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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Freshman Domijan Claims Singles Championship as Virginia Sweeps Titles at D'Novo/ITA All-American

©Colette Lewis 2010--
Tulsa, OK--

Alex Domijan finally lost the first set of his brief college career Sunday, but the 6-foot-7 freshman stood tall when it mattered, rebounding for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Kentucky's Eric Quigley to assure a sweep of the D'Novo/ITA All-American titles for the Virginia Cavaliers. Moments after Domijan claimed Virginia's first singles title at the All-American Championships, teammates Drew Courtney and Michael Shabaz added the doubles trophy, taking a 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-3 decision over Ohio State's Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola.

It was another warm and mostly sunny day at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center, but for the first time since the tournament's start on Thursday, a few clouds darkened the sky during the Sunday morning final. It was also the first time an opponent had threatened Domijan's perfect start in college, with Quigley taking the only set Domijan has lost in the two tournaments he's played since joining the Cavaliers.

Both players started nervously, with the eighth-seeded Quigley getting broken in the third game, and Domijan giving the break right back with a double fault in the fourth. Quigley, a junior from Pewee Valley, Kentucky, was able to stay with Domijan off the ground, and by taking the ball early and hitting through the court, Quigley was depriving Domijan of the time he needed to set up for his forehand. Quigley also returned very well, making Domijan work to hold, and with Domijan serving at 4-5, that pressure paid off, with Quigley breaking at love to take the first set.

"He hit really good returns, hit baseline returns nearly every single time," said Domijan, of Wesley Chapel, Florida. "I was just trying to hang on. He plays differently than a lot of the players I've played. He hits a lot flatter, and it was tough to get used to that at first. Everybody I've played has been a grinder, with spin."

In the second set, there was only one break, with Quigley having a lapse of concentration at 2-2 40-15. Two doubles faults, at 40-30 and ad out, ended up costing him the set.

"What my assistant coach Cedric (Kauffmann) told me after the match, and I totally agree, was that I played good, except for about five minutes," said Quigley, the first Wildcat to reach the final at the All-American. "In those five minutes he really stepped on me, and took advantage of my lack of focus."

In the third set, there were no breaks until Quigley served at 3-all. A couple of Quigley errors, one a missed backhand volley that Domijan forced with some impressive scrambling, gave Domijan two break points, and he converted the first when Quigley sent a backhand just wide. Domijan picked up his serving in the next game, hitting two aces on his way to a 5-3 lead, and Quigley couldn't respond, winning just one point on his serve in the final game.

Domijan hadn't had to play from behind in his previous five wins in the tournament, so dealing with that adversity represented an important test for him.

"I felt like I competed a lot better than I did earlier this year in Futures," said the 19-year-old Domijan, who received a wild card into the tournament as the country's top-ranked freshman. "I think I would have lost this match in January."

Asked what had changed in those few months, Domijan replied, "I'm just happier I guess. My foot was hurting me a lot in those tournaments, and I couldn't move. So every time someone would drop shot me, I would be like, I can't get that, and it just kind of escalated. Now, it still hurts afterward, but when I'm playing, I can move fine."

Domijan is the first freshman to win the All-American title since Stanford's Ryan Wolters in 1995, and with his victory gave the Virginia men's program the only individual title that had eluded them in coach Brian Boland's ten years in Charlottesville.

Former Cavalier Somdev Devvarman, who today won the singles gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in India, won the All-American doubles title with Treat Huey in 2007. 2010 NCAA champions Shabaz and Courtney added a second collegiate major to their resumes Sunday in Tulsa, and next month at the ITA Indoor Championships in New York, will be going for the calendar doubles slam in collegiate tennis.

"For New York, I hope we can just go out and play our best tennis," said Courtney, a junior from Clifton, Virginia. "I know we can step on the court and beat anyone if we do that. We're going to go back, train hard and get ready."

Although Shabaz is a two-time defending NCAA champion, having won the 2009 title with Dominic Inglot, it was a match he and Courtney played this summer against the Bryan twins at the ATP Legg-Mason that really boosted their confidence.

"The Bryan brothers are the best team in the world, they just won the U.S. Open," said Shabaz. "We played them in D.C. and it literally came down to a few points here and there," Shabaz said of the Bryans' 7-6(6), 6-4 victory. "With our game styles, we feel, like Drew said, we can play with anybody. We can take care of our serves, slap at a few returns, put pressure on our opponents, that's the key to our success."

In Sunday's final, Shabaz and Courtney broke at 5-5 in the second set, but Shabaz was unable to put away Buckeyes Buchanan and Rola, who were playing their first tournament together.

"I didn't put enough first serves in," said Shabaz, a senior from Fairfax, Virginia. "Once you go to a tiebreaker, it's anyone's game to win. Once we lost that set, we were a little down, but we felt we could hold serve easier, that they were going to give us a chance here or there on their serve. When they gave it to us, we took it."

Shabaz and Courtney took a 3-0 lead in the final set, but holding that one break wasn't easy, especially with Shabaz serving at 5-3.

"The last game was a tough game," Shabaz admitted. "But I was able to knock down some first serves to close it out."

Coach Boland was pleased with the way the day ended for the Cavaliers.

"I'm just happy for the players. They're the ones who put in the hard work that makes this happen."

In the consolation singles final, Steve Johnson of Southern California defeated Georgia's Javier Garrapiz 6-4, 6-2.

For complete draws, see the ITA tournament website.

At the women's ITA/Riviera All-American, Hilary Barte of Stanford, the No. 2 seed, defeated top seed Jana Juricova of Cal-Berkeley 7-6(4), 6-3 to claim the singles title.

For complete results, see the ITA tournament website.


iluvtennis said...

Cavs win singles and doubs at AA. Finally we actually have the "best" team, not just the number 1 ranking. This is the year the Cavs win the outdoors title in addition to a record settng 4th straight indoors title. Go Hoos!

ACCTennis said...

UVA had the best team in '08, too, but they weren't ready for the Tulsa heat--totally different conditions from Charlottesville or anywhere else in the ACC.

UVA was probably a bit overrated in '09, and last year really any of 3 teams (UVA, UT, USC) could've been ranked #1, but since UVA won the indoor they got the ranking. Any of those 3 winning the NCAA's would not have been a surprise.

This year, it's hard to imagine anyone beating UVA, but it was almost as hard in '08 and next thing you know 3 guys cramp up.

iluvtennis said...

ACCTennis.....good point, I agree with what you said. UVa did have the best team in 08 or atleast a tie for it with Georgia. In 09 they weren't event close and last year it was close but in my opinion USC was still just a little better (of course easy to say now). However, this year I feel like UVa is clearly the best team and NCAA's are at Stanford so heat should not be an issue. I'm calling it now, UVa wins 4th indoor title and first outdoor title.

Austin said...

For now I am going to go with Tennessee taking the title.

tennisfan said...

I'm with Austin ...

Athens said...

So Austin, you're not picking UVa because they haven't got it done in May in the past, but you like Tennessee. What exactly have they done in May? This team has yet to prove themselves either versus a top 5 team in May. Isn't that the same reason to pick against Tennessee? Virginia has at least won a team title (indoors) recently.

Eric Amend said...

All of you guys make very good arguments, and I can't really disagree with you.

BUT.... it's just where USC wants to be, the darkhorse.

I love it!!!

Austin said...

If USC had a better 1-2 punch I would have picked them. I think they are the strongest team at the bottom of the lineup.


If Domijan is truly going to dominate college tennis this year I may change my mind, but I see other guys on that team already regressing in terms of singles. Throw in the fact that Domijan is a freshman, what happens when he's up against it in a tight match? Its not the same pressure as playing in a big junior/futures match.

We shall see.

McLovin said...

What happened to Bo Seal, I don't see him on the Georgia roster?

Joe said...

I'm not sure how the Hoos players are regressing at singles, they had 3 guys in the quarters of the All-American including their #5. Shabaz might have made it too but he cramped up (again). Jenkins lost first round but he won several back draw matches against #1 players on other teams. I think it's fair to say that -- at least at that tournament -- they had 5 of the top 40 players, three of the top 10, and the winner. Their #6 also went three sets with UCLA's #1 in qualifying and has a win over a top 20 player this fall.

UVA certainly hasn't proved it outdoors; they traditionally have been an indoor team that, similar to Ohio State, rides indoor success to a high outdoor seed when they don't deserve it (though I believe they've lost to the eventual champ the last five years or so unlike Ohio State.)

But this was an outdoor tournament on slow hard courts, where traditionally UVA has not played well. And they probably had a better showing than the other top 5 teams COMBINED. I'd expect they'll dominate the indoor individual tourney even more than they did the All-American; maybe not the winner, but maybe four quarter finalists, two semi-finalists, something like that.

Of course anything can happen, a team like Tennessee could win the doubles and spring upsets and win, say 1, 3, and 4. or USC could win doubles, 1, 4 and 6, something like that. But UVA looks like they'll probably have the favorite at all six positions against USC and Tennessee. I'd say UVA is a HEAVY favorite to win the outdoor title this year. Of course I'm biased.

Athens said...

Austin, looking forward to the season. Both teams have plenty to prove. Will be interesting to see how/if Sock alters the landscape too.

Eric, what's up with Kecki? Why is he not listed on the roster?

Athens said...

One more thing, did you know that the #1 seed has only won the NCAAs twice in the past 10 years? Illinois in 2003 & Georgia in 2007. It's really hard to win from the front.

SC's titles have come as #11, #8 & #5. Crazy

iluvtennis said...

Austin, when you say you see UVa's players regressing that's when it's obvious you just don't like UVa. You clearly don't have much of an objective opinion here or just are not paying attention. Which player would you say regressed from last year? Perhaps you should look at Tennessee's #1 or USC's #1 who both lost first round, maybe you mistook them for some UVa players.
I guess we'll just see what happens when May rolls around, I'll be the first to eat my words if UVa doesn't win it this year, just hope you are willing to do the same and give credit where it is due.
Hard to find an objective person who wouldn't say at least at this point of the year (deoending on January additions) that UVa is the clear cut favorite to win the title.

John said...

iluvtennis - well said on all fronts.

Eric Amend said...

Steve Johnson had a great summer by having 3 quality wins in the qualifying for the L.A. ATP Tournament and was serving for the first set at 5-3 against Somdev on the fourth consecutive day of tennis for him. His summer also earned him a WC into the qualys of the Open

He might have lost in the first round at the ITA but he won the backdraw, which shows his heart AND that he hasn't "regressed", thank-you very much!!

Athens.... Kecki is in school but won't be playing tennis.

iluvtennis said...

Tough to serve for the first set when you lose 4 and 4, not sure how you came up with that.

Go Hoos said...

Somdev was serving for the first set at 5-3 against Tipsarevic in the next round. He squandered 6 set points before losing a first set TB 11-9. Tipsarevic made a good run nearly beating Querry in the semis. Somdev has had a number of almosts in the past few months.

Johnson was up a break at 4-1 in the first set versus Devvarman

Eric Amend said...


Your correct, I got the score wrong, and my memory escaped me.

But your opinion of Steve Johnson "regressing", based on him losing in the first round of a college tournament, where he regrouped and won the back draw, is incredible inaccurate, uninformed, and dismissive. Did you even see the match or are you just basing it on the result??

Tell me how you can compare a single loss versus his body of work over a two year stretch in college where he was ranked #1 for most of last year and helped lead his team to back to back titles, PLUS the summer he just had with wins over MATOSEVIC (#159 at the time), ZHANG (#329), and GUCCIONE (#308) to qualify for a tour event and say he's "regressing"??? It's a poor speculation, at best, on your part!!

College Tennis said...

Eric Amend said that Kecki won't be playing tennis for USC this year but didn't explain why not. Does anyone know what's going on? Is he injured, ineligible, taking a break, quit?

Also, is Bo Seal back yet for UGA or not?

Eric Amend said...

College Tennis,

Kecki is NOT ineligible, injured, taking a break, and he had not quit. He will graduate from USC in 2012.

JD said...

College Tennis,

Seal will not be back. He is home and hanged up his racket. What a difference from last year. Such a shame to see where he is now.

College Tennis said...

Eric Amend said...
"Kecki is NOT ineligible, injured, taking a break, and he had not quit. He will graduate from USC in 2012."

Eric, I appreciate the half answer but please fill in the hole; So then why isn't he playing this year?

JD: Do you think Seal has quit college tennis for good?

iluvtennis said...

Perhaps you didn't read the entire post. I didn't start out my comment by knocking your players. I was merely responding to Austin (aka "hates UVa") who said Virginia's players have regressed. I guess when a team has 5 players in the main draw and another 4 in qaulifying you will be able to find one or two that didn't do as well as they hoped. I was just pointing out that the teams Austin loves (USC, Tennessee) also didn't have the greatest results by their top players. One bad loss doesn't mean a player has regressed. My take was meant to say that of all teams to say did not perform well UVa would be the last on my list since they won the singles and the doubles. In the end this tournament means very little but I think Austin just has something against UVa and does not have an objective opinion.

go wahoos! said...

I don't feel he really meant Johnson was "regressing." I agree that Johnson has had a strong showing this summer. He just unfortunately ran into a devil that was on fire in Reid Carleton. Duke will be strong this year with Carleton's recent success along with the freshman Mengel.

On the other hand, it's worth pointing out that former #1 John Patrick-Smith lost in the first round in back to back tourneys. What's up with that? If he's not back to his old level, it will really cripple Tennessee's chances.

JD said...

College Tennis

Seal is done with tennis for good, as I have been told. Never say never though

College Tennis said...

Thanks for responding, J.D.

I'm still waiting for Eric Amend to fill in the hole of his previous information. Eric?

Fernando Gonzales Fan said...

To Eric Amend:

You first offer the information to everyone that Kecki is in school but won't be playing tennis. Then College Tennis gives you a multiple choice question giving just about every imaginable possibility why he may not be playing tennis and you respond by denying every option saying:

"Kecki is NOT ineligible, injured, taking a break, and he had not quit. He will graduate from USC in 2012."

So, why all of a sudden are you being so cryptic and secretive after being so public before? What else could it be besides the options that College Tennis gave you? And by the way, by sitting out this year isn't he by definition "taking a break?" Therefore, it sounds like your answer cannot even be correct. Very mysterious.

Austin said...

I do not hate UVA, and do not have anything against them. I was actually rooting for them hard back in '04, '05 & '06 when they were trying to get up to that elite level and knew a couple players on those teams.

Let me also say I dont "love" any team this year. If you put a gun to my head and made me pick a team I would probably pick the Hoos, but I dont believe in them.

I didnt know that about Kecki, that hurts USC.

Something more serious must be up with Seal to just quit, wish him well.

been-there said...

Yes, there must be something more with Seal. Insiders were quite mum about him when I asked. They did not seem to know where he was, nor did they seem to care. I did not get the idea he was missed.

Doubt that was just because of missing a few required tutoring sessions. Hopefully whatever did occur will make him get his act together.

tennisfan said...

I wish both Kecki and Seal well.s

retired said...

Seal is at University of Tennessee Chattanooga (not playing tennis).

Eric Amend said...

Listen, I wasn't being "public before" and I didn't offer information. I was asked a question, that I wouldn't have answered in the past because of my status as a USC coach, and I answered it. I'm not being cryptic or secretive, I just don't feel the need to elaborate.

Eric Amend said...

Fernando Gonzales fan,

If you had read all of the comments in this section, you would have seen that Athens asked me why Kecki wasn't on the roster before College Tennis asked the multiple choice question. Again, I didn't offer up the information, I answered a direct question.

Eric Amend said...

I will say this.

Sometimes things don't work out like we planned, it's called life!!

USA Tennis Fan said...

Well Eric. This incident seems to be just one of many other examples that refutes your previous overgeneralization that the foreign players are more mature, stable, hungry and tougher than the "spoiled and whining" American players.

Eric Amend said...

USA Tennis Fan,

1) Kecki is an American, who was supplemented through the USTA program.

2) That comment wasn't necessarily directed towards Kecki, rather it was for everyone in this comment section to help you understand that sometimes things don't go as we ALL had planned and you have to deal with it so the reason he's not playing doesn't have to be because of an unfavorable or adverse situation. This is family business, our family, and I'm not going to elaborate!!

USA Tennis Fan said...

Eric Amend said...
"USA Tennis Fan,...
Kecki is an American, who was supplemented through the USTA program."

OK. Then I will give you a better example that refutes your overgeneralization about foreign players being tougher, hungrier and harder working than the "lazy and whining" US Players:

Marat Safin, who was universally known to be the the laziest underachiever on the pro tour."

I guess if I wanted to overgeneralize I could start assuming and stating on this board that all Russian players are lazy underachievers compared to such notoriously hard working US players such as Michael Chang, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras and Ryan Harrison (who many times has trained 7+ hours in one day). But it's a mistake to overgeneralize because there are always many exceptions and I won't do it. You could learn from this; and you won't needlessly offend so many people in your own country.

Jerry said...

To Eric Amend
Fine, do not elaborate, but you have started cryptic explanations yourself...hard to follow what you are talking about.
And...what family? How is Kecki in your family?
BTW good luck to him and his family, nice folks they are.