©Colette Lewis 2010--
It was another hot day in Athens, with temperatures in the low 90s, but even those players from more temperate locations had time to get used to the heat and humidity nine days into the tournament.
One of them, Stanford sophomore Bradley Klahn, a 9th seed, defeated No. 4 seed Guillermo Gomez of Georgia Tech 6-4, 6-4 in Friday's third round.
"We've been here for ten days so I'm definitely acclimated by now," Klahn said. "I feel pretty good, and I'm sure it can be a lot worse this time of year here."
Klahn got late breaks in both sets, the only breaks of the match, and in the first set break, Gomez was up 40-0 in that ninth game.
"I hung around, I hadn't been winning many points on his serve," Klahn said. "I just tried to get one at a time and he gave me a few errors and I got the break. In the second set, I had a lot more chances to break, at 1-all and 2-all and couldn't convert. He came up with some big shots, good serves, but at 4-all he made some errors."
After the break, Klahn was serving for the match, it was that shot that was the difference. At 5-4 30-30, Klahn hit two first-serve winners to close out the 2009 ITA Indoor finalist.
Klahn will play unseeded Marcel Thiemann of Ole Miss, who won his second consecutive three-hour match, defeating Eric Quigley of Kentucky, a 9 seed, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-2.
Although Quigley lost, 9-16 seeds abound in the quarterfinals, with a total of 5. Two will play each other in Saturday's quarterfinal: Michael Shabaz of Virginia and Tim Puetz of Auburn. Shabaz defeated No. 7 seed Chase Buchanan of Ohio State 6-2, 7-6(3), and Puetz downed unseeded Rhyne Williams of Tennessee 7-5, 7-6(4). Dimitar Kutrovsky of Texas, another 9 seed, survived a lengthy battle with unseeded Bassam Beidas of Pepperdine, recording a 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-2 victory to set up a meeting with unseeded Austen Childs of Louisville. Childs defeated No. 9 seed Denes Lukacs of Baylor 6-4, 6-4.
The marquee match on Saturday will be Southern California's Robert Farah, a 9 seed, against top seed Henrique Cunha of Duke. Farah breezed past No. 6 seed Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State 6-0, 6-3, while Cunha downed Sanam Singh, a semifinalist in last year's NCAAs and a 9 seed, 6-3, 7-6(6). Cunha, a slight left-hander, hits the ball as cleanly as anyone, and makes very few errors, while Farah is much more physically imposing and has a big serve that can get him out of tight spots. It promises to be an interesting contrast of styles that should produce some amazing points if both players continue to perform at the top of their games.
The 1 vs. 9 matchup in the women's draw is a good one too, with top seed Irina Falconi of Georgia Tech facing Chelsey Gullickson of Georgia. Falconi earned her spot in the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 9 seed Venise Chan of Washington, with Falconi coming from behind to win the final five games of the match. Gullickson eliminated No. 7 seed Allie Will of Florida 6-1, 6-4.
After a two-tiebreak victory over Will at the Riviera All-American last fall, Gullickson was prepared for a close match.
"I knew she was going to get a lot of balls back and fight really hard," Gullickson said. "I love playing her because she gives me a great match, but I knew coming out if I made a lot balls and stayed consistent, I could stay positive."
Gullickson's serve was also a factor in her ability to keep Will under pressure, and she gave credit to her patience as well.
"I wasn't going for the wrong shots at the wrong time," said Gullickson, a sophomore. "I been working on trying to be really smart on the court. When I have the shot I'm going to go for it, but I'm trying not to go for things too early; make the points longer."
Gullickson's team did not make it to the Sweet Sixteen, so she has not been through the grind of the team tournament, but No. 4 seed Hilary Barte of champion Stanford actually thinks she had an advantage.
"I think playing so long in the team event actually helps," said Barte, who defeated Kristi Boxx of Ole Miss 6-3, 6-2. "You just kind of get in a rhythm of playing every day, so I have an edge."
Barte will meet unseeded Bianca Eichkorn of Miami in the quarterfinals. Eichkorn downed No. 5 seed Lenka Broosova of Baylor 6-4, 7-6(3). Baylor is not without a quarterfinalist however, as unseeded Nina Secerbegovic, who plays No. 2 for the Bears, advanced with a 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 victory over unseeded Ellah Nze of Duke. Secerbegovic will face No. 2 seed Jana Juricova of Cal, who defeated No. 9 seed Maria Mosolova of Northwestern 6-3, 7-6(8).
It's a rare college tournament that sees the top four seeds reach the quarterfinals, but it has happened here in Athens on the women's side. No. 3 seed Maria Sanchez completed that feat when she downed unseeded Noelle Hickey of UCLA 6-4, 7-6(1). Next for Sanchez is Miami's Laura Vallverdu, the 2009 NCAA singles runner-up. The eighth-seeded Vallverdu beat Caitlin Whoriskey of Tennessee, a 9 seed, 6-2, 6-2.
The doubles competition Friday afternoon was filled with three-setters. Women's top seeds Natalie Pluskota and Whoriskey of Tennessee had a straightforward 6-3, 6-1 win over Anna Redecsi and Selma Salkovic of DePaul, and No. 2 seeds Lindsay Burdette and Barte of Stanford also looked strong in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Alexa Guarachi and Courtney McLane of Alabama. But No. 3 seeds Kristy Frilling and Kali Krisik of Notre Dame needed a comeback to post a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Kayle Duncan and Katarina Tuchimaa of TCU, as did No. 4 seeds Andrea Remynse and Yasmin Schnack of UCLA, who got past Hilary Bartlett and Taylor Marable of Princeton 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
The men's top team, Duke's Cunha and Reid Carleton, pulled out a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win over Amit Inbar and Nick Meister fo UCLA in match featuring high quality tennis and entertainment. No. 2 seeds JP Smith and Davey Sandgren of Tennessee, finalists in 2009, moved a step closer to repeating that achievement with a 6-3, 7-6(4) win over Oklahoma State's Nedovyesov and Aleksey Bessonov.
The triple crown of the NCAAs--team, singles and doubles championships, will not be won this year, as No. 3 seeds Steve Johnson and Farah lost to Clay Donato and Stefan Hardy of North Carolina 2-6, 6-4, 6-1. Leading 2-0 in the third set, Donato saved three break points in the third game and when Farah was broken in the next game to make it 4-0, even a brief rain delay couldn't disrupt the Tar Heels momentum.
The No. 4 seeded team of Klahn and Ryan Thacher advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Jason Jung and Evan King of Michigan.
The singles quarterfinals begin Saturday at noon, with doubles to follow. For the specific times see the brackets at ncaa.com.
Men's Singles Round of 16 - May 28
#2 Henrique Cunha (1), DUKE def. #14 Sanam Singh (9-16), VIRGINIA, 6-3, 7-6(6)
#9 Robert Farah (9-16), USC def. #5 Oleksandr Nedovyesov (6), OKLAHOMA STATE, 6-0, 6-3
#13 Bradley Klahn (9-16), STANFORD def. #4 Guillermo Gomez (4), GEORGIA TECH, 6-4, 6-4
#33 Marcel Thiemann, OLE MISS def. #12 Eric Quigley (9-16), KENTUCKY, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-2
#10 Dimitar Kutrovsky (9-16), TEXAS def. #32 Bassam Beidas, PEPPERDINE, 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-2
#19 Austen Childs, LOUISVILLE def. #15 Denes Lukacs (9-16), BAYLOR, 6-4, 6-4
#11 Michael Shabaz (9-16), VIRGINIA def. #8 Chase Buchanan (7), OHIO STATE, 6-2, 7-6(3)
#16 Tim Puetz (9-16), AUBURN def. #45 Rhyne Williams, TENNESSEE, 7-5, 7-6(4)
Women's Singles Round of 16 - May 28
#1 Irina Falconi (1), GEORGIA TECH def. #15 Venise Chan (9-16), WASHINGTON, 6-1, 6-4
#12 Chelsey Gullickson (9-16), GEORGIA def. #8 Allie Will (7), FLORIDA, 6-1, 6-4
#4 Hilary Barte (4), STANFORD def. #44 Kristi Boxx, OLE MISS, 6-3, 6-2
#40 Bianca Eichkorn, MIAMI def. #5 Lenka Broosova (5), BAYLOR, 6-4, 7-6 (3)
#7 Laura Vallverdu (8), MIAMI def. #11 Caitlin Woriskey (9-16), TENNESSEE, 6-2, 6-2
#3 Maria Sanchez (3), USC def. #46 Noelle Hickey, UCLA, 6-4, 7-6(1)
#20 Nina Secerbegovic, BAYLOR def. #47 Ellah Nze, DUKE, 3-6, 6-0, 6-1
#2 Jana Juricova (2), CALIFORNIA def. #13 Maria Mosolova (9-16), NORTHWESTERN, 6-3, 7-6(8)
Men's Doubles Round of 16 - May 28
#1 Reid Carleton-Henrique Cunha (1), Duke def. #16 Amit Inbar-Nick Meister, UCLA, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
#14 Drew Courtney-Michael Shabaz, Virginia def. #11 Marek Czerwinski-Dennis Nevolo, Illinois, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
#4 Bradley Klahn-Ryan Thacher (4), Stanford def. #31 Jason Jung-Evan King, Michigan, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
#18 Andrei Daescu-Costin Paval, Oklahoma def. #25 Pedro Campos-Diego Cubas, South Carolina, 6-4, 6-3
#22 Brad Cox-Eric Quigley, Kentucky def. #6 Dimitar Kutrovsky-Josh Zavala (5-8), Texas, 6-3, 6-4
#19 Clay Donato-Stefan Hardy, North Carolina def. #2 Robert Farah-Steve Johnson (3), Southern California, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1
#21 Iain Atkinson-Steven Forman, Wake Forest def. #9 Chase Buchanan-Dino Marcan (5-8), Ohio State, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2
#3 Davey Sandgren-John-Patrick Smith (2), Tennessee def. #13 Aleksey Bessonov-Oleksandr Nedovyesov, Oklahoma State, 6-3, 7-6(4)
Women's Doubles Round of 16 - May 28
#1 Natalie Pluskota-Caitlin Whoriskey (1), Tennessee def. #18 Anna Redecsi-Selma Salkovic, DePaul, 6-3, 6-1
#5 Marrit Boonstra-Allie Will (5-8), Florida def. #57 Carolina de los Santos-Valentina Galbarini, Stetson, 5-7, 7-5, 6-4
#3 Kristy Frilling-Kali Krisik (3), Notre Dame def. #46 Kayla Duncan-Katariina Tuohimaa, TCU, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1
#8 Nadja Gilchrist-Chelsey Gullickson (5-8), Georgia def. #12 Kristi Boxx-Karen Nijssen, OLE MISS, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
#6 Gabriela Mejia-Laura Vallverdu (5-8), Miami def. #9 Mari Andersson-Jana Juricova, California, 7-5, 6-2
#4 Andrea Remynse-Yasmin Schnack (4), UCLA def. #27 Hilary Bartlett-Taylor Marable, Princeton, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
#11 Csilla Borsanyi-Lenka Broosova, Baylor def. #7 Josipa Bek-Ina Hadziselimovic (5-8), Clemson, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
#2 Hilary Barte-Lindsay Burdette (2), Stanford def. #17 Alexa Guarachi-Courtney McLane, Alabama, 6-3, 6-2
Friday, May 28, 2010