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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Two Semifinal Thrillers Put Virginia and USC into ITA Men's Indoor Final; Duke Women Blank No. 2 Florida; Keys, Sanchez, Williams into Memphis Main Draw

Monday's ITA Men's Team Indoor final between No. 1 Virginia and No. 2 Southern California is an exciting prospect, but it is unlikely to approach those two teams' semifinal wins when it comes to drama.

Both Virginia and USC took 4-3 decisions, with Cavalier Alex Domijan winning 7-5 in the third over Peter Kobelt of Ohio State, and Trojan Roberto Quiroz capturing a third set tiebreaker over UCLA's Adrien Puget to put their teams in the final.

No. 3 seed UCLA won the doubles point, without any notable struggle, getting wins from their No. 1 team of Dennis Novikov and Marcos Giron and No. 2 team of Puget and Karue Sell.

The teams split first sets, but never has a first set in hand meant so little.  With the exception of court 5, where Yannick Hanfmann of USC defeated Dennis Mkrtchian 6-2, 6-4, every player who won the first set ended up losing his match.  After Hanfmann made it 1-1, Bruin Dennis Novikov completed his comeback over Raymond Sarmiento 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 at line 1, then USC's Eric Johnson tied it up with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 win at line 6, saving match points in the second set.  USC took a 3-2 lead with Emilio Gomez's 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Marcos Giron at No. 2, then Clay Thompson of UCLA tied it up with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Max de Vroome at No. 5.  By this time sophomore Roberto Quiroz of USC was up 5-4 in the third set against Puget at No. 3, but Puget, closing the net aggressively at every opportunity, broke Qurioz quickly to make it 5-5.

Because I am not in Seattle, I had to rely on the live stream, which is a great option, but unable to hear the chair umpire calling the score, I can't be quite as sure as of the score as when I am in attendance. I believe Puget saved a couple of match points late in the third set, but in the tiebreaker, he fell behind 4-2, then 6-3 after a costly double fault. Quiroz netted a backhand on his first match point in the tiebreaker, but the left-hander from Ecuador hit an ace on his next serve, giving him a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) win and his team a chance to defend its title on Monday.

UCLA and USC play again in a non-conference match on Friday, at USC, which I suspect will be another of the dogfights the crosstown rivals will engage in this year.

Virginia dropped the doubles point to No. 4 Ohio State, with the Buckeyes picking up wins at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions, with No. 1 unfinished.

Unlike the USC - UCLA match, there was only one three-set match in the singles: Domijan's win over Kobelt that decided it.

Blaz Rola gave Ohio State a 2-0 lead with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Jarmere Jenkins at No. 1, before the Shane brothers tied it up for Virginia. Justin Shane defeated Hunter Callahan at line 6 by a 7-5, 6-3 score, and Ryan Shane took out Chris Diaz at No. 5 6-4, 7-6(6).
Mitchell Frank made it 3-2 for Virginia with his 6-4, 6-2 win over Devin McCarthy at line 3, a very innocuous score for what was a very long, tough match. 

With Kobelt forcing a third set against Domijan,  Ohio State needed Connor Smith to close out Mac Styslinger at No. 4, which he did, 6-4, 7-6(4), making it 3-3.  Domijan and Kobelt, the 2012 ITA All-American champion and finalist, respectively, were at 5-5 in the third set when Smith won.  Domijan held for 6-5, and Kobelt had several game points serving to send it into a tiebreaker, but he didn't convert them, eventually leading to a match point for Domijan. Kobelt missed his first serve, got his second in, but missed a volley on the far sideline. Kobelt didn't agree with Domijan's call, and asked the chair umpire to overrule, but the call stood, putting Virginia back in the Indoor final for the fifth time in the past six years.

1. Giron/Novikov (UCLA) def. #48 Sarmiento/Hanfmann (USC), 8-4
2. Puget/Sell (UCLA) def. Quiroz/De Vroome (USC), 8-2
3. #49 Johnson/Gomez (USC) def. Mkrtchian/Brigham (UCLA), 8-4
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1
1. #58 Denis Novikov (UCLA) def. #12 Raymond Sarmiento (USC), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
2. #10 Emilio Gomez (USC) def. #13 Marcos Giron (UCLA), 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
3. #23 Roberto Quiroz (USC) def. #43 Adrien Puget (UCLA), 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4)
4. #94 Yannick Hanfmann (USC) def. #55 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA), 6-2, 6-4
5. Clay Thompson (UCLA) def. #109 Max De Vroome (USC), 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
6. #46 Eric Johnson (USC) def. Karue Sell (UCLA), 1-6, 7-5, 6-4
Order of finish:  4, 1, 6, 2, 5, 3

Virginia 4. Ohio State 3
1. #4 Jenkins/Styslinger (UVA) vs. #36 Kobelt/Smith (OSU), 6-7 unfinished
2. McCarthy/Van Engelen (OSU) def. #15 J. Shane/Uriguen (UVA), 8-6
3. Rola/Metka (OSU) def. Domijan/Frank (UVA), 8-4
Order of finish: 3, 2

1. #62 Blaz Rola (OSU) def. #7 Jarmere Jenkins (UVA), 6-4, 6-2
2. #1 Alex Domijan (UVA) def. #2 Peter Kobelt (OSU), 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
3. Mitchell Frank (UVA) def. Devin McCarthy (OSU), 6-4, 6-2
4. #30 Connor Smith (OSU) def. #5 Mac Styslinger (UVA), 6-4, 7-6(4)
5. #25 Ryan Shane (UVA) def. #37 Chris Diaz (OSU), 6-4, 7-6(6)
6. Justin Shane (UVA) def. Hunter Callahan (OSU), 7-5, 6-3
Order of finish: 1, 6, 5, 3, 4, 2

In women's dual match non-conference action, No. 4 Duke defeated No. 2 Florida 4-0 in Durham, the first time the Blue Devils have ever blanked Florida. Duke won the doubles point and got singles victories from Monica Turewicz at 4, Ester Goldfeld at 2 and Marianne Jodoin at 6. The experiment with no-ad in doubles is apparently over, with the doubles point taking nearly two hours (!) according to the Duke release.  Next up for Florida is No. 1 North Carolina Monday afternoon in Chapel Hill.

The US National Indoor Championships, the joint WTA/ATP event in Memphis, completed its qualifying rounds today, with Madison Keys, Maria Sanchez and Rhyne Williams among those advancing to the main draw.  On Monday's schedule are Sanchez, who plays Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine, and wild cards Vicky Duval and Courtney Collins, a senior on the University of Memphis women's team. Williams has been placed against wild card Steve Johnson in tomorrow's first round, a repeat of the 2011 NCAA singles final, which Johnson won. Williams earned the win in their most recent meeting, in the second round in the Charlottesville Challenger, which, like the NCAA final, went three sets.

At the $25,000 women's Pro Circuit event in Rancho Santa Fe, Madison Brengle defeated Stanford junior Nicole Gibbs 6-1, 6-4 in the singles final.


College Lineups said...

Does it seem odd that the #1 & #2 in the country are playing Number 2 singles?

From my perspective said...

Kobelt's volley looked out to me on the stream. I think he appealed because he was frustrated and couldn't believe he missed the volley. He had a wide open court. It looked like he bunted it rather than hitting it with conviction. I'm sure Kobelt would like to have that one back. I bet he makes that volley 8 or 9 times out of 10.

Brent said...

On the #1-2 overall playing #2 in their lineup - no, it really isn't odd if you consider the situation. I don't think there is anyone who thinks Kobelt is better than Rola. Rola played off and on #1 with Buchanan the last couple years and didn't play in the fall, while he was playing Futures. You could take any of the top three with UVA and pick their lineup out of a hat. Domijan is #2 but Jenkins is right behind him at #4, and Frank was #1 for a stretch last year and didn't play the fall due to injury. Just speaks to the strength of both lineups.

Not the same as some discussion about the Clay Thompson situation last year. Interesting that he has dropped from playing #1 a good chunk last year to #5 this year. Good to see Novikov show some signs of life in the comeback against Sarmiento yesterday. He had been in what seemed like a fairly brutal slump, just based on results.

UVa fan said...

College Lineups,

Keep in mind that college rankings become more accurate as the season goes along.

The lineups are not odd at all. Kobelt is the highest ranked college player on his team, only because Rola spent the fall playing professional events. Rola is ranked close to #300 in the world on the ATP and is clearly the best player on the Buckeyes' team.

For UVa, Jenkins is the leader for this team and played #1 all last year for the Hoos ahead of Domijan. Jenkins and Domijan will likely rotate between #1 and #2 spots all year. Both guys are deserving of the #1 spot as is Mitchell Frank, who played #3 all last year too, even though he was the highest ranked Hoo for much of the year.

If the lineups were truly odd, other coaches would challenge and have the lineups changed.

UVa fan said...

Regarding Kobelt's last volley. Sure, I'm biased, but I thought it was clearly out. UVa's website has a replay of the point if you want to watch it. It's at 6:25 point of the video.

Kobelt played a great point. Good serve to the ad court, then a cross court forehand that drew Domijan wide on the forehand side of the court. Kobelt was at net with a wide open court. It was a low volley, but it looked like tried to guide it into the open court and missed. Kobelt should have won the point and I think his dispute had more to do with his frustration on missing the volley than actually thinking the ball was in. Kobelt had been up 40-0 that game and earlier in the game had his forehand set up but missed a down the line (he had run around a backhand to hit a forehand down the line). He should have won the game on that shot but hit it in the alley. Kobelt is a great player and lost a tight, hard fought match.

Austin said...

I am posting this after the doubles result, forgot earlier, UVA is up 1-0. Im curious how much some of the guys have in the tank for today. USC played 5 three set matches yesterday, UVA only had 1. It is their fourth consecutive day of matches.

Here is how I see the singles going down:

#1: Jenkins will beat Sarmiento, may go three, but I think Jenkins wins in two

#2: here is where I think USC could win the title. Domijan played 7-5 in the 3rd yesterday, Gomez will make him run all day. Normally I would say Domijan, but I think Gomez could just tire him out

#3: Frank should win this one, may take three sets, but Quiroz has to be tired

#4: Hanfmann has a ton of confidence, Styslinger may be a little frustrated by his play the past couple days.

#5: no clue which way this one goes, I think Shane is pretty good, but DeVroome has a ton of international experience and is probably lower in the lineup than his talent

#6: zero thought of Justin Shane being clutch. dont know if Eric Johnson is all that great, but if its close I will definitely take the Trojan in this one.

The doubles point may be enough for UVA to win, but as we all know, dont count USC out just because they lost the doubles point.

Brent said...

Wow, the big fella (Domijan) took Gomez to the woodshed. Austin, agree with your points on Justin Shane. Given that he had a strong fall, wouldn't be surprised to see them try Richmond there before we get to NCAAs. If UVA can just break even at the bottom of the lineup, they can't be beat.

Former Decent Player said...

I was there live during the Domijan/Kobelt match. Kobelt missed the volley by about 2 inches. Nobody there disagreed. Kobelt argued the call because that seems to be the mandatory thing to do now in college tennis just in case the umpire is blind or biased which is sadly often the case. Kobelt made the obligatory argument but you could tell that his heart wasn't really in it and once the umpire refused to overrule Kobelt snapped out of it and was a very good sport.

Austin said...

Yep, Domijan crushed him. Didnt allow fatigue to become a factor. Rest of the matches went about as I thought they would. I will say that in the NCAA finals I could see Sarmiento beat Jenkins even though I think Jenkins is a better player.