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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Texas vs. Tennessee and Ohio State vs. Virginia in Men's Team Indoor Semifinals

©Colette Lewis 2009--
Charlottesville, VA--

After 13 hours of tennis on Saturday at the Boyd Tinsley Courts at the Boar's Head Sport Club, the semifinalists have been determined for the 2010 ITA Men's Team Indoor.

And except for the evening match, which saw No. 2 seed and two-time defending champion Virginia roll past Georgia 4-0, there was plenty of tension and drama in the victories of No. 3 seed Ohio State, No. 5 seed Tennessee and No. 8 seed Texas.

In the morning match, Ohio State spotted No. 11 seed Florida a 3-0 lead, but came back to earn a 4-3 win. It was an odd match, in that none of the five singles matches were close, none that is except at No. 4 singles, which was the decider. Buckeye Shuhei Uzawa, a junior, outlasted January freshman Bob van Overbeek of Florida 6-4, 7-5 to put Ohio State in the semifinals. The Buckeyes also got wins from Chase Buchanan at No. 1, Justin Kronauge at No. 2 and Balazs Novak at No. 5 to overcome the loss of the doubles point. Florida's singles wins came from No. 3 Antoine Benneteau and No. 6 Nasim Slilam.

In the Texas - Southern California match there was an early indication the Longhorns were going to pose a problem for the Trojans; Texas took an early lead at both No. 1 and No. 2 doubles and never let USC back in either match to convincingly and quickly post the first point.

The top-ranked Trojans did take four of the opening sets in singles, but Texas fought back at both No. 1 and No. 2 singles, with Dimitar Kutrovsky and Ed Corrie forcing third sets against Robert Farah and Steve Johnson. Johnson, who sat out the Fresno State match on Friday with back spasms, couldn't hold off a determined Corrie, and once Kutrovsky had earned a 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2 victory over Farah, Corrie needed only a few more minutes to take the fourth point over Johnson 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. Jean Andersen, a January transfer, had earned the Longhorns their second point at No. 4 singles, while Jaak Poldma at No. 3 and Daniel Nguyen at No. 5 posted points for USC.

In the mid-afternoon match between Tennessee and UCLA, the Volunteers won a close doubles point, but the two teams split the first sets of singles when Bruin Haythem Abid took a tiebreaker from JP Smith. Tennessee's Matteo Fago gave the Volunteers a 2-0 lead with a quick win at No. 6 singles, but UCLA's Amit Inbar made it 2-1 with a victory at No. 5. It was 3-1 Tennessee after Boris Conkic's victory at No. 2 singles, and although freshman Rhyne Williams had been taken to a third set by UCLA's Nick Meister, he had a 4-0 lead in the final set. Smith had just taken the second set from Abid to give Williams a little breathing room, and he closed out the Volunteers' fourth point with an ace, earning a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win.

By the time Tennessee was closing in on the victory, the crowd was building for the Virginia - Georgia match. It was the Bulldogs first trip to Virginia, where the Cavaliers have not lost since 2006, and a record 1600 orange-clad fans made sure Georgia knew they weren't in Athens. With several dozen fraternity pledges dressed in costumes as varied as a convict, a lacrosse player and a banana adding to the festivities, Virginia won the doubles point with late breaks at No. 2 and No. 3. And although the crowd thinned a bit after the doubles point, there was still plenty of vocal support as the home team took five of six first sets. Virginia got a quick second point from Drew Courtney at No. 4, and their third from Sanam Singh at No. 2. Virginia's Michael Shabaz and Georgia's Nate Schnugg were at 5-5 in the second set when Singh made it 3-0 and Shabaz got a break to put the match on his racquet. He served it out, giving Virginia the sweep, and their second win over Georgia in the past two Team Indoor championships.

In the women's team Indoor, North Carolina will meet No. 1 Duke in one semifinal, and No. 3 Cal will take on the winner of the Northwestern - Florida match, which is still in progress. UPDATE: Northwestern defeated Florida 4-3.


3 comments:

a casual UVa fan said...

Thought the OSU assistant played a pivotal role late in the deciding matching. He was coaching Uzawa on every point telling him where to hit it, where to stand on the return, how to construct the point. When it became clear this was the deciding match, Uzawa failed to serve it out up a break. Double faulted a couple times and missed most of his first serves. His body language dropped and he didn't look very confident. At least to this outsider. His coach, though, was incredibly positive and encouraging, regardless of how each point ended and IMO really played a big role in getting Uzawa to the finish line. That was one my biggest impressions from watching Saturday

carlos said...

Austin,

What's your take on the USC/UCLA match? Who will win the Pac 10 ?

Austin said...

@Carlos,

Just now seeing your post. I would have said USC would win in a close one, very surprised by the scores. Did UCLA know they had another match today? Straight up blowouts at every position except #6 where UCLA played a new guy who was fresh. There's no way USC is that much better, but maybe their toughness is.

Post indoors I still think USC is the best team in Pac10 with Stanford and UCLA battling for 2nd. Interesting to see how Kalim Stewart played #1 for Cal and now at #6 for the Bruins. Maybe Cal pulls an upset against one of them during the season, not sure, but just cant see a healthy Trojan team not winning the Pac10.