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Friday, November 2, 2007

Freshmen Make Impact at ITA Indoor

©Colette Lewis 2007--
Columbus OH--

The semifinalists at the 2007 ITA Indoor include three freshmen and Duke's Ellah Nze, Baylor's Taylor Ormond and Stanford's Alex Clayton proved they belonged among college tennis's elite with impressive peformances during Friday's two rounds of singles at the Racquet Club of Columbus.

For her part, Nze defeated former NCAA champions back-to-back. In the second round, the unseeded right-hander from Florida outlasted No. 5 seed and 2005 NCAA champion Zuzana Zemenova of Baylor 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 and followed that with a 6-2, 6-2 romp over 2006 NCAA champion and No. 2 seed Susie Babos of Cal in the quarterfinals.

Ormond, from Hamilton, Ontario, couldn't match that accomplishment, but she did eliminate two seeds. No. 3 Melanie Gloria of Fresno State was the first to fall, 6-2, 7-6 (4), and in Friday evening's quarterfinal, Ormond eliminated No. 7 seed Amanda McDowell of Georgia Tech 6-4, 3-6, 6-0. In Saturday's semifinal, Ormond will meet Aurelija Miseviciute of Arkansas, who upset top seed Megan Falcon of LSU 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

Nze gets the lone seeded woman in the draw, No. 4 Ani Mijacika of Clemson, who fought back to eliminate No. 6 seed Kristi Miller of Georgia Tech 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, in a quarterfinal contest that finished after 9 p.m. Miller was up a break at 4-3, but Mijacika, a finalist at the Riveria All-American last month, won four of the next five games to advance.

Clayton, who had already announced his arrival as a force in the men's game when he reached the quarterfinals at the Polo All-American, has dominated in his first three matches at the Indoor. In the second round Friday afternoon, the Floridian dispatched unseeded Bassam Beidas of Pepperdine 6-2, 6-4; in the evening quarterfinal against No. 4 seed Greg Ouellette of Florida, he displayed the poise and acumen of a much more experienced player in his 6-3, 6-4 victory. Like Nze, Clayton gets the remaining seed on the men's side, No. 1 Somdev Devvarman of Virginia, who also has not lost a set in the tournament. Devvarman defeated Dalibor Pavic of Drake in the quarterfinal 6-4, 6-3.

The bottom half's semifinal will feature Ryan Rowe of Illinois and Adam Holmstrom of Denver. Rowe started slowly in each of his matches on Friday, but came through against Albert Larregola of Virginia Tech 6-7, 6-2, 6-2 and Daniel Vallverdu of Miami 7-5, 6-4. Holmstrom, who defeated No. 2 seed Travis Helgeson of Georgia in the first round on Thursday, earned two straight set wins on Friday over Richard Wire of Stanford and Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State.

For complete results, including consolation and doubles draws, see itatennis.com.

For additional coverage, see collegeandjuniortennis.com