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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ohio State's Buchanan and Rola Will Play for Second Straight Major; Unseeded USC Team Reaches Women's Final

©Colette Lewis 2011--
Flushing Meadows, NY--

The season's second major is down to the last two teams, with both familiar faces and newcomers reaching the finals of the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Ohio State's Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola, seeded second, reached their second consecutive collegiate major with a hard-fought 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 4 seeds Nick Andrews and Christoffer Koningsfeldt of Cal.

The All-American champions were down 2-0 in the final set, but got their first break of Konigsfeldt in the fourth game, and then broke the junior from Denmark again to give Rola an opportunity to serve for the match at 5-3. The sophomore from Slovenia missed a couple of forehands at 30-all however, and it was back on serve, with Andrews serving to keep the Bears, the consolation champions at the All-Americans, in the match.

Ohio State went up 15-40, but Cal saved both those match points, when Rola netted a forehand and Koningsfeldt put away an overhead. A Konigsfeldt volley winner gave Cal its only game point, but Andrews hit a forehand long to bring it back to deuce.

Then the net cord gods got involved, as Buchanan's forehand clipped the tape and dropped behind Andrews and Konigsfeldt to give Ohio State their third match point. This time Buchanan made sure his forehand wasn't subject to any luck, blasting a cross court winner to seal the win.

It was Buchanan's 13th straight win in doubles this fall, but Rola is only 12-1, because Buchanan and Peter Kobelt defeated Rola and Connor Smith in the regional final.

Buchanan and Rola are hoping to emulate Buckeye doubles greats Ross Wilson and Scott Green, who won both the All-American and the Indoor championships in 2004.

"You don't get a lot of opportunities in your career to play finals, unless you're Roger Federer," said Buchanan. "So it's awesome to have a chance to win."

"And to be in New York as long as we can," Rola added.

Buchanan and Rola will face No. 3 seeds Ashley Watling and Clifford Marsland of Tulsa, who defeated the unseeded team of Billy Federhofer and Nassim Slilam of Florida 6-3, 7-5.

Marsland and Watling moved forward relentlessly, and the Florida team was unable to pass them, as the Tulsa pair was able to pick off nearly everything blasted at them.

While there were plenty of baseline rallies in the other semifinal, Marsland, of Australia, and Watling, of Great Britain, played the match on their terms.

"We weren't trained to serve-and-volley on every point, but we have learned the craft because we're from England and Australia, where we play on grass more as youngsters," Marsland said, explaining their comfort at the net."We learned old tricks that some people around here don't know about volleying. I'd say we have an advantage in that respect, but it's a double-edged sword because the courts are so slow these days that you can't use it in singles anymore really."

Marsland and Watling have already made history for their school, becoming the first team to reach the finals of the Indoor championships.

There is plenty of history with the Notre Dame women in the Indoor championships, and senior Kristy Frilling is back in the final again, as she was in 2008. Frilling and Shannon Mathews defeated top seeds Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs of Stanford 7-5, 7-6(4) to return the final, where she and current Notre Dame assistant Kelcy Tefft lost to Renata Kucerkova and Anastasia Petukhova of Fresno State.

Tefft, who won the Indoor title with Brook Buck in 2007, was on the bench as the No. 3 seeds managed to overcome some late match jitters against the All-American champions from Stanford.

After breaking Burdette, Mathews served for the match at 5-4, but didn't get to match point, and after breaking Gibbs for a 6-5 lead, Frilling couldn't finish it, sending it to a tiebreaker. But Mathews hit a couple of great shots--a volley and a return winner--for a 4-0 lead in the tiebreaker. Burdette and Gibbs won the next three points, but made too many errors, and their comeback ended there.

"I remember being really nervous in all of those situations," Frilling said of their two chances to serve out the match.

"But our coach Kelsey kept telling us: 'Try and stay aggressive and keep playing the game. Don't do anything special. Keep doing what you've been doing the whole time.' It sounds really easy, but you've gotta focus on that plan and stick to it."

Playing against the two seniors in Sunday's final are freshman Sabrina Santamaria and sophomore Kaitlyn Christian of USC, who defeated No. 4 seeds Nida Hamilton and Linda Abu Mushrefova of Northwestern 6-2, 6-3.

Christian and Santamaria were at-large entries, having fallen to UCLA's freshman team of Robin Anderson and Skylar Morton in the Southwest regional final. Christian and Santamaria avenged that loss in the second round here in New York, and against the Wildcats, the USC pair were outstanding.

"Today was a great match," said Christian. "They were a very good team and they put a lot of pressure on us from the very get go. But we came out there swinging and we were on fire. We knew we had to get off to a good start, which is what we did."

Both doubles finals are scheduled for 10 on Sunday morning, and admission is free. The Live Chat will be up and running again Sunday here.


College Tennis said...

Does anyone know what happened all of a sudden to Jacqueline Cako of Arizona State University? She did well in the last major which was very recently and now did not even enter this National Indoor major and there has been no mention of her in the last several team events for Arizona State. Is she injured? Left the team?

fan said...

no, Cako doing the usual, playing ITF tournaments, as is Allie Will. Trice Capra will also play $75,000 Arizona ITF.

College Tennis said...

Thanks for your response Fan but I don't understand why you characterize her recent tennis schedule as "the usual." Cako just skipped the ITF National Indoor which is one of the four "majors" in college tennis. Also, she skipped the last 3 events that the rest of her ASU teamates played in. What is "usual" about that?!

Furthermore, you indicate that she's doing the same thing as Capra but Capra just played the ITF indoors which is the "usual" thing to do for a top college player. Please clarify.

fan said...

nothing to get all worked up? 'as usual' as she played ITF events? She played ITF events in the Spring too, that's what I meant, not about skipping Indoors. Please read again, I said "doing the usual, playing ITF tournaments, as is Allie Will". I also said Capra "will" play ITF events. hope that clarifies. ;)

College Tennis said...

OK Fan. Here we go again with the unfortunately common practice on this site where one poster tries to accuse another poster of not being "calm enough" for their liking in a lame effort to make them seem less credible.

Contrary to your mischaracterization, my last post was totally appropriate as a response to your post which was totally unresponsive to the original question.

The question was why Cako has all of a sudden started skipping many important COLLEGE events? So, your response that she is "doing the usual" playing ITF events indicates that nothing has changed. But things have changed as laid out in the original post because she is all of a sudden skipping major college events. So, she is clearly NOT "doing the usual."

If I am showing any lack of patience it's only because I am puzzled as to why you seem unable to comprehend and answer the original question.

been-there said...

Maybe Capra has accepted that she will need a college education first, and then try to go pro if that is in the cards?

Whereas I am not so sure that Jacquelyn has that mindset. I think she thinks she can beat anyone, which is great. She got a ton of college credits while in high school apparently, so why not do some side tournaments?

College Tennis said...

Thanks for your message "Been There." That's some interesting insight and speculation. However, it still doesn't answer the question as to whether Cako has left college or not.

You ask the question: "so why not do some side tournaments?" I think everyone agrees that there is no harm in playing in "some side tournaments;" however, if she is now skipping ALL major and minor college events then this is more than just "some side tournaments." This is not merely "on the side" to college tennis if there is NO college tennis events. In other words, these tournamants seem to be IN REPLACE of college tennis, not in addition to college tennis.

So, is she taking the semester off from college, turning pro, temporarily left school, permanently left school? I am not judging her on the wisdom of such a decision I just want to know what her status and/or decision is.

It would be nice if someone could answer that question.

been-there said...

True, good point about the "side" tournaments.

It sure sounds like she is doing what Chelsey Gullickson did last year. She took off the fall semester to try the pro circuit and then came back in January.

Just from knowing Cako in the old days, I just don't think that winning a big college tournament would be anywhere near enough satisfaction for her. College wasn't the goal, going pro was.

fan said...

Collegetennis, you WERE overreacting lol. Why is my response totally unresponsive?? Ok, maybe I wasn't clear enough. Your original question was if she was injured or left the team. My response at least clarifies about the 'injured' part, no? Cako missing some tournaments and playing ITF events is not new either, so I added 'as usual'. What's so wrong about that? And if she left the team, wouldn't the news get out or get it posted on the ASU website? Her name is still on the roster. Gee, one can't even seem to answer a question..

College Tennis said...

Fan- I appreciate your admission when you wrote: "Ok, maybe I wasn't clear enough." That was an understatement.

fan said...

was it? :) I never imagined that my 'careless' phrasing "doing the usual, playing ITF tournaments" would trigger such a 'rigorous' examination on you part lol. (Still dunno why my phrasing was wrong either lol). Dunno why you didn't employ that 'passion' into at least checking the ITF tournaments..it seems we both wasted our time here :( Maybe you should just contact ASU directly about her status..the answer could be just a phone call away. :)