On the first day of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships, Andre Dome showed that a previous defeat can be overwritten when it matters most.
In Friday’s round of 16 at Atkins Tennis Center on the campus of Illinois, the Cal Poly senior had to swallow his own serving of revenge.
Dome fell 6-3, 6-4 to Michigan’s Evan King, a top-16 seed and a player the Arroyo Grande High product handled easily in a preseason tournament last fall.
The loss ends a record-breaking amateur career for Dome on the Central Coast. He was a four-time league champion for the Eagles, losing just one set against local competition in his prep career.
At Cal Poly, he owns the top three single-season dual-match win totals in Division I program history and sits atop several other record lists.
He’s the Mustangs’ only four-time All-Big West Conference honoree, is the only two-time Big West Player of the Year from Cal Poly, and the only conference player to earn the honor back-to-back in the past 10 years.
By advancing through the first two rounds in the NCAA singles bracket, Dome — ranked No. 30 in the latest ITA collegiate poll — also assured himself a top-16 finish and All-America status.
“It’s a pretty awesome accomplishment. That was my goal at the beginning of the year, being an All-American,” Dome said by phone Friday. On Thursday, “I played pretty well and achieved that. It’s great for the school and the program.”
Dome had his chances of advancing Friday. He took a 3-2 first-set lead before King broke Dome’s serve in a game that featured four deuce points. That was the start of a four-game run, and King closed out the first set 6-3.
Dome rallied for a 3-1 lead in the second set before King won the next game, broke Dome’s serve once more and held serve for a 4-3 lead.
“I was just putting pressure on him,” Dome said about building his early leads. “He’s a very good defender, and I was trying to put as much pressure as I could on him. I had to take a little more risk, and sometimes it went my way and other times he got the best of me.
“When I just didn’t capitalize on when I got the break and I got up 3-1, I just needed to focus a little more to hold my serve. That was the biggest key. If I had held my serve, that would have been a different match.”
It was a much different match when the two met in the consolation rounds of the ITA All-American Tennis Championship in October.
King entered that tournament ranked No. 4 in the country, but Dome swept him 6-0, 6-2.
“I beat him pretty bad, but I don’t think his mind was right then,” Dome said after Friday’s match. “It was a completely different player today. I was expecting that coming into the match.”
Dome avenged a similar defeat from the same tournament in the opening round of the NCAA singles bracket.
In the first round of the ITA tournament last fall, Georgia Tech’s Juan Spir upended Dome 7-6, 6-3. In Wednesday’s opening round at the national championships, Dome sent Spir home with a 6-3, 6-2 victory.
Dome went on to upset Kentucky’s Anthony Rossi, who came into the tournament as the No. 4 seed, 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3 in Thursday’s second round.
Dome will return to San Luis Obispo to finish off his industrial technology degree before making an attempt to climb the ranks of the professional tennis tour this summer.
He knows he missed opportunities to continue his collegiate career against King, but Dome was proud of the things he accomplished in his time as a hometown hero.
“It was his day today, and it could have been my day,” Dome said. “It is a little bittersweet, but at the end of it looking back at my career, it is pretty cool.”