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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Devvarman, Miseviciute Take ITA Indoor Titles

©Colette Lewis 2007--
Columbus OH--

Somdev Devvarman of Virginia added to his collection of national titles with two on Sunday, while Aurelija Miseviciute of Arkansas captured her school's first national singles title at the ITA Indoor Championships at the Racquet Club of Columbus.

Top seed Devvarman, the 2007 NCAA champion, wore down unseeded Ryan Rowe of Illinois 7-6 (2), 6-2 in a classic contrast of styles. Devvarman, at 5-foot-11, uses his quickness and anticipation to control points, while the 6-foot-5 Rowe relies on his huge lefty serve and reliable first volleys to maximize his opportunities indoors. Such a throwback is Rowe that he even occasionally chips and charges when receiving, pressuring his opponent to come up with the pass under pressure.

But Devvarman did withstand the attack and it was the Cavalier senior who did not face a break point during the match. In the first set, which clocked in at well over an hour, Rowe faced four break points, two in his opening service game and two at 5-6, but the senior from Moline fought them off to reach the tiebreaker.

"As the match kept going on, I kept getting better looks on his serve and making him hit more first volleys," said Devvarman. "I think that paid off toward the end. In the breaker I made two good returns (on the only two mini breaks), and that's all I needed in the breaker, because I kept serving well."

When Rowe was broken in the third game of the second set, the match was close to over, given Devvarman's airtight service games. Throughout the course of the tournament he lost his serve only twice, once each in the second round and the quarterfinals.

"He's not known for a big serve or anything," said Rowe, "but he's obviously able to be very effective on his serve. He came up with a couple good shots here and there to get an early break in the second set, and he was able to stay tough. He just played a little better than I did today."

With his win in Saturday's semifinal, Devvarman now owns the Virginia record for most career singles victories, surpassing Brian Vahaly's 126. With an entire dual match season ahead of him, Devvarman will add substantially to his own record, but he recognizes his achievement.

"It feels good," said Devvarman. "I know I'm in good company with the all-time greats at Virginia, (Brian) Vahaly, Huntley (Montgomery), so many great players that have come out of Virginia, and it's just an honor to be there. Hopefully I won't stop right here, I'll keep going throughout the spring season. Right now I'm happy to be with the elite at Virginia."

When the unseeded Miseviciute won her semifinal match on Saturday she was in new territory for an Arkansas woman, but with a tense 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (3) victory over No. 4 seed Ani Mijacika of Clemson, she etched her name in school history as a national champion.

Serving for the match at 5-4 in both the second and third sets, Miseviciute couldn't finish the job, but the composure of the junior from Lithuania didn't waiver. In that tenth game of the second set, she held two match points, but Mijacika denied her, and while the men's match, played on an adjacent court, wrapped up, the women plunged into the the last stanza of their nearly three hour contest.

Although the points were long and the games close, the quality of the play varied, with errors outnumbering winners. Mijacika was especially discouraged by the level of her play.

"I was missing shots that I should make easily," said Mijacika, a sophomore from Croatia. "Plus this is indoors, where the serve is the key, and I didn't have my serve today. She used her chances when she got them, was returning good and had a high percentage of first serves. She was better today."

Miseviciute, who won her 26th match in 27 played this fall, her only loss coming in the quarterfinals of the Riveria All-American to eventual champion Susie Babos, didn't seem rattled when she gave up her chances to serve out the match, despite her admission that nerves played a role.

"In the final, you feel more pressure, and at big points it's harder to stay aggressive," said Miseviciute. "You just want to win so bad."

"In the tiebreaker, I told myself not to think about the score and just play my game, and it worked out really well."

As for her mental and physical condition after prevailing in another three-set match (she won three others over the four-day event), Miseviciute was too happy to have any complaints about fatigue.

"I don't feel it now," she said, "but I'm sure I'll feel it in a little bit. But it's a good feeling; it definitely paid off, all the hard work."

While Miseviciute could savor her win, Devvarman had unfinished business, as he and partner Treat Huey were contesting the men's doubles championship. Although the All-American champions and No. 1 seeds fell behind 4-1 in the first set against the unseeded team of Robert Farah and Kaes Van't Hof of USC, the Cavaliers swept the next five games and ultimately took the match, 6-4, 6-4.

"We played a couple of loose points on my service game in the beginning," said Devvarman, "and that was the difference. But we raised our game a lot, we got a couple of good breaks for us and our energy level went up about ten notches."

One of the highlight-reel points that fed that energy was a Huey half-volley between his legs that the USC pair sent right back to him, only to watch helplessly as he lifted a perfect lob over both of them.

"It just came out," said Huey, when trying to explain the reflex that produced the remarkable shot. "The ball was behind me, so I figured I couldn't really hit a forehand or a backhand, so I had to reach back and hit it somehow."

"That's just talent," said Devvarman, who has spent many hours on the practice courts with Huey. "That's one of the less impressive things you'll see. He's capable of a lot more."

With the doubles championship, Devvarman becomes the first player since Oklahoma State's Pavel Kudrnac in 1998 to sweep both titles at the Indoor, and the fourth overall since the tournament began in 1978.

The Notre Dame pairing of Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft earned that school's first ITA Indoor women's doubles title with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Lenka Broosova and Zuzana Zemenova of Baylor in a battle of unseeded teams.

Buck and Tefft, who won five Supernational level titles at USTA junior events over their ten-year partnership, were excited to take one at the college level, in Buck's senior year.

"I wanted one before I left," said Buck, who, like Tefft, is from Oklahoma. "I can't imagine it being any better--our moms were here--and it's just been great."

Unlike many women's teams, Buck and Tefft are aggressive net-takers, and according to Tefft, that's a necessity for them.

"Most of the girls we're playing hit bigger balls than we do, so it could be deadly if stay back and just bang," said Tefft. "We both like being at the net better."

In the consolation singles finals, the University of Virginia claimed its third trophy of the day, as unseeded Dominic Inglot defeated No. 5 seed Bryan Koniecko of Ohio State 6-1, 6-2, while Maria Mosolova, also unseeded, won the battle of Northwestern Wildcats, taking out teammate and No. 8 seed Georgia Rose 7-6(4), 6-3.

The women's doubles consolation title went to the unseeded North Carolina team of Sophie Grabinski and Sanaz Marand, who were 8-2 winners over Duke's Amanda Granson and Melissa Mang. The men's doubles consolation final was played on Saturday.

For complete draws, visit itatennis.com. For additional ITA Indoor coverage, go to collegeandjuniortennis.com.


Anonymous said...

Florida freshman Alex Lacroix won the Seminole Invitational this weekend beating Chris Clayton in the quarters, Nate Schnugg in the semi, and Jamie Hunt in the final.

I found the short writeup at Gatorzone.com

Gatorboy said...

Miseviciute (not Misceviciute) has played as a professional, has been paid as a professional and, until she was caught, lied repeatedly about doing so. A one year ban was never sufficient and it is an absolute joke that the NCAA give she and Arkansas such a tiny slap on the wrist. She should have been deemed permanently ineligible and Arkansas should have been denied the ability to recruit from overseas for a set period of time.

Austin said...


Anonymous said...

Appalling about Miseviciute. Until the ITA and the NCAA straightens their mess, scholarships funded by American tax dollars and American contributions will continue to go to foreign players without any restrictions. Put that to a public alumni vote and see what you get.

5.0 Player said...

Anonymous said...
"Appalling about Miseviciute. Until the ITA and the NCAA straightens their mess, scholarships funded by American tax dollars and American contributions will continue to go to foreign players without any restrictions."

I totally agree. However, is there ANY indication that the ITA, NCAA or USTA have ANY intention of doing anything about this disgrace? The last thing I saw on the USTA website was a statement written by the USTA stating that they don't intend to do anything about it because they are concerned that such a policy might be deemed "discriminatory."

This is a total sham because even any casual observer of constitutional law or the history of this nation knows that resticting the number of scholarships to foreign players is not illegal discrimination. Such a restriction would NOT be treating anyone differently due to his/her race, ethnicity or national origin. It is COMPLETELY legal to treat non-residents and non citizens differently from residents and citizens. In fact, as many on this board have repeatedly pointed out, such different treatment takes place every day by state universities who require non state residents (who are actually U.S. citizens) to pay more for tuition or require non state residents to meet higher academic standards of admission.

Anonymous said...

I'm not taking either side, but a fact that most don't know is that most athletic scholarships at state universities are fundraised or donated. They don't come from the university nor student athletic fees.

To 5.0 player, yes it would be treating someone different because of their national origin. I'm not so sure that your info is coming straight from constitutional law case briefs and interpretations, but... what do I know.

5.0 Player said...

"Anonymous said...
I'm not taking either side...
To 5.0 player, yes it would be treating someone different because of their national origin. I'm not so sure that your info is coming straight from constitutional law case briefs and interpretations, but... what do I know."

Yes, I agree that you don't know much. This is not national origin, it is citizenship or residency. If it were "national ORIGIN" then it wouldn't matter whether the person
presently lives in this country or whether the person is presently a U.S. citizen. In other words, if a kid IS a U.S. citizen, but was merely born in a different country and lived there before he moved here and became a citizen and the NCAA treated him differently, then THAT is illegal discrimination based upon national origin. He is being unlawfully discriminated against because of where he originated from, not based upon his current status as a citizen.

However, if a player is born, raised and resides in a foreign country and is a citizen of that country and not a U.S citizen, then it is legal to treat that person differently from a U.S. citizen.

If we didn't have these rules, then we would be forced to allow all illegal aliens into our country and give them all the same rights of U.S. citizens.

And, yes, I did go to law school.

Anonymous said...

You are still treating someone different because of their national origin. In your words, you said this would not be the case. You later talk of citizen vs. non-citizen. Each university must ask the question, do we want to (legally or illegally, since we know that law is this country is not cut and dry) discriminate against people from other countries. Some things come down to ethics and not constitutional law.

Why is an American tennis player inherently better (or deserving of more opportunities) than an international player? Especially considering that most and usually all of the money in the athletic departments is not coming from state or federal taxes.

Do Nike and Adidas (big funders of athletic depts) care about the university winning national titles or using American players?

If you want things to change, convince them to not donate money to programs with a lot of internationals. Convince the big programs that they shouldn't stockpile American recruits. Convince 17 year old kids that it's better to play 3 for a top 75 school than sit the bench at Georgia for 4 years. Tell the coach with a $500 recruiting budget to recruit Americans. (there are many with this type of budget) Good luck with that.

I believe if a required fee to students or state/federal taxpayers dollars are mainly funding an athletic program, there should be limitations on internationals imposed by the Athletic Directors (coming from their conscience). However, this occurs only in the very small state university that already have trouble competing with big schools. If you limit their talent pool more, you might as well go D-3 for tennis.

Maybe there can be a I-AA for tennis where schools voluntary become members and agree to only have a certain # of non-citizens.

5.0 Player said...

Anonymous said: "Especially considering that most and usually all of the money in the athletic departments is not coming from state or federal taxes...."

You are using an old debating trick called "false premise." If this indeed were completely true, then perhaps you would have one decent point, but this is not a documented fact. First of all, if not always directly, the money certainly comes indirectly from tax payer money. All state universities and many private colleges are funded with state or federal money. Just because the athletic departments OF THOSE SCHOOLS then raise additional revenue by football ticket sales, etc. after their facilities, etc. are paid for by public institutions, that does not mean that tax payer money is not a huge part of why those universities even exist and have an athletic department which is in a position to raise the money.

Furthermore, some people on this board, including this anonymous are losing sight of a very important distinction. U.S. college tennis is NOT an international organization. It is a U.S. organization that shouldn't be responsible for educating and training the rest of the world at the expense of U.S. citizens and taking away those opportunities from U.S. citizens. If this were an international college organization that happened to be based in the U.S., then that would be one thing. But it is not. Other countries outside the U.S. are not allowing U.S. athletes to compete at their colleges.

Under your logic, why doesn't the USTA decide to fund and train and educate junior players from every country in the world outside the US and give no preference to the U.S. players? Under your argument they should do this because otherwise we would be discriminating against players from other countries and "that wouldn't be nice." I don't see Tennis Australia or the Spanish Tennis Federation training U.S. players for free because they want to be nice to their competition. They wouldn't be as stupid and gullible as the NCAA has been with regard to US college tennis.

The other point is that it's not like there are just a few foreign players sprinkled here and there on every team adding some diversity. To the contrary, they are DOMINATING US college tennis where some top teams like Baylor and the University of San Diego, Pepperdine, etc. often have ZERO U.S. players on their roster. In fact, many of these top teams are actually EXCLUDING U.S. players when they have virtually none in their roster. How ironic that people like this anonymous are concerned about excluding foreign players when it is the AMERICAN PLAYERS WHO ARE GETTING EXCLUDED and never the foreign players. It's a omplete joke and these schools should be embarassed to have these almost entirely foreign rosters.

Anonymous said...

Name a major university besides Vanderbilt that has an athletic department that is not its own corporation? I guess asking questions is a debating technique they teach you to combat in law school too.

The USTA is a C301 (or whatever) non-profit. I don't believe much of there revenue comes from taxes. Mostly membership and US Open Tournament revenue. They could do what they want. Would it be right to train internationals? That's a different question. What do you consider an international? Is a legal resident without a passport international? The USTA trains some of them. You can access the USTA's financial records if you are that passionate.

Spanish Federation probably gets money from taxes. I know the French Federation does. I would be against them training internationals if I was a tax paying citizen there funding a huge chunk of the federation.

Anonymous said...

That last anonymous post was an interesting discussion of tangential but irrelevant facts.

If that was supposed to be a slam on 5.0 player's last comment then you misfired and will need to re-load and try again.

Anonymous said...

how much prize money does the usta give to foreign players on the usta circuit, us open, etc? also how much per diem does the usta give in its itf to non-Americans? the usta is giving a large chunck of change to events that greatly benefit players from outside the u.s.