©Colette Lewis 2008--
When yet another gorgeous day began Friday morning, there were still 16 men and 16 women with hopes of winning a National Championship at the ITA Indoor. When the competition ended this evening at 9:30 p.m., there were only four men and four women with a chance to hold the winners trophy on Sunday.
Ironically, after three years in Columbus, the Indoor tournament moved to Virginia only to place two Buckeyes in the semifinals. Bryan Koniecko, the No. 8 seed was down a set and a break to Sanam Singh of Virginia, the last Cavalier remaining in the main draw, before taking the round of 16 match 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-1 then breezed past No. 1 seed Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. Koniecko's teammate, No. 7 seed Justin Kronauge, whom he had beaten in the regional final, also reached his first National semifinal with wins over Bruno Rosa of Rice and Enrique Olivares of East Tennessee State. There was a chance Kronauge would face teammate Steven Moneke in the semifinals when Moneke advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 victory over No. 2 seed Denes Lukacs of Baylor.
But that match, which started around 4:30 p.m. and lasted nearly two and a half hours, was a physically demanding one, and when Moneke took the court at 8 p.m. against No. 6 seed Arnau Brugues of Tulsa, the legs just weren't there. Brugues, who had rolled over All-American champion Michael Venus of LSU 6-1, 6-2 in 52 minutes earlier in the afternoon, avenged his loss to Moneke in the 2008 NCAA round of 16 in convincing fashion, 6-3, 6-1.
Koniecko's opponent in Saturday's semifinal will be No. 3 seed Daniel Vallverdu of Miami, who stopped No. 5 seed Robert Farah of USC 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-1.
Three of the women's semifinalists have impressive Indoor resumes. No. 1 seed Aurelija Miseviciute of Arkansas, last year's champion, kept her chance for a repeat alive with two straight-set wins. No. 2 seed Ani Mijacika of Clemson, a finalist in 2007, also encountered no difficulty in her two victories, and will take on No. 4 seed and 2007 Indoor consolation winner Maria Mosolova of Northwestern in Saturday's semifinals. Mosolova struggled mightily with Marrit Boonstra of Florida in the round of 16, trailing 5-2 in the final set before reeling off five straight games to post a 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 win. In the quarterfinals against No. 6 seed Fani Chifchieva of Auburn, Mosolova showed no sign of fatigue, cruising to a 6-3, 6-3 win.
The less well-known semifinalist is Nina Munch-Soegaard of TCU, who had upset No. 3 seed Amanda McDowell of Georgia Tech in Thursday's first round and kept her streak going with two more wins on Friday. The junior, a left-hander from Amarillo Texas, defeated Northwestern's Samantha Murry in the round of 16 and USC's Maria Sanchez in the quarterfinals 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.
The doubles semifinalists were decided on Friday morning. Wake Forest's Steve Forman and Cory Parr, the No. 1 seeds, defeated Cal's Geoff Chizever and Pedro Zerbini 8-6 to advance against unseeded All-American finalists Brugues and Phil Stevens of Tulsa. All-American champions Jonas Berg and Bram ten Berge of Ole Miss downed Alexei Chijoff-Evans and Chris Clayton of Harvard 8-2 and will take on unseeded Farah and Steve Johnson of USC. Farah and Johnson eliminated the home team of Houston Barrick and Singh 8-5.
Notre Dame's unseeded pairing of Kristy Frilling and Kelcy Tefft advanced to the semifinals with a shutout of Laila and Nadia Abdala of Arizona State, and will meet TCU's Macall Harkins and Anna Sydorska, the No. 4 seeds, who beat Vanja Corovic and Marija Milic of Texas 8-3. Another shutout was pitched by No. 3 seeds Renata Kucerkova and Anastasia Petukhova of Fresno State who beat North Carolina's Sophie Grabinski and Sanaz Marand. Arkansas's unseeded pairing of Nanar Airapetian and Anouk
Tigu earned the last semifinal spot with an 8-4 win over LSU's Megan Falcon and Mykala Hedberg.
For complete draws, including consolation results, see the ITA tournament website.
Friday, November 7, 2008