©Colette Lewis 2006
Half of Saturday's quarterfinalists will wear either Illinois orange or Georgia red at the ITA All-American Championships at the University of Tulsa.
Top seed and defending champion John Isner will face a no. 9 seed Kevin Anderson of Illinois after each crafted straight-set victories on a sun-splashed Friday morning. Isner, at 6-foot-9 more than a foot taller than his opponent, UCLA qualifier Chris Surapol, came back from a break down in the second set to win 6-2, 7-6 (11). It took Isner six match points in the tiebreak to finally subdue Surapol, and predictably, it was an ace that did the trick. Anderson, only three inches shorter than Isner, handled unseeded Adam Holmstrom of Denver 6-4, 6-2, to set up a battle of big men with big serves.
The other pairing in the top half of the draw will see no. 4 seed Somdev Devvarman of Virginia take on unseeded Luke Shields of Boise State. Shields eliminated Matic Omerzel of Georgia, who was also unseeded, 6-3, 6-3, earning his third consecutive straight set victory.
Devvarman, a 2006 NCAA finalist, needed three hours and a tournament referee's ruling to overcome Florida's Greg Ouellette 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3.
In the third set, with Ouellette serving at 3-4 deuce, Ouellette cracked his racquet in frustration over losing the point. Although Ouellette convinced the chair umpire that he had barely tapped it and didn't deserve a code violation, Tony Bresky, Virginia's assistant coach, requested a tournament referee, who ruled that breaking a racquet is not subject to interpretation, and awarded a point penalty, and therefore the game, to Devvarman.
Serving for the match, Devvarman went up 40-15, let one match point get away on an overhead error, but converted his second, when Ouellette barely missed a passing shot. At the conclusion of that point, Ouellette heaved his racquet over the fence and outside the stadium, yelling "now that's a #% (obscenity deleted) point penalty."
Devvarman's teammate and doubles partner Treat Huey also played a long three setter, but couldn't finish off Luis Flores of Georgia, a nine seed, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-3. Flores will face Clemson's Clement Reix, also a nine seed, who took his first straight set win of the tournament, downing qualifier Jakob Klaeson of Mississippi 6-3, 6-4.
The fourth quarterfinal will feature hometown favorite Arnau Brugues of the University of Tulsa, the fifth seed, who won the last eleven games in his victory over qualifier Ivan Puchkarov of Oklahoma State. Across the net from Brugues will be Illinois' Ryan Rowe, ranked so low coming into the tournament that he was one of the last players to get in to the main draw without qualifying. Rowe scored the day's only upset when he took out Bryan Koniecko of Ohio State, a nine seed, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
The doubles will be down to the semifinals by the end of play on Friday. I'll update that action later on Friday.
Friday, October 6, 2006
©Colette Lewis 2006