©Colette Lewis 2008--
It's not unusual for qualifiers to make breakthroughs at the All-American, the season's first major Division I tournament. Last year three of them, including finalist Robert Farah of Southern California, reached the quarterfinals in Tulsa; this year there is only one, Michael Shabaz of Virginia, who put on another impressive performance Friday, blitzing No. 14 seed Bruno Rosa of Rice 6-0, 6-4.
"I started off quick today, which helped me," said Shabaz, a sophomore. "Especially since I've been through qualies and played a lot of matches, I just wanted to get off to a good start."
Shabaz's 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 2 seed Denes Lukacs of Baylor in the second round of singles on Thursday demonstrated the quality of his tennis game and he continued to hit lines and return well against Rosa. Virginia head coach Brian Boland was among those impressed with his level of play.
"When I came off the court he (Boland) said the first set I played against Rosa was one of the best sets I've played," Shabaz said. "I felt like both sets yesterday (against Lukacs) were just as good, and it just carried over."
Shabaz is in the bottom half of the draw, which has four unseeded players battling each other in the quarterfinals. Shabaz will meet Enrique Olivares of East Tennessee State, who put an end to the run of lucky loser Clint Bowles 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-3. Michael Venus of LSU upset No. 4 seed Alex Clayton of Stanford 6-4, 6-1 and will face Blake Strode of Arkansas, who downed No. 6 seed and 2006 All-American champion Arnau Brugues of Tulsa 6-3, 6-2. In addition to reaching the quarterfinals of this major, those four players have earned spots in the ITA Indoor next month at the University of Virginia.
In contrast, the top half of the draw has four seeded players, including No. 1 Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State, who beat Brett Helgeson of Notre Dame 6-2, 6-2. Nedovyesov's opponent in the quarterfinals will be No. 16 seed Conor Pollock of Texas A & M, who defeated No. 8 seed Justin Kronauge of Ohio State 6-3, 7-6(3). Pollock's serve has been a major weapon for him this week and it continued to get him out of most difficult spots against the tenacious Buckeye.
Kronauge's teammate Steven Moneke, the No. 11 seed, took out qualifier Rudolph Siwy of Fresno State 6-0, 7-5 to set up a contest with USC's Farah, the No. 5 seed. Farah defeated No. 13 seed Jean-Yves Aubone of Florida State 6-3, 7-5.
The four doubles teams remaining are all unseeded, with seven of the eight seeded teams losing in the second round and quarterfinals on Friday afternoon.
Clay Donato and Taylor Fogleman of North Carolina took out the top seeded team of Carl Sundberg and Daniel Vallverdu of Miami 8-6 in the second round and came from a break down to ease past Farah and Steve Johnson of USC 8-5 in the quarterfinals. The Tar Heels will take on hometown favorites Brugues and Phil Stevens of Tulsa after the Golden Hurricanes downed No. 8 seeds Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg of Georgia in the second round 8-5, and Moneke and Balazs Novak of Ohio State 8-6 in the quarterfinals.
Ole Miss's Jonas Berg and Bram ten Berge won three matches on Friday to reach the semifinals, beating two seeded teams. Because Berg's match with Clayton went so late Thursday night, their first round doubles match was held over until Friday morning. After beating New Mexico State's Eduardo Salas and Roman Stoisavljevic 8-4, Berg and ten Berge defeated Bryan Koniecko and Kronauge of Ohio State by the same score and No. 4 seeds Austin Krajicek and Pollock of Texas A & M 8-5. The Rebels' opponents in the semifinals will be unseeded Raony Carvalho and Christian Rojmar of Texas Tech, who ousted No. 2 seeds Steve Forman and Cory Parr of Wake Forest 8-5 in the second round and Jason Jung and Mike Sroczynski of Michigan 8-4 in the quarterfinals.
For complete results, including consolation draws, visit the ITA's tournament page.
Friday, October 10, 2008