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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Illinois Men Surprise Ohio State, Purdue Women Upset Michigan in Big 10; Oklahoma Men Capture Big 12 in Thriller; Baker, Oudin Win Challenger Titles; Ojai Winners

It's been quite a weekend of college tennis, with the last of the conference tournaments that decide the automatic bids to the NCAAs finishing this evening.  For the complete list, see the Texas College Tennis blog.

Last night the top-ranked USC men avenged their regular season loss to UCLA just eight days ago, beating the fifth-ranked UCLA Bruins 4-2, with Steve Johnson clinching for the Trojans, his 60th straight win. For more on that match, see this article from the Ventura County Star.

Today, the Big Ten produced two shockers, with the No. 24 Illinois men downing No. 3 Ohio State 4-3 and No. 30 Purdue women taking down No. 15 Michigan by the same score. 

Purdue's win wasn't entirely out of the blue, as they had beaten No. 17 Nebraska and No. 11 Northwestern to get to the final, but when it was 3-3 with the title on the line, the inexperienced Boilermakers, who had never won a conference title before, had to have been at a disadvantage. But freshman Lynda Xepoleas held her own against Michigan sophomore Brooke Bolender in the tiebreaker that decided the title, delivering the championship with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5) victory.

Ohio State, which had a 92-match winning streak over Big 10 teams snapped with their loss, led the Fighting Illini 3-1 by taking the doubles point and getting wins by Chase Buchanan at 1 and Peter Kobelt at 3. Illinois, which had an early point from Tim Kopinski at 4, picked up two more points at the bottom of the lineup, from Ross Guignon at 6 and Stephen Hoh at 5 to tie it up. That left the match to be decided at No. 2, where Roy Kalmanovich beat Blaz Rola 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to end Ohio State's streak of consecutive tournament titles at six.  The last time Ohio State lost in the tournament it was also to Illinois, in 2005, when Craig Tiley was in his final year as coach of the Illini. The Big 10 Network will carry a tape-delayed broadcast of the final on May 10th at 4 p.m.

In the Big 12, the Texas women's 4-2 win over Texas A&M was close and hard-fought, but it paled in comparison to the men's final, which was, like the Big 10 women's, decided in a third set tiebreaker with the match tied at 3.  In fact, Oklahoma's David Pultr and Baylor's Julien Bley played three tiebreakers and over four hours at line 6 before Pultr emerged with a 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 7-6(4) victory, giving Oklahoma a tournament title to go with their regular season conference title.

The last rankings before the NCAA selections will be released on Monday, and the selection show is Tuesday, May 1 at 5:00 pm EDT at ncaa.com.

At the $50,000 Pro Circuit championships today, qualifier Brian Baker won his first Challenger since 2004, beating unseeded Augustin Gensse of France 6-4, 6-3. Baker, who clinched the French Open wild card with yesterday's win over Blake Strode, has moved his ATP ranking up to 214 with the victory.  For more, see this Savannah Morning News article. Bobby Reynolds and Carsten Ball, the No. 1 seeds, beat second seeds Travis Parrott and Simon Stadler 7-6(7), 6-4 for the doubles title.

Melanie Oudin has struggled for much of the past two years, with her WTA ranking falling to 370, but she concluded a great week in Charlottesville by winning the title as an unseeded wild card. In today's final, she beat second seed Irina Falconi 7-6(0), 3-6, 6-1, which also enhances her shot at the USTA's French Open wild card. The third and final tournament where results count toward the wild card race is this week in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. Former college stars Maria Sanchez and Yasmin Schnack, the No. 4 seeds, won the doubles title, beating unseeded Elena Bovina and Julia Glushko 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

See the Pro Circuit page at usta.com for results of this week and draws for next week. The men's Pro Circuit is a $10,000 Futures in Vero Beach, Fla.

The 112th Ojai tournament came to a close today, with the following winners:
Pac 12 team (men): USC
Pac 12 singles (women): Nicole Gibbs-Stanford
Pac 12 doubles (women): Kaitlyn Christian & Sabrina Santamaria-USC [link to draws]
Boys' CIF: Gage Brymer [link to draws]
Men's Open: Artem Sitak
Women's Open: Sachia Vickery [link to draws]


Big Ten Tennis said...

Pretty remarkable win by the Boilermaker women at the Big 10 Tournament. It looks like the women's program has really turned around since that hire a couple years back. The mens program seems pretty stagnant even though they made a change. I wonder if they will catch up and follow suit? Does anyone know if they have good recruits coming?

Roll Tide said...


After seeing the projected NCAA field on Texas College Tennis blog, My understanding is that the selection committee doesn't have to go off ranking for NCAA selection. Does that happen often? Could someone like Alabama at 47 sneak in or do they usually go straight off ITA ranking?

Colette Lewis said...

@Roll Tide
I believe they have discretion, but can't recall them ever using it.

Austin said...

Bama should be the first team left out unless they pass over another team.