Kalamazoo, Mich. - N.C. Wesleyan junior Robert Kjellberg and senior Artsiom Prostak have advanced to the semifinal round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Doubles Championships hosted by Kalamazoo College. The Battling Bishop duo ousted the Bates College tandem of Matt Bettles and Rob Crampton on Friday evening in three sets (3-6, 6-3, 6-1).
Saturday's semifinal is slated to begin not before 11:00am and will see Kjellberg and Prostak take on familiar opponents Michael Holt and Taylor Shamshiri of Washington & Lee. Holt and Shamshiri are 2-0 versus the Bishops this season, having earned 9-8 and 8-6 tightly contested victories. As the #3 seed, Wesleyan will seek to avenge those losses by securing a spot in the National Championship round later in the day.
Earlier in Friday's singles action, Kjellberg advanced to the Final Four with a straight-set win over Kenyon's Michael Razumovsky (6-4, 7-5). Unfortunately, the talented junior fell by an almost identical score in the national semifinal to #2 seed Adam Putterman of Washington (Mo.) (6-3, 7-5). Kjellberg had seemed poised to force a third set by forging a 5-2 advantage in the second, but Putterman reeled off five straight games to steal the match.
Previously in Thursday's opening rounds, Kjellberg, the #6 overall seed in singles play, breezed to a pair of straight-set victories over Whitman's Colton Malesovas (6-2, 6-1) and Amherst's Andrew Yaraghi (6-2, 6-3) to reach the quarterfinals.
After dropping his singles opener to MIT's Edwin Zhang (6-3, 6-2), Prostak teamed with Kjellberg to rebound in doubles. The 3rd-seeded Bishop duo earned a straight-set win over Wisconsin-Whitewater's Mitch Osborne and Ben Shklyar (6-3, 6-1).
Seeking the program's first national title, Kjellberg and Prostak have now advanced further in the NCAA Tennis Championships than any Bishops in history. Please continue to check the official website at http://hornets.kzoo.edu/ncaa/2013tennis/index for live coverage available.