©Colette Lewis 2009--
West Haven CT--
The men's and women's contenders for the college season's second major were pared from 16 to 4 Friday at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center at Yale University.
Men's top seed JP Smith of Tennessee will meet fifth seed Steve Johnson of the University of Southern California, while the other semifinal will feature two unseeded players: Michael Shabaz of Virginia and Guillermo Gomez of Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets have a chance for two titles, with No. 2 seed Irina Falconi of Georgia Tech set to face unseeded Lenka Broosova of Baylor. The other women's semifinal is an all-Pac-10 affair, with Washington's Denise Dy, the seventh seed, taking on No. 4 seed Jana Juricova of California-Berkeley.
Falconi, the All-American champion, breezed past Josipa Bek of Clemson 6-2, 6-0 in their second round match, and was equally as impressive against No. 8 seed Venise Chan of Washington in the quarterfinals, taking that win by a 6-0, 6-2 score. Falconi has an impressive repertoire of shots that goes way beyond forehands and backhands, and her ability to control points with that variety keeps her opponents reacting, unable to take the offensive. Broosova, who upset No. 5 seed Caitlin Whoriskey of Tennessee 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round, really found her rhythm in the quarterfinals, defeating Marina Cossou of Cal 6-2, 6-1.
Juricova has not lost a set in her three victories, with her power and accuracy too much for Kristi Boxx of Mississippi in a 7-5, 6-2 second round victory and Boise State's Pichittra Thongdach, whom she defeated 6-3, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
In contrast, Washington's Dy had two grueling matches Friday, defeating Stanford's Hilary Barte 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 in a three-hour plus second rounder, and then coming from behind to eliminate Fresno State's Anastasia Petukhova 1-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the quarterfinals.
Smith, who like Falconi, is looking to add an Indoor title to the All-American championship he won last month, defeated Clay Donato of North Carolina 6-2, 6-3 in the second round and Dimitar Kutrovsky of Texas, the No. 6 seed, 6-1, 7-5 in the quarterfinals. Johnson took out freshman Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia in the second round and fought back to take a 6-7,(3), 7-5, 4-0 ret. inj. decision from Marek Michalicka of Wisconsin, who was struggling with a back injury. Michalicka had beaten No. 4 seed and All-American finalist Andrei Daescu of Oklahoma in the second round, and Michalicka's teammate Mortiz Baumann also reached the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Bradley Klahn of Stanford. Baumann lost to Gomez 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. Gomez had defeated No. 3 seed Rob Farah of Southern California 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the second round.
Shabaz posted two tough straight-set wins Friday, defeating Dennis Nevolo of Illinois 6-4, 7-6(1) in the second round and No. 2 seed Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State 6-4, 7-6(6). The Virginia junior, who saved a match point in his win over No. 8 seed Eric Quigley on Thursday, was able to put his opponents on the defensive with his pace, but he did have to survive a set point in the tiebreaker against Nedovyesov to end the evening's action at 9 p.m.
The doubles semifinals will also be played on Saturday, and there were several surprises in Friday morning's quarterfinals. Top seeds Davey Sandgren and Smith were upset by Jeff Dadamo and Austin Krajicek of Texas A&M 8-3, and last year's Indoor finalists Farah and Johnson lost to Reid Carelton and Henrique Cunha of Duke 8-4.
No. 3 seeds Klahn and Ryan Thacher of Stanford are the only seeded men's team remaining. They defeated Tim Puetz and Alex Stamchev of Auburn 8-5, and will meet Boris Conkic and Rhyne Williams of Tennessee in the semifinals. Conkic and Williams beat Antoine Benneteau and Alexandre Lacroix of Florida 8-6.
The top seeded team in women's doubles did survive, but just barely. Natalie Pluskota and Whoriskey were down 6-2 to DePaul's Anna Redecsi and Selma Salkovic, but reeled off six straight games to advance against Miami's Gabriella Meija and Laura Vallverdu. Meija and Vallverdu beat small college Super Bowl champions Vanessa Heroux and Katia Sabate of Fresno Pacific 8-2.
Another all-Pac-10 contest will take place in the other doubles semifinal, with UCLA's Andrea Remynse and Yasmin Schnack meeting Stanford's Barte and Lindsay Burdette. Remynse and Schnack defeated Marshall's Michaela Kissell and Dominika Zaprazna 8-4; Barte and Burdette downed Oklahoma's Ana-Maria Constantin and Teona Tsertsvadze 8-3.
The doubles semifinals are scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, with the singles following at 1 p.m.
For complete results, including consolation, see the ITA tournament page.
Friday, November 6, 2009
©Colette Lewis 2009--