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Friday, May 25, 2007

Only One Top Eight Seed Missing From NCAA Men's Quarterfinals

©Colette Lewis 2007--
Athens, GA--

The women provided most of the thrills on another beautiful day at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, with five of their eight matches going to three sets (see post below). Only one of the men's round of 16 matches went the distance--sixth alternate Alex Slovic of Washington's 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over unseeded Robbye Poole of Ole Miss.

But there were some close matches and some good tennis played, starting with top seed John Isner of Georgia, who used some big serving to hold off unseeded Ken Skupski of LSU 7-6 (8), 7-5. There were no breaks in the first set, and no breaks in the first set tiebreak until 5-all. Isner got it, but his subsequent double fault gave Skupski new life. A wide forehand by Isner and an ace gave the left-hander from England a set point, but Isner hit a service winner and an ace to put himself back at the advantage, and Skupski hit a forehand long on the next point to end it.

The second set was more of the same--big serving, big forehands and occasional volleys. A 5-6, 30-40 Skupski had control of the point, but Isner hit a forehand pass from deep behind the baseline to keep alive his chance for the NCAA triple crown (team, singles and doubles titles).

The other Georgia player who came into Friday's action with a chance, Luis Flores (9), was playing on the court next to Isner against Jesse Levine, the No. 3 seeded Florida Gator. Levine had no trouble in the first set against his fellow left-hander, but he was behind 3-1 in the second, with Flores holding game points for 4-1. But the junior from Mexico didn't win them, and Levine faced little resistance after that.

There will be no Bulldog vs. Bulldog confrontation either, as the third Georgia player in the Round of 16, Travis Helgeson (9), fell to second seed Somdev Devvarman of Virginia 6-1, 6-2. Mindful of his first round match against Sheeva Parbhu of Notre Dame, when he held a big second set lead and ended up needing a third set tiebreak to win, Devvarman didn't ease up, continuing to pressure the left-handed junior from Kansas until he had won the last point.

Devvarman will meet No. 6 seed Arnau Brugues of Tulsa, who defeated Andre Begemann (9) of Pepperdine 7-6 (4), 6-4. It was a fascinating matchup of contrasting styles, as Begemann, aware that he could not outsteady the Spanish left-hander, served and volleyed relentlessly. Begemann was passed in a variety of ways, but Brugues couldn't dishearten him, at least not until the last few points, when Brugues tracked down some very competent volleys and overheads and hit winners when he got there.

The other quarterfinal in the lower half will feature No. 8 Luigi D'Agord of Miami against No. 4 Kevin Anderson of Illinois. Anderson got past a very pesky Greg Ouellette of Florida 6-3, 7-6 (3), while D'Agord hit winner after winner against unseeded Bryan Koniecko of Ohio State in a 6-2, 6-3 victory.

Koniecko's teammate, Steven Moneke, the No. 5 seed, salvaged a split in the day's second Ohio State vs. Miami contest, defeating unseeded Hurricane Daniel Vallverdu 7-5, 6-3 to earn his shot at Isner. Slovic and Levine make up the fourth pairing in Saturday's quarterfinals.

The doubles quarterfinalists are set with seven of eight men's seeds advancing Friday. Only Miami's Josh Cohen and D'Agord (5) failed to move on, losing to the Ole Miss team of Eric Claesson and Erling Tveit 6-3, 7-5.

There were several upsets in women's opening round play Thursday, but on Friday the only seeded team to fall was Cal's Susie Babos and Zsuzsanna Fodor(5), who went out to Notre Dame's Catrina and Christian Thompson 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.

For complete results, see georgiadogs.com


Austin said...

John Isner or Jessie Levine would have played through the pain of a back injury, especially when they played through it for the previous few days. I guess that's the difference between foreign and American. Our guys get the wildcard in the Open for winning NCAA's while they no longer give it to non-americans. Also, we grew up with the NCAA while it doesn't have the same meaning for people overseas. He had school last year too, but chose to play the singles tournament, so that's not a viable excuse.

People are expecting Levine to roll over Slovic today because Alex was the sixth alternate, but just remember that Slovic and Skupski are the only two guys in the field that made the singles draw all four years of college. I think it'll go three sets, but Levine's superior talent will probably prevail.

Anonymous said...

Slovic ends Levine's perfect season. Levine was inconsistent, Slovic hit a lot of winners, kept the ball in play and waited for Levine to make mistakes. Levine was getting very frustrated. The seedings say this was an upset, but Slovic was the better player today.

Anonymous said...

he may have been the better player today but it is an upset because Levine ahs been 2 times the players Slovic is this year.

Austin said...

Devvarman is playing unreal.