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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tennis Today, Speeches Tonight

©Colette Lewis 2009--
College Station, TX--

The first day of individual singles is always a strange one at the NCAA tournament. There's excitement, of course, especially for those who weren't involved in the team tournament, but those of us who watched the team finals are understandably a bit groggy.

Tonight I'm attending the ITA Collegiate Hall of Fame ceremony, to witness Nats at the Zoo colleague and friend Brian Garman's induction, so I won't be able to stay for the late matches this evening, to see how the Duke women handle the challenge of getting right back on the courts less than 24 hours after collecting their National Championship trophy, and how the Cal women deal with the disappointment of losing in the final again. So far the Ohio State men have done well today, with Buckeye Steven Moneke (9-16) defeating ITA Freshman of the Year Bradley Klahn of Stanford in two tiebreak sets and OSU's Bryan Koniecko (3) beating freshman Carlos Cueto of Florida 6-3, 6-2, although Justin Kronauge fell to Dean Jackson of San Diego 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
USC split their singles matches Wednesday with Trojan Steve Johnson defeating Kalle Norberg of Ole Miss 6-3, 7-6 and tournament MVP Robert Farah losing to Rice's Bruno Rosa 7-5, 7-6(6).

There have been a couple of Top Eight seeds falling today, with Arizona's Natasha Marks taking out No. 6 seed Fani Chifchieva of Auburn 6-4, 6-4. Marks, a freshman from England, was surprised to learn that her opponent had reached the semifinals in last year's individual tournament.

"Because I'm a freshman, I didn't really know many of these girls, so I'm just going in playing tennis and seeing where it gets me, just going out and playing," said Marks, who reached the final of the PAC-10 individual tournament in Ojai unseeded, and drew confidence from that.

"I think I beat two girls from Cal who were very good, and I played a good match against (USC's Amanda) Fink in the final, she's a great player."

Another surprise today was the loss by No. 4 seed Denes Lukacs of Baylor to Diego Cubas of South Carolina 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. I saw only points here and there, but Lukacs had trouble ending points against Cubas, who played defense well and hit out when he had the opportunity.

For complete scores, see the aggieathletics website.

And if you're not watching the Twitter feed, you are missing some scoops. John Isner has mono and is out of the French Open; USC men's assistant Brett Masi has accepted the head coaching job at University of San Diego.