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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Florida's Embree, Tennessee's Libietis Named Top Seeds for NCAA Singles Tournament; Gibbs Seeded Alphabetically in Quest to Defend Her Titles

A day after revealing the 64 participants in the team tournament, the NCAA announced the seeds and the selections for the individual portion of the Division I tournament, which is scheduled for May 22-27.

Unlike the team announcement, this one doesn't include a draw, with that posted much closer to the start of the tournament.

The men's seeds:
1.    Mikelis Libietis, Tennessee
2.    Alex Domijan, Virginia
3.    Jarmere Jenkins, Virginia
4.    Anthony Rossi, Kentucky
5.    KU Singh, Georgia
6.    Romain Bogaerts, Mississippi St.
7.    Emilio Gomez, Southern Cal
8.    Peter Kobelt, Ohio State

9-16, alphabetical
Henrique Cunha, Duke
Sebastian Fanselow, Pepperdine
Evan King, Michigan
Ryan Lipman, Vanderbilt
Matija Pecotic, Princeton
Blaz Rola, Ohio State
Ray Sarmiento, Southern Cal
Nik Scholtz, Ole Miss

The latest rankings won't be released by the ITA until Thursday, so it's not clear whether the committee went right down the rankings list for the seedings, but there was some definite movement compared to last week's rankings, which had Domijan at No. 1 and Cunha and Fanselow in the Top 8.

Any player who is seeded has already earned All-American status, and those who are not seeded can still be award that designation if they reach the round of 16 at the tournament.

It's interesting that No. 1 UCLA has no one seeded, but it's doubtful any players who are would want to see Marcos Giron or Dennis Novikov in the first round. Mitchell Frank of Virginia, who swept both of the ITA fall majors in 2011, is another unseeded player who could disrupt the expected progression of any seed.

The doubles seeds:
1. Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese, Tennessee
2. Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler, Duke
3. Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen, Ole Miss
4. Jarmere Jenkins and Mac Styslinger, Virginia

5-8, alphabetical
Jarryd Botha and David Vieyra, Alabama
Daniel Cochrane and Andreas Mies, Auburn
Ben Wagland and Hernus Pieters, Georgia
Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow, Texas A&M

Because he didn't play in the fall, and played No. 3 doubles this spring, Ohio State's Blaz Rola did not get in and will not be defending his 2012 NCAA doubles title.  Also noteworthy: there are no doubles teams from Southern Cal, USC or Stanford in the draw, which I will venture to guess is a first. Cal's Christoffer Konigsfeldt and Campbell Johnson are the sole Pac-12 team in the 32-draw.

The complete list of men's selections is here.

The Top 8 in the women's rankings from last week are the top eight seeds, in order. Embree, the first three-time SEC player of the year, is also the two-time Most Outstanding Player of the team tournament, after leading Florida to two consecutive titles.

The women's seeds:
1.    Lauren Embree, Florida
2.    Sabrina Santamaria, Southern Cal
3.    Robin Anderson, UCLA
4.    Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, Texas A&M
5.    Zsofi Susanyi, Cal
6.    Lauren Herring, Georgia
7.    Gina Suarez-Malaguti, North Carolina
8.    Anett Schutting, Cal

alphabetical, 9-16
Ema Burgic, Baylor
Julia Elbaba, Virginia
Nicole Gibbs, Stanford
Krista Hardebeck, Stanford
Yana Koroleva, Clemson
Danielle Lao, Southern Cal
Petra Niedermayerova, Kansas State
Mary Weatherholt, Nebraska

Gibbs is defending her title, of course, but that's been a tough ask in women's D-I tennis lately. The last player to do it was Amber Liu of Stanford in 2003 and 2004.

Sofie Oyen of Florida, Pac-12 champion Kyle McPhillips of UCLA, Kristie Ahn of Stanford and Arizona State's Jacqueline Cako are among the dangerous unseeded players in the draw.

The difference between the No. 1 and No. 2 seeding isn't really important, save for headlines like the one on this post, but despite winning the Pac-12 doubles title, Southern Cal's Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian were unable to wrest the top seed from Georgia's Silvia Garcia and Kate Fuller.   Santamaria and Christian are going for the collegiate slam in Urbana, having won the All-American and the Indoor last fall.

The doubles seeds:
1. Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia, Georgia
2. Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria, Southern Cal
3. Patricia Veresova and Mary Weatherhold, Nebraska
4. Ema Burgic and Victoria Kisialeva, Baylor

5-8, alphabetical
Alexa Guarachi and Mary Anne Macfarlane, Alabama
Brooke Bolender and Emina Bektas, Michigan
Kristie Ahn and Nicole Gibbs, Stanford
Kata Szekely and Brynn Boren, Tennessee

Gibbs is also going for a second straight NCAA doubles title, after winning it last year with Mallory Burdette, who has risen into the WTA Top 100 since leaving Stanford after her junior year.

The complete list of women's selections is here.

Streaming will be available again this year, according to this article from Turner Sports. The schedule and links to streams for the first day of the team event, May 16th, is here.


Brent said...

UVA's #8 guy is one of the top 8 alternates for NCAA singles. Holy smokes. I hope they can finally get it done in the team championship this year. They have no business losing given that lineup, but on any given day...

Also hoping that Evan King can make a strong run in singles to finish off a remarkable career on a high note. Go Blue!

wotten wun said...

It's May 2 and I predict the 2013 NCAA Women's Final will have Florida's Lauren Embree facing Nicole Gibbs of Stanford.
And I'm betting the latter will emerge the winner.

writing on the wall said...

UVA is the overwhelming favorite. If they cannot win it this year even if they have a bad day something is massively wrong. UVA should be the number 1 seed and all UVA threats are on the opposite side: Ohio State, UCLA and USC so they got their dream draw.

The NCAA tournament is not at historic UGA or in Stanford so there is less of a typical NCAA feel: mostly likely less fans, less atmosphere.

UVA will win the title dropping 1 individual matches entire tournament.

Austin said...

I wouldn't give them the title just yet. I think Ohio State can beat them if OSU wins the doubles point and I also think UCLA can beat them no matter how the doubles point unfolds. UVA is not as dominant as I thought they would be. However, they did luck out that their three toughest opponents will all be on the other side of the draw and not have to play them back to back. UVA doesn't tend to recover well at NCAA's and having to beat USC/OSU and then turn around and beat UCLA would be a tall task.

I haven't made my prediction just yet, but leaning toward Bruins.

confused said...

I do not understand why the seeding for the NCAA Tournament are NOT the same as the seeding for the NCAA tournament.

If they do switch then why not have UVA the #1 seed?

Does not seem to make sense

russ said...

Have to disagree with you Austin on ucla taking out Virginia. I've seen them both play this year and Virginia has been the far more impressive. I don't know how Billy Martin will play one and two, but both Novikov and Giron have stumbled often this year. Novikov is 17-10 and Marcos is 28-10. Marcos had a particularly bad dual against Stanford in Palo Alto that I saw. His doubles performance was especially bad as he couldn't return serve nor hit a volley and he lost every single one of his service games. And by the way, have you seen Novikov's physical condition? Might be an issue in Illinois if it heats up. Mitchell against Puget? Would have picked Puget early in the year, but now Mitchell looks like he's back in form after his injury. Mrkchatain v Ryan Shane? Two slap happy hitters: whoever is on wins. Thompson v Styslinger? Haven't a clue. Uriguen or Shane v Sell? I'll take Virginia if Uriguen plays, Sell if Shane. but only by the narrowest of margins. Comes down to doubles and Virginia has a big edge there. So I'm certain on four wins for Virginia and the other three could go either way. Of those four certain wins, which one does ucla win?

Kurt H said...

Everyone is forgetting that USC's last two losses vs UCLA came without a healthy lineup, especially for Gomez. I predict a USC win in the semis, if it is healthy and if it can get past OSU, a tall order.

HooSC said...

I think OSU matches up reasonably well with UVa. OSU will be favored in doubles and wherever they play Rola. That's 2 likely points. If they add in Van Engelen at #5, OSU is very tough at #6 with Diaz. Then they just need 1 more point from somewhere else. Kobelt, while an underdog against UVa, is one of those "on any given day" type players.

UCLA is more of a wildcard. On paper, UVA matches up better with the Bruins. UCLA is not really a clear favorite at any position. 2 and 3 should be wins for UVA as well as 6 with Uriguen. Puget is a really strong 3, except that Frank is the best #3 in the country. You could argue UCLA is favored at #4 and #5, but those could go either way. The wildcards are doubles and which version of Novikov shows up that day. It's conceivable UCLA could win doubles and/or 3 or 4 singles lines if they have a really good day.


What's the status of Gomez?

If he and DeVroome are both healthy, the Trojans are a totally different team and can win the event. Otherwise, it seems highly unlikely. Even if Gomez/DeVroome are 80-90%, it's going to be tough having to potentially play 3 challenging matches (OSU, UCLA, UVa) to win the tournament. USC's injuries and draw greatly lower their odds.

Kurt H said...

I agree with you HooSC. I wish I knew about Gomez's status, but I don't. I just hope it gets better soon, and that he didn't injure it while being the Davis Cup hero last month. That might lead Peter Smith to ban such participation in the future!

It would be great to see a UVA-USC matchup in the finals for a third year in a row, regardless of who wins it. I think it's all setting up for UVA this year with the draw, so this is probably their year, at last.