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.
USC 4, UCLA 3
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.