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Clayton Falls in First Round of NCAA Championships

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Co-captain Chris Clayton saw his season and career come to a close Wednesday at the NCAA Championships at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M. The senior fell in the first round of the tournament to No. 15 Blake Strode of Arkansas, 6-2, 6-2.

With the loss, the 2009 Ivy League Player of the Year finishes out his season with a 20-11 record and his career with an 84-49 overall record. It marked the second year in a row Clayton has competed at NCAAs after falling in the first round of 64 to Brett Helgeson of Notre Dame last year at the championships, held at the University of Tulsa.

Playing on Court 1 of the grandstand side of the facility, Strode and No. 79 Clayton traded points before Strode built a 2-1 lead on serve. He then broke Clayton’s serve to go up, 3-1, but Clayton came right back and broke Strode’s serve to get to 3-2. The Razorback proved too tough, though, and won the next three games to take the first set by a 6-2 margin.

Each player won on serve to begin the second set, as Clayton eventually tied it up at 2-2 early on. Strode, though, came on strong as the match wore on and took the next four games for the second-set win, 6-2.

The Ivy League’s automatic qualifier for the championships, Clayton earned first-team All-Ivy honors in singles in 2009 for the third time in his career, becoming the sixth Crimson player to accomplish the feat, and was also a second-team honoree his freshman year. The ITA Senior Player of the Year for the Northeast Region, Clayton was tabbed to the All-Ivy second team in doubles this season as well.