©Colette Lewis 2012--
Two years ago, Georgia's Chelsey Gullickson and Stanford's Bradley Klahn won NCAA singles titles on the courts of the Dan Magill Tennis Center. On Wednesday, in the opening round of the 2012 individual championships, it was Klahn, who is unseeded, who survived a tough first round match, while the No. 8 seeded Gullickson fell to unseeded Sabrina Santamaria of Southern Cal.
The weather for the opening day of singles matches was in the mid-80s, but there was none of the late afternoon thunderstorm action that plagued the last two days of the team tournament.
The championship hangover didn't seem to bother the Florida women, who went 4-0 on the day, or the USC men, who won 4 of 5 singles matches, and for Santamaria, who stayed up until 1 a.m. to watch the USC men clinch their fourth straight team title, the Trojans provided her with the inspiration for her 6-3, 6-2 win.
"I'm very good friends with all the men's team," said the freshman from Los Angeles. "They keep telling me they're proud of me, and it's really inspiring, so I was really happy to watch them win it. I tried to carry that through today."
Gullickson, one of the premier ball strikers in college tennis, was off her game today, but Santamaria, who is close to a foot shorter than the Georgia senior, thought she had something to do with that.
"I really made her play, giving her balls that she's not used to seeing," said Santamaria, who was named to the all-tournament team at No. 3 singles. "I was definitely keeping it out of her strike zone and making her move uncomfortably, I think."
Although Santamaria clinched USC's 4-3 quarterfinal win over Stanford, she put her victory over Gullickson right up there among her personal best.
"It's huge," said Santamaria. "It's one of the best wins of my life."
With Gullickson out, it was up to Klahn to defend the honor of the 2010 champions, and he had a tough task, drawn to face No. 4 seed Jarmere Jenkins. Klahn, who was injured throughout the fall season and only returned to singles play in mid-February, knew the possibility of a bad draw was looming.
"I knew going in, missing all the fall and the first third of the dual match season, my ranking was lower and I wasn't going to be seeded and I'd have to be ready for any of the top seeds," said the senior, who graduated in March. "But at the same time, I could use that to my advantage, because they're going to have to see me earlier than they probably would have wanted."
Klahn was down an early break to Jenkins, who served for the first set at 5-4, but lost that game and the next two. In the second set, Jenkins lost serve at 2-3, and Klahn held on for the 7-5, 6-3 victory.
"He came up really fired up and got an early break, and that's a credit to him," said Klahn. "His mentality and determination after such a tough team match last night, to come out here and be ready to battle, I give all the credit to him. I thought I was kind of able to raise my game when I needed to."
Next to the Jenkins on the late evening shift was teammate Alex Domijan, another dangerous unseeded floater, who drew No. 6 seed Evan King of Michigan as his first round opponent. Last year as the No. 2 seed, Domijan had lost in the first round, also after a team loss in the finals, but said he'd learned a lot from it, which showed in his 6-3, 6-2 win over King.
"This year I went to bed on time and didn't do anything extra, took care of myself," said Domijan. "I think that made a big difference. Last year, I just wanted to get home, I didn't even want to be out there--all of us didn't--but I think we all learned a lot."
Although the emotional letdown, especially after such a painful loss, often plays a role in early round singles matches, Domijan said he would rather be in his position than in King's.
"I think it's tougher to be in his position honestly," said Domijan, who also struggled with injuries throughout the fall. "Once I got on the court I was fine. I'm used to the courts, the environment and everything, so I understand it's tough."
Coincidentally, the player that upset Domijan in the first round last year, Pepperdine's Sebastian Fanselow, was himself an upset victim this year, losing to Bob van Overbeek of Florida 6-3, 6-4. With Fanselow's loss, three of the top 8 seeds are out in the men's draw, as is 9-16 seed Nick Meister of UCLA.
The 2012 NCAA champions had no trouble today, with Cal's Jana Juricova, seeded sixth, beating Kate Turvy of Northwestern 6-3, 6-1, and Steve Johnson winning his 67th consecutive collegiate match with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Illinois' Roy Kalmanovich.
Johnson now has experienced four such championship hangover days in his college career, and says he's learned from each one.
"It's all about taking care of your body in the first week to get ready for the second week," Johnson said. "First year you're so clueless as to this team event, you have no idea what it is. I think starting my junior year at Stanford, I knew the first week I had to do everything right, keep my body in order, because it's two long weeks of tennis, hopefully. I think last year in the singles final it showed. I was ready to go in the second and third sets and I think Rhyne [Williams] kind of ran out of gas."
Johnson is joined in the second round by teammates Raymond Sarmiento, who plays No. 2 seed Mitchell Frank Thursday, Emilio Gomez and Daniel Nguyen.
Women's top seed Allie Will of Florida faced a determined challenge from Notre Dame's Shannon Mathews, but advanced to the second round with a 7-6(5), 6-3 win.
In addition to Gullickson, four other seeded women lost Wednesday, all of them 9-16 seeds: Emina Bektas of Michigan, Kristie Boxx of Ole Miss, Jacqueline Cako of Arizona Sate and Jillian O'Neill of Georgia Tech.
Play resumes at 10 a.m. on Thursday, with the first round of doubles also on the schedule.
See georgiadogs.com for complete draws and times.
MEN’S: First Round - May 23
#1 Steve Johnson (1), SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA def. #31 Roy Kalmanovich, ILLINOIS, 6-2, 6-3
#53 Nassim Slilam, FLORIDA def. #118 Matija Pecotic, PRINCETON, 6-4, 6-4
#55 Neal Skupski, LSU def. #16 Nick Meister (9-16), UCLA, 6-1, 6-2
#32 Sadio Doumbia, GEORGIA def. #23 Kyle McMorrow, WASHINGTON, 6-2, 6-4
#39 Alex Domijan, VIRGINIA def. #6 Evan King (6), MICHIGAN, 6-3, 6-2
#56 George Coupland, MISSISSIPPI STATE def. #58 Nick Andrews, CALIFORNIA, 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4
#15 Alex Musialek (9-16), KENTUCKY def. #69 Damian Hume, BOISE STATE, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2
#52 Ignacio Taboada, GEORGIA def. #17 Mate Zsiga, BAYLOR, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
#36 Bradley Klahn, STANFORD def. #4 Jarmere Jenkins (4), VIRGINIA, 7-5, 6-3
#27 Remi Boutillier, FRESNO STATE def. #38 Chris Mengel, DUKE, 6-4, 6-4
#10 Chase Buchanan (9-16), OHIO STATE def. #28 Mikelis Libietis, TENNESSEE, 6-0, 6-1
#24 Kevin King, GEORGIA TECH def. #19 KU Singh, GEORGIA, 7-6(4), 6-4
#42 Bob van Overbeek, FLORIDA def. #8 Sebastian Fanselow (8), PEPPERDINE, 6-3, 6-4
#50 Louis Cant, MISSISSIPPI STATE def. #51 Yannick Hanfmann, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, 6-3, 6-4
#14 Nik Scholtz (9-16), MISSISSIPPI def. #33 Alexis Klegou, TEXAS A&M, 6-3, 6-7(10), 6-4
#26 Jose Hernandez, NORTH CAROLINA def. #77 Ashley Watling, TULSA, 6-3, 7-6(10)
#40 Gonzalo Escobar, TEXAS TECH def. #29 Ryan Thacher, STANFORD, 6-3, 7-6(5)
#12 Costin Paval (9-16), OKLAHOMA def. #60 Hernus Pieters, GEORGIA, 6-3, 6-4
#21 Daniel Nguyen, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA def. #44 Charlie Jones, VANDERBILT, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3
#5 Henrique Cunha (5), DUKE def. #46 Adrien Puget, UCLA, 7-5, 6-0
#45 Jonas Lutjen, MISSISSIPPI def. #54 Greg Andrews, NOTRE DAME, 7-5, 6-3
#13 Artem Ilyushin (9-16), MISSISSIPPI STATE def. #37 Ben McLachlan, CALIFORNIA, 6-1, 6-3
#18 Andreas Mies, AUBURN def. #30 Finn Tearney, PEPPERDINE, 6-3, 6-2
#3 Eric Quigley (3), KENTUCKY def. #41 Andre Dome, CAL POLY, 7-5, 6-4
#57 Emilio Gomez, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA def. #49 Nikola Bubnic, SAN DIEGO, 6-4, 6-4
#9 Blaz Rola (9-16), OHIO STATE def. #35 Olivier Borsos, LSU, 6-0, 6-0
#20 Marcel Thiemann, MISSISSIPPI def. #43 Francis Alcantara, FRESNO STATE, 6-3, 7-6(2)
#7 Dennis Nevolo (7), ILLINOIS def. #34 Jaime Pulgar, NORTH CAROLINA STATE, 6-1, 6-3
#47 Luka Somen, VIRGINIA TECH def. #48 Tripper Carleton, FLORIDA, 6-2, 6-0
#11 Wil Spencer (9-16), GEORGIA def. #59 Juan Spir, GEORGIA TECH, 6-3, 6-0
#25 Ray Sarmiento, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA def. #120 Nick Sayer, RADFORD, 6-1, 6-1
#2 Mitchell Frank (2), VIRGINIA def. #22 Anthony Rossi, KENTUCKY, 6-4, 6-4
WOMEN’S: First Round - May 23
#1 Allie Will (1), FLORIDA def. #34 Shannon Mathews, NOTRE DAME, 7-6(5), 6-3
#19 Danielle Lao, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA def. #46 Keri Wong, CLEMSON, 6-3, 6-1
#57 Kata Szekely, TENNESSEE def. #12 Emina Bektas (9-16), MICHIGAN, 6-4, 7-5
#37 Abigail Tere-Apisah, GEORGIA STATE def. #60 Katie Le, SANTA CLARA, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-0
#6 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (7), TEXAS A&M def. #52 Alexa Guarachi, ALABAMA, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(3)
#31 Joelle Kissell, NORTH CAROLINA STATE def. #48 Tayler Davis, CALIFORNIA, 7-5, 6-1
#16 Diana Nakic (9-16), BAYLOR def. #27 Gabriela Mejia, MIAMI, 6-2, 6-2
#29 Petra Niedermayerova, KANSAS STATE def. #81 Lutfiana Budiharto, WICHITA STATE, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
#3 Nicole Gibbs (3), STANFORD def. #22 Emily Fraser, VIRGINIA, 6-0, 6-2
#21 Joanna Mather, FLORIDA def. #59 Hanna Mar, DUKE, 7-5, 6-4
#50 Lacey Smyth, ARIZONA def. #10 Kristi Boxx (9-16), MISSISSIPPI, 6-4, 7-6(3)
#35 Natalie Pluskota, TENNESSEE def. #54 Anastasia Putilina, UTAH, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
#8 Jana Juricova (6), CALIFORNIA def. #20 Kate Turvy, NORTHWESTERN, 6-3, 6-1
#56 Sona Novakova, BAYLOR def. #38 Zoe De Bruycker, NORTH CAROLINA, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
#45 Anya Morgina, SOUTH CAROLINA def. #15 Jacqueline Cako (9-16), ARIZONA STATE, 6-3, 6-3
#40 Aeriel Ellis, TEXAS def. #58 Maho Kowase, GEORGIA, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-1
#23 Nina Secerbegovic, BAYLOR def. #70 Lauren McHale, NORTH CAROLINA, 6-3, 6-2
#32 Brynn Boren, TENNESSEE def. #11 Jillian O’Neill (9-16), GEORGIA TECH, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4
#61 Sofie Oyen, FLORIDA def. #44 Ecaterina Vasenina, SOUTH FLORIDA, 6-4, 6-2
#26 Sabrina Santamaria, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA def. #7 Chelsey Gullickson (8), GEORGIA, 6-3, 6-2
#24 Mary Anne Macfarlane, ALABAMA def. #102 Anais Dallara, LONG BEACH STATE, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
#13 Zsofi Susanyi (9-16), CALIFORNIA def. #47 Mary Weatherholt, NEBRASKA, 6-4, 7-5
#36 Natalie Beazant, RICE def. #25 Stacey Tan, STANFORD, 7-5, 6-2
#4 Robin Anderson (4), UCLA def. #33 Courtney Collins, MEMPHIS, 6-3, 6-0
#18 Anna Bartenstein, MIAMI def. #51 Liudmila Vasilieva, WASHINGTON STATE, 6-3, 6-1
#14 Zoe Scandalis (9-16), SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA def. #65 Lucia Batta, UNLV, 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-2
#17 Denise Dy, Washington def. #41 Marianne Jodoin, FRESNO STATE, 6-4, 7-6(3)
#5 Mallory Burdette (5), Stanford def. #120 Maria Craciun, South Carolina State, 6-1, 6-1
#28 Cristina Stancu, Maryland def. #53 Nazari Urbina, Texas A&M, 7-6(3), 6-0
#9 Lauren Embree (9-16), Florida def. #49 Anastasia Erofeeva, Tulsa, 6-0, 6-3
#43 Lindsey Hardenbergh, Virginia def. #30 Anett Schutting, California, 6-1, 6-4
#2 Beatrice Capra (2), Duke def. #42 Jackie Wu, Vanderbilt, 6-2, 6-2