Whatever the cause of the turnaround, the CdM duo will definitely take the result. They came back to upset No. 2-seeded Zach McEntee and Tanner Smith of Servite, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), at Seal Beach Tennis Center, advancing to the doubles semifinals of the tournament.
Murray and Gordon, who are unseeded, will need to pull off another upset to make the final and ensure their names are put up on a prestigious banner at the CdM tennis courts. They play No. 3-seeded Jack Felich and Austin Rapp of Palm Desert in the semifinals at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, back at Seal Beach Tennis Center. The championship match follows.
Murray, a senior, and Gordon, a freshman, also defeated Alexander Smolentev and Brett Friedland of Santa Monica, 6-3, 6-0, in a round of 16 match earlier Friday.
They had rarely played doubles together before finishing second in the Pacific Coast League and starting this CIF Individuals run. Murray is a four-year doubles player and non-United States Tennis Assn. tournament player, while Gordon is typically a singles player who is ranked No. 15 in the USTA Southern California 16s rankings.
But they have made it work. They certainly rallied at the right time against McEntee and Smith, winning the last five games of the first set against the Trinity League doubles champions. It was quite a momentum shift after Smith, the son of USC men's head coach Peter Smith, came out particularly on fire to start the match.
"It was a big energy change," Murray said. "I mean, they were hitting spectacular shots. Tanner, I can't even count how many times he hit down the line, perfect shots on me. That was just a really good team. They came out swinging ... We just started hitting the right shots. Henry was playing excellently today."