©Colette Lewis 2008--
There's always a mixed bag of emotions the day after the team championships finish. Gone are the costume-wearing, face-painted super fans, the TV trucks, the incessant scoreboard watching in an often vain attempt to select the key match.
For those not competing in the team championships, it's a new beginning, with all the excitement and dreams of the opening day of a tournament. But for those who less than 24 hours earlier were giving their all in reaching for the team title, it's a dangerous time.
The champion Georgia Bulldogs definitely showed signs of the championship hangover, as Nate Schnugg, Jamie Hunt and Luis Flores all lost in Wednesday's opening round. Travis Helgeson is now the only Georgia player remaining in the singles draw. Finalist Texas didn't fare any better, as Dimitar Kutrovsky, Kellen Damico and Ed Corrie were also eliminated. Schnugg and Kutrovsky were joined on the sidelines by another 9-16 seed, Dom Inglot of Virginia, who fell to Ohio State's Justin Kronauge in a third set tiebreaker.
The women's champions from UCLA fared better, with Tracy Lin taking out 9-16 seed Georgia Rose of Northwestern; Riza Zalameda, the eighth seed, advanced, along with Andrea Remynse. Yasmin Schnack was the only Bruin to lose. Runnerup Cal suffered several losses in singles, with No. 5 seed Marina Cossou and Christy Visico losing. I didn't see the Susie Babos - Lauren Lui match because I was due at the ITA Hall of Fame induction ceremony which started at the same time, so I can't be sure that Lui won in a third set tiebreaker, but I think she did according to the pdf and an email I received. Babos is showing as the winner on the html version of the results on the Tulsa website. If that's an error, Claire Ilcinkas is the only Bear still alive in the singles.
No. 1 seed Aurelija Miseviciute had a difficult first round match with Jenni Heinser of San Francisco, dropping the first set and needing nearly three hours to complete the 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 win. At 5-2 in the second set, I went to the restroom, stopped to watch a couple of games of the Reka Zsilinszka-Venise Chan match and checked back on the Miseviciute match, only to see it was still 5-2 and deuce. Heinser injured her hand late in the third set, and down 4-2 was unable to play effectively, despite a visit from the trainer.
With Miseviciute surviving, the upset of the day was Kaes Van't Hof's 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 2 seed Greg Ouellette of Florida. I arrived at court 4 with Van't Hof up 5-0 in the second, so I only saw three games, and I guess the only service game he lost, but there was no doubt the USC senior was playing well, and hanging with Ouellette from the backcourt. I asked Van't Hof after the match if he had been doing that throughout the match.
"I was aggressive the whole match," said Van't Hof, who is playing with a new Prince prototype racquet. "I really swung out on my shots; I really didn't think about the consequences of missing, but rather the positives that were going to come from hitting the ball big.
"I had a tough loss here in the quarters of the team (to Holden Seguso), but I've been winning like twenty matches in a row, so I'm feeling good. It's tough when you play a seed, but you know you have nothing to lose, the pressure's on the seed, so that helps a little bit."
I'm not certain if it was pressure that Georgia Tech's Amanda McDowell was feeling, but the No. 7 seed finally managed to get by Amanda Taylor of Vanderbilt 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1. Taylor, who beat McDowell in Vanderbilt's dual win over Georgia Tech in March, had four match points late in the second set, but couldn't finish off the Yellow Jacket sophomore.
I missed some matches this evening, but I'll be at the Michael Case Tennis Center all day on Thursday, until the last match is over.
For complete results, visit the Tulsa website.
For additional coverage of the NCAAs, visit collegeandjuniortennis.com
Wednesday, May 21, 2008