books, earning a pair of straight-set wins in the semifinals and finals. Cuba becomes the 10th player since 1976 to win both the NCAA singles and doubles titles in the same year. The matches took place at the Champions Club Tennis Complex at Rivermont Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In the singles competition, Cuba, the top seed, jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening set against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps' Nikolai Parodi. Parodi served for his lone game of the opening set, but Cuba answered with a service hold of his own for the first-set victory (6-1). With the second set knotted at 1-1, Cuba claimed the final five games, including a service ace on match point for a 6-1, 6-1 victory.
Cuba didn't drop a set during his five NCAA victories on his way to the NCAA Singles title. Saturday's contest was a rematch of Tuesday's team semifinal where Parodi posted a three-set win (6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5).
Cuba, the 2016 ITA Oracle Cup Singles Runner-Up and 2017 NESCAC Player of the Year, ends his initial season with the Panthers sporting a 29-3 record and 19-1 mark in dual matches.
During doubles in the semifinals, Cuba and de Quant won the last three games of the opening set against Carthage's Herman Abban and Pawel Jaworski for a 6-3 win. Cuba and de Quant, seeded second in the draw, were victorious in the final two games of the second set for a 6-3, 6-4 victory.
In the final, Cuba and de Quant faced the top-seeded pair of Brian Grodecki and Alex Taylor from Williams. The Eph duo defeated Erik Kerrigan and Nina Kumar, 6-7, 7-5, from the University of Chicago to advance to the championship match.
The teams held serve for the opening eight games of the set. Tied at 4-4, the Panther duo broke the Ephs' serve and held serve for a 6-4 opening-set triumph. Cuba and de Quant tallied victories in the first three games of the second set, cruising to a 6-4, 6-2 victory.