©Colette Lewis 2009--
West Haven CT--
Top seed Maria Mosolova of Northwestern's 6-4, 7-5 loss to wild card Anastasia Petukhova of Fresno State was over by the time we arrived at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center at Yale University, but I did watch some of the second big upset of the day, as 2009 All-American finalist Chelsey Gullickson, the third seed, fell to UCLA senior Yasmin Schnack 7-6(5), 6-2. Gullickson had an early 4-1 lead in the opening set, but injured her knee shortly thereafter, and Schnack capitalized on the Georgia sophomore's lack of mobility.
For Mosolova, it was the second straight defeat suffered in a collegiate major; she lost to Caitlyn Whoriskey of Tennessee, also a wild card, at the Riviera All-American last month.
The Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center is an eight-court facility, with excellent viewing and impressive reminders of the lengthy tradition of the sport at Yale. The four main viewing courts are designated not by numbers, but by the letters Y A L and E, and most of the seeds were assigned to those courts.
Second seed Irina Falconi of Georgia Tech, the reigning All-American champion, looked strong in her 6-0, 7-6(3) win over Fani Chifchieva of Auburn, using her extensive arsenal of shots to defeat the Southern regional champion.
On the men's side, only one seed failed to advance to the second round, with No. 8 Eric Quigley of Kentucky dropping a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) decision to Michael Shabaz of Virginia in the last match to be completed Thursday evening. Shabaz saved a match point serving at 5-6, 30-40 in the final set, then got off to a good start in the tiebreaker, assisted by a fortunate net cord. Quigley approached the net and was in position for a drop volley when Shabaz's passing shot clipped the net and skipped past Quigley's racquet to give Shabaz a 4-1 lead. Shabaz missed only one first serve in the tiebreaker, while Quigley made only one, an ace when down 0-3.
Number five seed Steve Johnson of Southern California had his hands full with small college Super Bowl champion Damian Hume of Collin County Community College, but Johnson survived 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-4. The speedy Hume forced Johnson to hit an extra shot or two in every rally, and it wasn't until Johnson got a late break in the third set that the outcome was decided.
Top seed and All-American champion JP Smith of Tennessee advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Amit Inbar of UCLA and No. 2 seed Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State eked out a 6-3, 7-6(7) win over Texas Tech's Raony Carvalho. Cavalho had a set point at 6-5 in the tiebreaker but double faulted and had another at 7-6 but sent a backhand long. There seemed to be an appeal to the chair umpire after ever line call in the tiebreaker and the handshake seemed less than cordial between the two Big 12 rivals.
The doubles first round also produced some surprises. NCAA champions Mari Andersson and Jana Juricova of Cal, the No. 3 seeds, were beaten 9-7 by Miami's Gabriella Meija and Laura Vallverdu. All-American finalists Aleksey Bessonov and Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State, the No. 2 seeds, lost to Antoine Benneteau and Alexandre Lacroix of Florida 9-8(2), and No. 4 seeds Mortiz Baumann and Marek Michalicka of Wisconsin were beaten 8-3 by USC's Robert Farah and Johnson, who reached the Indoor finals last year.
For complete results, see the ITA tournament home page.
Unfortunately, cell phone and wireless reception are not good in the Tennis Center, so tweets will be very limited.
Thursday, November 5, 2009