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 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.