Virginia Takes ITA Men's Team Indoor Championship 4-2 Over USC; Florida Women Defeat Top-ranked North Carolina 4-2; Duval Earns First WTA Win in Memphis
The University of Virginia Cavaliers won their fifth ITA Men's Team Indoor final in the past six years Monday afternoon, defeating Southern California 4-2 at the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle, Washington.
After the two thrillers in the semifinals yesterday, with No. 1 Virginia beating No. 4 Ohio State 4-3 and No. 2 USC defeating No. 3 UCLA 4-3, both after dropping the doubles point, an emotional letdown might have been expected. But two veteran coaches who have been in big matches with great regularity over the past six years had the experience to keep their teams on course, and signs of a letdown were few.
Virginia took the doubles point, with not much resistance from the Trojans, with Alex Domijan and Mitchell Frank winning 8-4 over Eric Johnson and Emilio Gomez of USC at line 3, and Justin Shane and Julien Uriguen taking an 8-3 decision over Roberto Quiroz and Max de Vroome at line 2, with the match at 1 unfinished.
In last year's final against Ohio State, USC had also dropped the doubles point, yet managed to win four singles matches from the Buckeyes to post a 4-3 victory.
Virginia won first sets at 1, 2, and 3, while USC took the first sets at 4, 5, and 6, so the Trojans needed a comeback if they were to repeat.
Virginia made it 2-0 with Domijan's 6-3, 6-2 victory over Gomez at line 2, while a few minutes later USC got on the board with Johnson's 7-5, 6-4 win over Justin Shane at line 6. Almost immediately, Jarmere Jenkins closed out Raymond Sarmiento 6-2, 6-4 at line 1, making it 3-1 for Virginia, and forcing USC to face the prospect of winning the last three matches on the court.
At line 4, Virginia's Mac Styslinger had forced a third set with Yannick Hanfmann, the hero of last year's USC Indoor title, but de Vroome finished his 7-6(4), 6-3 win over Ryan Shane at line 5 to give USC its second point.
Mitchell Frank was down a break in the second set to Quiroz at line 3, having won the first, but when de Vroome finished, he had brought it back to 5-5 in the second set. Serving at 5-5, Frank saved two break points, then went on to hold, putting Quiroz in the tough spot of needing to hold to reach a tiebreaker, which he then had to win to extend the match. Quiroz had survived the pressure of a third set tiebreaker to decide his match with UCLA's Adrien Puget, which gave USC the 4-3 win on Sunday, but he took several chances in that final game, coming into the net, and Frank did not miss, breaking at love on a forehand pass to return the Team Indoor trophy to the Cavaliers.
For more on the final, with reaction from coach Brian Boland and Frank, see the Virginia sports website.
Virginia 4, USC 2
1. #4 Jenkins/Styslinger (UVA) vs. #48 Sarmiento/Hanfmann (USC), 4-7 unfinished
2. #15 J. Shane/Uriguen (UVA) def. Quiroz/De Vroome (USC), 8-3
3. Domijan/Frank (UVA) def. #49 Johnson/Gomez (USC), 8-4
Order of finish: 3, 2
1. #7 Jarmere Jenkins (UVA) def. #12 Raymond Sarmiento (USC), 6-2, 6-4
2. #1 Alex Domijan (UVA) def. #10 Emilio Gomez (USC), 6-3, 6-2
3. Mitchell Frank (UVA) def. #23 Roberto Quiroz (USC), 6-3, 7-5
4. #5 Mac Styslinger (UVA) vs. #94 Yannick Hanfmann (USC), 4-6, 6-3, 2-2 unfinished
5. #109 Max De Vroome (USC) def. #25 Ryan Shane (UVA) 7-6(4), 6-3
6. #46 Eric Johnson (USC) def. Justin Shane (UVA), 7-5, 6-4
Order of finish: 2, 6, 1, 5, 3
In a match that began at 2 p.m. and finished after 6:30, the second-ranked Florida women put their shutout loss to Duke on Sunday emphatically behind them by defeating No. 1 North Carolina 4-2 in Chapel Hill.
The doubles point, which was played conventionally with advantage scoring and a tiebreaker at 8-all, took nearly two hours, with North Carolina winning it in just such a tiebreaker. Gina Suarez-Malaguti and Zoe De Bruycker defeated Florida's Danielle Collins and Olivia Janowicz at line 2 to clinch the point, after Florida's Lauren Embree and Sofie Oyen had beaten Whitney Kay and Ashley Dai 8-3 at line 1, and North Carolina's Tessa Lyons and Lauren McHale had downed Alex Cercone and Brianna Morgan 9-7 at line 3.
The Gators took four first sets in singles, but they could get straight-set wins in only two of them, with Janowicz beating Lyons 6-2, 6-1 at line 6 and Morgan defeating McHale 6-1, 6-1 at line 4. The Tar Heels picked up their second point with Caroline Price's 6-4, 6-2 win over Collins at line 5, and the score was 2-2 as the matches at line 1, 2, and 3 went to third sets. Embree got Florida's third point with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 victory over Suarez-Malaguti, and Oyen completed her comeback with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 win over De Bruycker to clinch the win for the Gators.
By skipping the Team Indoor, Florida puts itself in the position of needing to get non-conference wins over quality opponents to keep their ranking high once the computers begin to rate teams, and going 0-2 against the top two teams in the ACC this weekend would have been difficult to overcome. But bouncing back from the loss to Duke and the loss of today's grueling doubles point indicates the Gators remain one of the favorites for this year's NCAA title.
At the women's WTA event in Memphis, 17-year-old Vicky Duval picked up her first victory at that level, defeating 69th-ranked Johanna Larsson of Sweden 3-6, 6-1, 6-3. Duval, ranked 451, had a win over CoCo Vandeweghe in the main draw of the $100,000 Midland tournament earlier this month as a lucky loser, but this is her first win in an official WTA event.
In the renewal of the Steve Johnson and Rhyne Williams college rivalry, Williams got the victory in the ATP event in Memphis, 7-6(4), 6-4. Williams faced only one break point in the match and saved it, earning his second consecutive win over the two-time NCAA champion, whom he beat in the Charlottesville Challenger in November. Former Tennessee Volunteer Williams was 2-1 against USC's Johnson in college, but Johnson won their last meeting there --Williams' last college match ever--in the final of the 2011 NCAA singles championships.
For more results from Monday's action in Memphis, see the tournament website.