May 23, 2007
ATHENS, Ga. - UC Santa Barbara freshman Philip Therp lost in his first round match of the NCAA Men's Tennis Singles Championships by a score of 6-4, 6-4 to Rice's Ben Harknett on Wednesday.
Therp led 2-0 in the first set, but dropped six of the next eight games to Harknett, the No. 1 singles player for the Owls. Therp fell behind 3-0 in the second set, but tried to mount a comeback before succumbing.
Therp, one of just four freshmen competing in the 64-player bracket, played his first match with both hands since suffering a broken left wrist in a match in early February. He was sidelined for 11 matches, and, upon return to action in late March, played one-handed up until the NCAA Championships. Therp appeared to be rusty as he tried to revert back to his natural style of play against the hard-serving Harknett.
"Philip played a great match, and while he was able to hit the two-handed backhand, he couldn't drive through the ball," said UCSB head coach Marty Davis. "Against a guy like Harknett where serving is his strength, Philip did well to stay in the match throughout. It was a great experience for him and it will payoff in the future."
Therp still posted a 4-4 singles mark for the Gauchos while playing one-handed, managing to remain in the top 125 of the ITA rankings and earning 2007 Big West Freshman of the Year honors.