©Colette Lewis 2009--
Two seeds, a qualifier, a wild card and four others survived a challenging day at the D'Novo ITA All-American to reach Saturday's quarterfinals.
Wet courts and temperatures in the upper 40s are not the best way to start the second day of a major collegiate tournament, but with the help of the six indoor courts at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center, one round of doubles and two rounds of singles were completed, all before 8 p.m. Friday evening.
Qualifier Eric Quigley, who had upset top seed Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State Thursday, kept it going on Friday, winning five straight games in the second set to take a 6-2, 7-5 decision from Baylor's Jordan Rux in his first match, then rolling past No. 9 seed Sanam Singh of Virginia 6-1, 6-3 in the third round evening match. His opponent in the quarterfinals is unseeded Andrei Daescu of Oklahoma, who beat Georgia's Jamie Hunt and Texas Tech's Raony Carvalho to earn his spot.
Alex Lacroix of Florida faces Steve Johnson of Southern California in the other quarterfinal in the top half. Lacroix downed Drew Courtney of Virginia and Brennan Boyajian of North Carolina, while Johnson took out Moritz Baumann of Wisconsin and longtime nemesis Bradley Klahn of Stanford, the No. 14 seed. Last year the two freshman had met three times, with Klahn winning on each occasion, so Johnson came into Friday's match determined to break through against his former junior rival.
"We have just battled," said Johnson, who sported a USC stocking cap when he wasn't playing. "Going back to the juniors I'd lost to him 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 or whatever. And then last year we had a battle at Stanford, 6 and 4, at Ojai (the Pac-10 individual title) 6 and 4, and then the NCAAs was 6 in the third. It was time. I guess I was due for one."
It looked as if he might fall short once again. After winning the first set 6-4, Johnson lost the second 7-5, and was broken serving at 3-4 in the third. But Klahn couldn't serve it out, Johnson held at love to make it 5-5, then got another break to serve for the match.
"I was fortunate enough to make a couple of first serves in that last game, get a couple of easy points, which really helps when you're serving for it," said Johnson, who looked more relieved than elated when he had won the final point of the 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 victory.
Johnson's teammate Robert Farah, the NCAA Team MVP when Southern California won the title back in May, also reached the quarterfinals, coming from a set down in his second round win over Marek Michalicka of Wisconsin. The No. 3 seed outlasted qualifier Ionut Beleleu of Oklahoma 7-6(3), 6-4 in the third round, leaving the Trojans as the only team with two players in the quarterfinals.
Farah will play unseeded Jason Jung of Michigan, who breezed past No. 10 seed Saketh Myneni of Alabama in the second round, then came from a break down in the final set to get by qualifier Neal Skupski of LSU 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
Second seed JP Smith of Tennessee earned a quarterfinal spot with two straight set victories. The 2008 NCAA finalist defeated UCLA's Kalim Stewart in the second round and No. 13 seed Michael Shabaz of Virginia in the third round. Smith's 6-3, 6-4 win over Shabaz was the only round of 16 match that featured two seeded players.
Smith's opponent Saturday is wild card Ashley Watling of Tulsa, who derailed Duke freshman Henrique Cunha in the second round and stormed past Boise State's James Meredith in the third round 6-2, 6-1.
The doubles are also at the quarterfinals stage, and with today's loss by top seeds Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg to Aleksey Bessonov and Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State, and yesterday's loss by No. 2 seeds Farah and Johnson, No. 3 seeds Moritz Baumann and Michalicka of Wisconsin are the highest remaining seeds.
For complete draws, including consolation, see the ITA tournament page.
At the women's All-American at Riviera, three of the four semifinalists are set. No. 2 seed Chelsey Gullickson of Georgia play No. 4 seed Lena Jurikova of Cal, and Georgia Tech's Irina Falconi, the No. 8 seed, will play the winner of the Marina Cossou - Venise Chan quarterfinal.
For complete results, see the ITA tournament page.
Friday, October 9, 2009