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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Georgia Men, Florida Women Win Titles at SEC Tournaments; Krajicek Sweeps Little Rock Futures, Kuznetsov, Tomljanovic Win Challengers

SEC Champion University of Georgia Bulldogs (photo credit: Bill Kallenberg)
The University of Georgia men barely escaped in their semifinal Saturday night against Texas A&M, with freshman Ben Wagland winning a third-set tiebreaker against Junior Ore at No. 2 singles to give the Bulldogs a 4-3 victory and a place in the final against No. 2 seed Tennessee.  After such an emotional victory less than 24 hours earlier, a letdown was possible, but Georgia showed no sign of it, cruising past the Volunteers 4-0 in Sunday's final in Oxford, Miss.

The doubles point was extremely close, decided by a tiebreaker on Court 2, but top seed Georgia took five of six first sets in singles and didn't give Tennessee any hope of a comeback.  Nathan Pasha made it 2-0 with a win over Jaryd Chaplin at No. 3, and Garrett Brasseaux at No. 6 and Austin Smith at No. 5 quickly followed to give Georgia the conference tournament title and the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Georgia women were also seeded No. 1 in the SEC conference, although they, along with Florida and Texas A&M, all had one conference loss. Georgia lost to Florida and beat Texas A&M, while Florida lost to Texas A&M.

In the semifinals, Georgia beat No. 4 seed Alabama 4-2 and Florida avenged their regular season road loss to No. 3 Texas A&M 4-1, with A&M's point from doubles.  In Sunday's final in Starkville, Miss., Florida took another tight doubles point, this one decided in a tiebreaker at No. 1, with the nation's top-ranked team of Silvia Garcia and Kate Fuller falling to Florida's Lauren Embree and Sofie Oyen. Although it was far from quick, taking four hours total, Florida got a shutout, with straight-set wins from Alex Cercone at No. 3 and Brianna Morgan at No. 4, before Olivia Janowicz clinched with a three-set victory over Ayaka Okuno at No. 5.

There were two other major conference tournaments completed today, with the Big East and Conference-USA determining their NCAA representatives.

Notre Dame swept the Big East, with the men defeating Louisville 4-0 and the women beating South Florida 4-1.

The Memphis men won the C-USA title, its first, beating top seed Tulsa 4-2. It was their first won over Tulsa in 12 attempts. The Rice women ended Tulsa's recent dominance in the conference, posting a 4-1 victory in Sunday's final.

Next weekend's conference championships include the Big Ten, ACC, Big 12 and the Pac-12 (men only).  The ITA has a new website page called MatchDay central, with links to the tournament pages or live scoring for individual matches.  The NCAA men's selection show is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30 at ncaa.com, with the women's selection show following at 5:30 p.m.

This week's three Pro Circuit events finished today, with qualifier Alex Kuznetsov getting a huge boost in his quest for the USTA's French Open wild card by winning the $100,000 Sarasota Challenger over No. 8 seed Wayne Odesnik 6-0, 6-2.  The doubles winners were also qualifiers, with Somdev Devvarman and Ilija Bozoljac beating Steve Johnson and Bradley Klahn 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 11-9, saving a match point at 8-9 in the final tiebreaker.

Unseeded Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia won the $50,000 Dothan tournament, beating No. 8 seed Shuai Zhang of China 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Alison Riske and Irina Falconi reached the semifinals, so with two more $50,000 tournaments, they have the lead for the women's USTA French wild card.  Julia Cohen and Tatjana Malek Maria of Germany, the No. 2 seeds, won the doubles title, defeating top seeds Maria Sanchez and Falconi 6-4, 4-6, 11-9.

Austin Krajicek, the 2011 NCAA doubles champion as a Texas A&M senior, won both the singles and doubles at the $15,000 Futures in Little Rock.  Krajicek, the No. 4 seed, beat No. 2 seed Luke Saville of Australia 6-4, 6-2 to win his second Futures title of the year.  Krajicek teamed with Chase Buchanan, the 2012 NCAA doubles champion as a senior at Ohio State, to win the doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds defeating top seeds David Rice and Sean Thornley of Great Britain 6-2, 6-3. All four of their victories were in straight sets. It is the second Futures title of the year for Buchanan and Krajicek, who also won in Canada last month. They are also both former Kalamazoo champions, with Krajicek winning in 2008 and Buchanan in 2009.

The women are in Charlottesville, Va. this week and the men are in Savannah, Ga., both at $50,000 events.

8 comments:

Qualifying Points... said...

Colette

Accordling to the USTA standings for the French Open wildcard - Alex Kuznetsov has 100 points and in first place.

HOWEVER - shouldn't he have 105 ATP points because he earned 5 ATP points for qualifying into the main draw.

I didn't see where the rules stated only main draw accrued points?

Anyway we can get an answer on that? because Alex should be awarded those 5 extra points which could be critical at the end of the 3rd tournament.

Thank you

Colette Lewis said...

You are correct that the qualifying points count toward the WC. Or at least they did for Brian Baker last year. I will email the USTA to confirm.

Colette Lewis said...

Quick response from the USTA. The rule was changed. This year only main draw points count.

Qualifying Points... said...

Thank you Colette.

I am very curious why they are using only main draw points?

Is the USTA discounting the importance of qualifying at a tournament? I do not see the rule anywhere on the rule sheet where it is only main draw points.

This goes against all I stand for - earning your way and playing the correct level. It is sad to see the USTA going against this and not rewarding any qualifying play.

They should be promoting qualifying - but all they seem to do is hand out main draw wildcards to their own juniors and to the same pros.

VERY DISAPPOINTING from the USTA leadership.

Colette Lewis said...

I've received more information from the USTA, which says qualifying points were not used last year either. I will post a full correction Wednesday.

Pro Coach said...

Colette

Did the USTA say why earned ATP points from qualifying by a player does not count?

Qualifying points at the French Open counts.

I am confused and cannot think of a logical reason.

Please help

Colette Lewis said...

My contact at the USTA said he thought it was self-evident, but I disagreed and asked for more insight. I will let you know if I get a response.

devils advocate said...

maybe because not everyone has the opportunity to play for the extra points one can earn in qualifying.