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Sunday, February 20, 2011

No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 Florida Meet Monday for Women's Indoor Title; Virginia and Tennessee Return to Men's Indoor Final; Puig Wins in Surprise

The rematch that everyone has been waiting for became a reality today, with No. 1 Stanford and No. 2 Florida winning semifinal matches in the ITA Women's Team Indoor to set up their first meeting since the Cardinal beat the Gators 4-3 in last year's NCAA final.

The teams aren't the same of course, with both lineups containing prize freshman blue chips: Florida with Alex Cercone, Sofie Oyen and Olivia Janowicz; Stanford with Kristie Ahn and Nicole Gibbs. But even with the new players, both teams remained at the top of the rankings this and have demonstrated this weekend why they are favored to meet again in the NCAA final.

Today in Charlottesville, Florida downed No. 6 Duke 4-1, its second win over the Blue Devils in the past week, and Stanford took out No. 4 North Carolina 4-0, in a match that was much closer than the score suggests. In fact, I'm linking to both Stanford's and North Carolina's accounts of the match, because I think the Stanford article gives the impression that it was an easy win for Stanford, which it definitely was not. Unfortunately, neither school provides partial scores, but they are available at the tournament website by clicking on the LiveStats links.

In spite of their many accomplishments as two of the most storied programs in women's tennis, neither Stanford or Florida had reached the Indoor final in quite a few years. On some occasions, they have chosen not to participate, which was the case with Stanford last year, but it's the first time that the Cardinal have been in the final since 2006, and the first time for the Gators in the final since 2003.

Both teams appear to be healthy heading into Monday's final, but the same cannot be said for the men's final Monday between No. 3 Tennessee and No. 1 Virginia. Tennessee's Tennys Sandgren has been ill while in Seattle, and since playing in doubles against Georgia on Friday, has been unable to compete. That didn't stop the Volunteers from reaching the Indoor final for the second straight year however, as today they defeated No. 15 Duke 4-2 without getting any points from their top three positions.

Virginia, which is seeking an unprecedented fourth consecutive men's Team Indoor championship, played very late into the night on Friday and Saturday, but they came away with 4-1 victories over Washington and Illinois. Today, playing in the afternoon, Virginia got another 4-1 victory, taking out No. 4 Ohio State in very efficient fashion.

I encourage all of you to head over to the Tennessee men's tennis homepage on Monday, where you can find Amanda Pruitt's Live Blog. The Tennessee men's tennis SID has made that the place to be for college tennis fans, and it sure beats watching the scores change (and manually refreshing) on the Washington website. The webcams are better than nothing, but without sound, matches are difficult to follow, and you can't get the overview that Amanda provides. The match is scheduled to start at noon Pacific, 3 p.m. Eastern.

The ITA tournament page is here.

In the rain-delayed semifinals of the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Surprise, Arizona, Monica Puig of Puerto Rico beat Chichi Scholl 7-5, 6-4 to earn a berth in the final, and there beat No. 5 seed Lenka Weinerova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-0 to capture her second professional title. The unseeded Puig received entry into the main draw by virtue of a junior exemption she earned by finishing in the Top 10 in the ITF World Junior rankings last year. Shuko Aoyama and Remi Tezuka of Japan won the doubles title.

For complete results, as well as the qualifying results for the upcoming $15,000 men's Futures event in Brownsville, Texas, see the Pro Circuit results page at usta.com.

In the second round of the ATP Delray Beach International qualifying, Jack Sock lost to Ryan Sweeting 6-4, 6-0.


Go Card said...

With Veronica Li out due to injury all tournament (she has played above Carolyn McVeigh all season), and Carolyn McVeigh replaced by Jen Yen in singles against UNC, I don't think you can say Stanford is completely healthy heading into tomorrow's match.

Colette Lewis said...

@Go Card:
You're right. Since she wasn't in Stanford's tournament lineup, I'd forgotten about Li. With McVeigh playing previous matches and doubles, I assumed she was a healthy scratch.

Joe said...

The men's will be tight if UT can take the doubles point. I believe they haven't lost the doubles point in a LONG time, but UVA's new doubles line-ups have looked very strong.

4-0 if UVA wins the doubles point, 4-2 if they don't (figure that Williams or Conkic might win a 3 setter). UVA gets points at 3, 6, 5 and, if necessary, 2.

fairplay said...

Pretty misleading indeed, reading the Stanford account of the Cardinal win over UNC. Looking at the LiveStats on the ITA webpage, it is clear that this win was far from easy. With 4 singles matches going to a third set(3 of them undecided of which 2 leaning in favor of UNC) and a closely contested doubles point, it seems like a stretch to dismiss UNC as "easily handled". In fact, there was only one quick match. Stanford has such a great team, but this is certainly not the win to use as a showcase for their alleged dominance in women's tennis. Is the Cardinal homefront a little scared to admit they were challenged, or are they just too cocky? The FL website gives a far more balanced account of their advancement to the finals --and we know they can be a little cocky too-- but it never hurts to give your opponents the credit they deserve.

John said...

Fairplay - well said. And if Northwestern had their #2 singles player, their match with UNC could have had a different outcome. That's what makes collge athletics interesting and fun to follow.

fairplay said...

John: You're right and it looks like NU will get a chance very soon to go for that with Carolina visiting them later this month.

John said...

Fairplay - unfortunately doubt she will be back by the time of that match. Either way should be a great rematch.