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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Southern Cal Blanks Top Seed Virginia; Texas Bounces Two-Time Defending Champion Georgia in NCAA Division I Men's Quarterfinals


©Colette Lewis 2009--
College Station TX--

The rains of Saturday gave way to cool and windy conditions Sunday, and it was the underdogs who prospered at the George Mitchell Tennis Center at Texas A & M. Southern California ended top seeded Virginia's perfect season by a score of 4-0, while No. 12 Texas ended Georgia's NCAA match winning streak at 15 with a 4-2 win.

Eighth-seeded Southern California, leading Virginia 1-0 when play was halted Saturday, lost no momentum despite the long delay, and took four of the six first sets in singles. Robert Farah got his team a very quick 2-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Virginia's Dominic Inglot, and at No. 2 Steve Johnson made it 3-0 with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Virginia's Sanam Singh.

"You can't say this to the team, but you've got 1-0 and you really want someone to step up to make it 2-0," said USC head coach Peter Smith. "Robert did that, and that's huge for us. Everyone sees the score, and it's just a train going down the tracks, going faster and faster, and the faster it goes the harder it is to stop. That was big for Robert to get off the court, 3 and 1."

On court No. 4 USC senior Abdullah Magdas was able to slow the train down a bit; after losing the first set to Houston Barrick, Magdas took the second 6-2 and then built a 5-1 lead in the third. He didn't win a point serving for the match however, and his thoughts went back to the dual match against Texas A & M where, on the very same court, he had led 5-1 in the final match on, only to lose it.

"That was obviously a little bit in my head," said Magdas. "I missed two forehands (then) that I'm still having flashbacks on, and obviously that match hurt me a little bit today, but I managed to somehow pull it out at 5-3."

At 40-15, Magdas missed long, and on his second chance to finish, netted an easy volley, seemingly surprised that Barrick got his approach back. But an effective first serve produced a return error from Barrick to give him his third chance, and he took it.

"It wasn't easy; Houston is a good player," said Magdas. "There's a lot of things, I'm thinking about, thinking about the team more than playing for myself right, since this is potentially my last match every dual."

Coach Brian Boland of Virginia complimented USC's effort and play, but he was very subdued in the media center.

"No excuses, they played better; they were the better team today," said Boland, whose undefeated team last year had their streak snapped by Georgia in the NCAA semifinals. "But it's really, really disappointing that we're sitting here again in a similar situation, but that's sports."


In the other quarterfinal between Georgia and Texas, the Longhorns overcame the loss of the doubles point on Saturday, and won four of the five singles that finished to beat the two-time defending national champion Bulldogs 4-2.

It was Olivier Sajous, playing in his first NCAA tournament as a transfer from Florida Atlantic, who clinched it with a 7-6(6), 7-6(4) win on court No. 4 over Josh Varela. The Longhorns had taken a 2-1 lead with the oft-injured Miguel Reyes Varela taking an easy 6-2, 6-1 point from Borja Malo at No. 6, while at No. 5, Josh Zavala took out Christian Vitulli 6-4, 6-1. At No. 1 singles, Texas's Dimitar Kutrovsky made it 3-1 for his team with a 6-4, 7-6(2) win over Nate Schnugg, but Georgia couldn't be counted out just yet.

Although Sajous was up a set at 4, he was down 3-0 in the second, and Georgia's Garrapiz was in control over Ed Corrie at No. 2. Jamie Hunt of Georgia had pulled even at 5-5 in his contest with longtime friend Kellen Damico at No. 2, and with the first set in hand, it looked as if he might might yet win in straights. Garrapiz did make it 3-2, but Hunt was broken serving at 5-6, and all eyes went to court 4.

Sajous won four straight games but was broken serving at 4-3 on an overrule on the near sideline with the score 30-40. Ironically, at 4-3 in the ensuing tiebreaker, it was an overrule in the very same spot against Varela, who had been overruled twice already, and the penalty point put Sajous at 6-3, three match points. Varela hit a forehand winner to save one, but on the next his backhand went wide, and the Longhorns were once again in the Final Four.

"To beat Georgia in the NCAA championships is quite a deal for us," said Texas coach Michael Center. "They've won back-to-back national championships, they beat us last year in the finals, and they've got a great program...so to knock them out here was quite an accomplishment....but I though our guys were just awesome today."

Center thought getting their three points relatively quickly was key for his team.

"We really started to put pressure on them, and when Kellen got that split, we really had them in the corner. But having them in the corner doesn't guarantee a victory, you've really got to get that last point, and hats off to Ollie for doing it."

Sajous was determined not to get on an emotional rollercoaster, which Center mentioned as something his player was prone to.

"I was thinking not to think about my mistakes," said Sajous. "Move on, try to stay positive. It's a gentlemen's game, not show negative emotion. That's what happened to my opponent in the tiebreak in the second set. I try not to do that."

For Georgia coach Manny Diaz, there wasn't a great deal of explanation necessary.

"Texas just played a great match today," said Diaz. "We had a lot of momentum after the doubles point yesterday, and after the rain delay, it was kind of a separate match. But honestly, we just got outplayed today."

For complete scores, see the aggieathletics website.

19 comments:

Go UVA said...

Disappointing to see UVA crushed like that. It shows they were only an indoor team and Boland has yet to find a way to make his teams better as the year progresses. That is 2 years in a row going in undefeated only to blow it. Maybe next time?

socalfan said...

Congratulations to USC for taking down # 1 seed Virginia 4-0 . What a monumental tasks but they came through . A testament to great coaching, perseverance and great team supports . Goodluck and keep it going!

Fight On!

ncaafan said...

For Go UVA:

That is very unfair to say UVA is only an indoor team and that Boland has yet to find a way to make his team better. Last year they should of won NCAAs but this year it was amazing how succesful their team was.

They won plenty of matches outside, so just because they do not win NCAAs does not make them an indoor only team. An indoor only team would lose more than one match outside over the course of the year especially in the ACC.

They lost their 1, 2 and 6 player (6 player didn't lose a dual match all year) and still they managed to be that succesful with freshman only coming in at 5 and 6. That proves that the players got better. UVA lost to a good So Cal team, maybe next year they will beat a good team in the quarters but that remains to be seen. But it is unfair to say they blew it or to criticize Boland who is Tiley-esque in how he brought the UVA program from not much to national dominance.

Austin said...

Whoever the Ole Miss guy waving the German flag whenever they win a point is needs to put it down, im not sure why nationality is being brought into this match. If you are going to wave any flag it should be the Ole Miss flag.

Also, the Ole Miss guy leaning over the railing telling Meister to "suck it" and "suck on that" when he loses a point directly to him should grow up. We can all hear you.

loyaltohoos said...

UVA has nothing to be ashamed of. They just got beat by a better team today . They had a great season . They will be back next year .

Trojanhorse said...

I agree with UVA guy. Virginia did not win any really good matches outdoors and they only seem to recruit indoor players. Inglot and Barrick and Courtney are good examples. They had a good year but when the going gets tough they faded again. They seem to lack the belief at the end. Todays match was not even close. Just shows how weak the ACC is. Pac 10 domination. SC-UCLA final?

Tennis freak said...

Loyal Hoos fan should think about what he says. They were absolutely smashed today by the # 8 team in the nation. This was the undefeated #1 team in the nation not even in the match. Really strange how this happens. They should not be ashamed and they did have a good year. What makes a champion however is rising to the biggest occasions. They have never done this and will be judged accordingly.

ncaafan said...

They only recruit indoor players?? What about Singh and Shabaz currently, their recruiting class coming in for the future and their past players like Somdev and Doug Stewart. That makes no sense saying they only recruit indoor players. Rising to the biggest occasion and judged accordingly? Well not that many teams have won an NCAA championship so I guess in your opinion all programs historically speaking should be judged in your degrading manner the same way except for UGA, USC, UCLA, Stanford, and I wonder if teams like Illinois and Pepperdine winning it once is good enough for you?

Boland has taken UVA from nothing to a top ten program in I think 7 years now, which is remarkable. It would be nice if they could of won last year or this year but they have nothing to be ashamed of or think about changing. Its not like USC two or three years losing every 4-3 match and not even make the tournament. That is unacceptable and obviously they have rebounded from it. UVA will continue to be good and most likely win one eventually, but a lot of these comments are just unfair. You can say that they should be disapointed and did not step up and play their very best, but you cannot say they are only indoor players, or they blew it, or the ACC is not good.

loyaltohoos said...

Jenkins and co is coming to help UVA next year . So it could be the year they win it .

Aggieland Al said...

I can't believe that I haven't heard anyone complain about the referees in this tournament. I have seen more missed line calls then ever before. Sure, I realize that this is a hardcourt tournament, not clay, but when the marks are clear, they need to swallow their pride and make the right call. And how many times have I heard them say, "I couldn't see it". Isn't that what they are paid to do. I believe all chairs should be required to take an eye exam in order to be certified. Things will only get worse. Anyone agree?

New_AR_Hacker said...

Aggie:

Obviously you like to just spout off but Officials are required to get Eye Exams on a Bi-Annual Basis, but better yet please go through training, working a large number of tournaments and matches to get into a chair at the NCAA's and lets see how you do with Coaches just chomping at the bit to have something to complain about.
An official will not overrule a call unless they are 100% sure.

ncaas2009 said...

The point is that they SHOULD be 100% sure more often instead of just coping out and saying "I didn't see it" almost every time. Nobody is hitting the ball so hard that you can't see it if it's near the line.

CharlestonSC said...

The criticism of Boland is unfair IMO. They have won more and lost fewer matches over the past 2 years than any other team in the country and they play in the 2nd or 3rd hardest league. They have also scheduled Baylor and Texas both years in addition to the National Indoor draw. Over the past 2 years they have also won 2 of the 4 team championships - with UGA already out that means that no other team will have more than 1/4.

With regard to indoor players... Yes, Inglot is clearly a much better indoor player than outdoor but he's really the only one with a significant difference. Sure, Courtney's big serve is more effective indoors, but last time I checked they still serve the ball to start points outdoors too. He's got a decent all court game and will be playing #6 next year (where he was undefeated this year indoors AND outdoors).

And to say they exclusively recruit indoor players is ridiculous. Their 2 biggest commitments next year - Jenkins and Uriguen, both of whom will play top 4 in my opinion, are both better outdoor players. Not only that but Singh and Shabaz are both excellent outdoor players...

UVA choked last year - no doubt they had the best line-up in 08. When you have the #1 doubles team in the country, an automatic win at #1 and #6 singles, and the line-up they had last year in between you shouldn't lose to anyone... but the dry Tulsa heat got to them and I think 3 different players cramped last year against UGA (they all lost). It's tough to prepare for that when you practice in Charlottesville, VA. Boland, to his credit, realized a problem and they came out to College Station a few days early to try to adjust but they simply didn't have the horses this year. I think if UVA and USC play 10 times neither team would win more than 6 matches but it only matters what happens in the one match in this case. As a UVA fan, I won't be sad to see the tournament move out of the Southwest - that's for sure!

Good luck to the Trojans the rest of the way, they deserved the win today.

Luckily, it looks like UVA will be favored again next year with Uriguen and Jenkins after only losing Inglot. Any other contending teams have any bigtime (will play top 3 or 4) commitments that I'm not aware of?

Austin said...

Did anyone really think UVA was the "best" team this year? I didnt. Their #1 guy is almost always the underdog against top teams, that doesnt help. In case you think im saying this after the fact, check my predictions.

iluvtennis said...

This is my first comment on this web site and I'm going to start by saying this is a great site, wonderful coverage and really good insight.
I am from Richmond, VA and have ties to Virginia athletics. I have to say that those are some incredibly ignorant comments that lack research and credibility. First off, let's start with the final ranking of Virginia over the last 5 years, it would be: 2005, 5, 2006, 8, 2007, 2, 2008, 2, 2009, (2,3, or 4). Is there another team with better consistent finishes over the last five year?
Let's put this in perspective, if you were to coach at a University and your job was to win a National Title which school would you coach at? UCLA, Florida, Georgia, Stanford, Texas, USC.....ok, you are open minded, Duke, Miami, Tennessee, California, Pepperdine, Florida State? Yup, Virginia doesn't even come to mind does it? (Either does Ohio State, Baylor or Mississippi, and those coaches are doing great jobs).
So you say Boland does not make his players better huh? Ponder this: Last year Virginia lost Devvarman, Huey, and Angelinos, #1, #2, and #6.....#1 and #6 were undefeated all year and #2 was pretty darn good. In addition, Virginia lost Milos Raonic who turned pro right before school started (current ATP 790 singles, 474 doubles)and played the whole year on 3.6 scholarships. Is there another team in the top 50 only using 3.6?
Do the players get better?
Inglot played 3 last year and was 7-8 in dual matches, this year he played 1 and was 16-9, Singh played 4 last year and was 25-5, this year he played 2 and was 27-3, Shabaz played 5 last year and was 17-7, this year he played 3 and was 23-3, Barrick played 7 last year and this year moved up to 4 and was 24-3, Courtney played 5 this year and was not even a top 10 recruit, his record on the year is 26-2, perhaps the most improved freshman in the country, Singer was 8 last year and this was 6, his record is 16-3.
Bottom line, if you are a junior and you are looking to go to school and you want to get better at tennis, go to VIRGINIA....results do not lie!
So to summarize, Virginia is not a top 10 tennis school, played on 3.6 scholarships this year, lost maybe the best player in college tennis history and maybe the best freshman in the country as well as the 2 other great players, and was undefeated going into NCAA's seeded #1......over achievement!
Ok, I'm biased, but there is not doubt in my mind the Virginia coaches did the best job of any program in the country this year!

On a side note I think USC will win tomorrow, doubles, Farah, Magdas (if Allare plays), and one other, just not sure where

iluvtennis said...

This is my first comment on this web site and I'm going to start by saying this is a great site, wonderful coverage and really good insight.
I am from Richmond, VA and have ties to Virginia athletics. I have to say that those are some incredibly ignorant comments that lack research and credibility. First off, let's start with the final ranking of Virginia over the last 5 years, it would be: 2005, 5, 2006, 8, 2007, 2, 2008, 2, 2009, (2,3, or 4). Is there another team with better consistent finishes over the last five year?
Let's put this in perspective, if you were to coach at a University and your job was to win a National Title which school would you coach at? UCLA, Florida, Georgia, Stanford, Texas, USC.....ok, you are open minded, Duke, Miami, Tennessee, California, Pepperdine, Florida State? Yup, Virginia doesn't even come to mind does it? (Either does Ohio State, Baylor or Mississippi, and those coaches are doing great jobs).
So you say Boland does not make his players better huh? Ponder this: Last year Virginia lost Devvarman, Huey, and Angelinos, #1, #2, and #6.....#1 and #6 were undefeated all year and #2 was pretty darn good. In addition, Virginia lost Milos Raonic who turned pro right before school started (current ATP 790 singles, 474 doubles)and played the whole year on 3.6 scholarships. Is there another team in the top 50 only using 3.6?
Do the players get better?
Inglot played 3 last year and was 7-8 in dual matches, this year he played 1 and was 16-9, Singh played 4 last year and was 25-5, this year he played 2 and was 27-3, Shabaz played 5 last year and was 17-7, this year he played 3 and was 23-3, Barrick played 7 last year and this year moved up to 4 and was 24-3, Courtney played 5 this year and was not even a top 10 recruit, his record on the year is 26-2, perhaps the most improved freshman in the country, Singer was 8 last year and this was 6, his record is 16-3.
Bottom line, if you are a junior and you are looking to go to school and you want to get better at tennis, go to VIRGINIA....results do not lie!
So to summarize, Virginia is not a top 10 tennis school, played on 3.6 scholarships this year, lost maybe the best player in college tennis history and maybe the best freshman in the country as well as the 2 other great players, and was undefeated going into NCAA's seeded #1......over achievement!
Ok, I'm biased, but there is not doubt in my mind the Virginia coaches did the best job of any program in the country this year!

On a side note I think USC will win tomorrow, doubles, Farah, Magdas (if Allare plays), and one other, just not sure where

Stephen said...

iluvtennis -- I agree with much of what you say, but your knowledge of college tennis history must be lacking for you to even suggest that Devvarman may be "the best player in college tennis history."

Have you ever heard of Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Stan Smith, John McEnroe, or Mikael Pernfors?

And if you're going to judge strictly by college career, then there were many players who won multiple singles titles (Francisco Segura won three in a row) and also won doubles titles and/or led their teams to championships.

Joe said...

Yeah, UVA got a great draw in the indoors, beat UCLA and then beat an inferior Tenn and UGA to win this year. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for them. Indoor title and NCAA Elite 8 is not bad for rebuilding. Honestly, next year they have so many guys that I'd suspect Boland will have an indoor top 6 and outdoor top 6 that are not all that similar other than the top. Big servers like Courtney in the fall, smaller south american guys in the spring like Uriguen and the other south american player who redshirted this year. That 3.6 number is amazing, I guess shabaz and courtney don't need much money as they are VA in-state. Good work in-state tuition freeze, I benefitted from that!

Regarding Devvarman, people dropping names like Connors, Ashe etc. is true, but annoying. Can we agree that he's the most dominant player in NCAA in the last, say, 20 years? Who knows if that will translate to the pros, though he's doing reasonably well had an ATP final earlier this year.

Regarding today, I think if Allare can walk, they'll throw him in as a place holder. i'd say USC wins the doubles, but OSU wins 2,3 and 6quickly with 5 closing out. 1 DNF and 4, if Allare can walk, I'd say he finishes ahead of #5. So if he can play that's 4-1 Bucks, if he can't, maybe 4-2.

Stephen said...

Joe,

There is a big difference between best ever and best in the last 20 years. The poster said, "best in college tenis history." And McEnroe was only about 30 years ago; that's not exactly ancient history.

If we go by last 20 years, you could make an argument for Matias Boeker, who won two singles titles, a doubles title, and a team title. I think Bob Bryan could also be in the discussion (singles title, doubles title, two team titles).