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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Roundup of College Action This Weekend; Sock, Kudla Blog From Serbia

Although it didn't quite reach the excitement level of today's gold medal hockey game, it was a big weekend in college tennis, with several nail-biters, starting with the USC men's 4-3 win over Stanford in Palo Alto Saturday, in a match that is not counted in the conference standings. Because there was a chance of rain, the singles were played before the doubles, so that anything but a split of the singles would have made the doubles unnecessary. With recent history as a guide however, that was probably wishful thinking. Stanford and USC have had some very close battles in the past two years, and as USC head coach Peter Smith is quoted as saying in this acount of the match, it seems to get closer with every match played. Fifth-ranked USC trailed 3-2 with Robert Farah needing to defeat No. 14 Stanford's Bradley Klahn at No. 1 singles to get to the doubles. Farah pulled out the match 7-6, 6-7(3), 7-5, and the weather stayed dry for the doubles. Stanford won quickly at No. 1 doubles, with Klahn and Ryan Thacher defeating Farah and JT Sunding 8-4, but the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles were up for grabs, with USC of course needing to win both. USC's No. 3 team of Jaak Poldma and Peter Lucassen got a break at 7-8 to defeat Matt Kandath and Denis Lin, while Stanford's Alex Clayton and Richard Wire were just entering a tiebreaker with Steven Johnson and Daniel Nguyen. Johnson and Nguyen took control early in that tiebreaker, taking a 6-1 lead. Clayton and Wire fought off two match points, but Johnson and Nguyen converted the next, delivering the victory to the Trojans 9-8(3).

In another Pac-10 match in the Bay area that didn't count in the standings, No. UCLA defeated No. 15 Cal 4-3. The Bruins had clinched a 4-1 win, with Cal taking the final two singles matches. For more on the match, see the UCLA athletic site. The UCLA-Stanford and USC-Cal matches scheduled for Saturday were rained out.

The weather in LA wasn't much better, but the UCLA women did manage to play both No. 11 Stanford and No. 3 Cal over the weekend, winning both. The win over Stanford Friday was by a surprising 6-1 score, but in today's match with Cal, the Bruins needed three-set comebacks at No. 3 and No. 5 singles to edge the Bears 4-3. Andrea Remynse defeated Mari Andersson 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3 to clinch the win for the Bruins.

In other Top 20 women's clashes today, No. 7 Notre Dame defeated No. 13 Tennessee 5-2, and No. 2 Northwestern beat No. 14 Georgia Tech 6-1. Tennessee, who hasn't had Natalie Pluskota in their lineup recently, didn't again today, and although they did manage to find players for all six singles matches, they forfeited No. 3 doubles against the Fighting Irish, who played without Kali Krisik. Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews, playing at No. 1 and No. 2, have been outstanding the past few matches; today, No. 23-ranked Frilling beat seventh-ranked Caitlin Whoriskey 6-2, 6-0, and the unranked Mathews topped No. 37 Maria Sorbello 6-1, 6-4. Georgia Tech's Amanda McDowell is still apparently experiencing the back issues that have kept her out of the lineup most of the dual season. Although she played today in Evanston, she retired at 3-3 in the second set against Kate Turvy.

The ninth-ranked Florida Gators shut out the sixth-ranked Duke women this evening in Gainesville and are beginning to play like the NCAA title contender we all expected them to be now that they are outdoors. No. 1 North Carolina goes to Gainesville on March 10 in what will be a test for both teams.

Gainesville was also the site of the men's match between No. 6 Florida and No. 13 Illinos. The Gators came away with a 5-2 win, despite losing the doubles point, and in this account from the Florida athletic website, Florida head coach Andy Jackson mentions the boost Joey Burkhardt at the No. 2 position got playing outdoors. That he was playing former Gator Johnny Hamui probably added something to the tenor of the match too.

In the most exciting men's match of the day, No. 2 Tennessee came back from 3-1 down to defeat No. 20 Wake Forest. After the Volunteers had captured the doubles point, Wake Forest got wins at No. 4, No. 2 and No. 3 singles. With only five outdoor courts, the sixth singles match between Matteo Fago of Tennessee and Danny Kreyman of Wake Forest couldn't begin until one of the others had ended, so it's not surprising that turned out to be the clinching point for the Volunteers. Matt Brewer gave Tennessee its second point with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Zach Leslie, and JP Smith brought the Volunteers even with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Frank "Tripper" Carleton, who has had a fantastic start to his college career, which began in January. The loss to the second-ranked Smith was his first. Fago then delivered the final point, defeating Kreyman 6-2, 6-2.

In the women's Division III action, top seed Emory defeated No. 2 seed University of Chicago 6-3 to capture the ITA Team Indoor championship. Unlike the D-III men, who have been competing in a national team indoor for many years, this is only the second such competition for women. For more on the match, see the ITA website.

The Davis Cup team has arrived in Serbia, and practice partners Jack Sock and Denis Kudla will be blogging about their experience at usta.com. Both are experienced bloggers, so it should be interesting reading. Their first entries are about what I guess are tbe inevitable travel problems in reaching Serbia.


J said...

The Deacons have a squad this year. Could be a sleeper come tournament time.

tennis guy2894 said...

Colette, really enjoyed your article today on TennisRecruiting on the women's Michigan win over Baylor last Friday. It was a fun game to watch!

Marcia Frost said...

Thanks for the catch up. I do miss being in the tennis world full time, but I can always count on you to keep me informed!