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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

USTA/ITA Regional Championships (Nearly) Complete; South Africa Turns to College Players in Davis Cup Tie with Russia

The USTA/ITA Regional Championships wrapped up today, with all but one of the nine singles and nine doubles titles decided. That one is the Northeast men's doubles final, which will take place on Wednesday on the campus of Cornell, the home courts of both finalists.  The other 17 berths in next month's USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate championships were decided today, and three of them went to Columbia, which serves as the host school for the tournament held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.

Winston Lin of Columbia won the Northeast men's double title, defeating No. 2 seed Denis Nguyen of Harvard 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. The Columbia women swept the titles, with sophomore Kanika Vaidya downing senior Bianca Sanon in two tiebreakers in the singles final, and Tina Jiang and Crystal Leung taking out Vaidya and Sanon in another tiebreaker in the doubles final.  With Columbia also receiving men's and women's wild cards in singles and doubles there will be plenty of players getting hometown fan support.

At the men's Northwest regional, Cal swept the titles for the second year in a row.  Campbell Johnson defeated Pacific's Sem Verbeek 6-1, 6-4 in the singles final, with Gregory Bayane and Chase Melton taking the doubles title with a 8-5 win over Washington's Emmett Egger and Jeff Hawke.

Stanford swept the titles at the women's Northwest Regional, with Kristie Ahn claiming the singles title with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over St. Mary's Jenny Jullien. Ahn and partner Carol Zhao lost to teammates Ellen Tsay and Taylor Davidson 8-6 in the doubles final.

Barring any wild cards, the only player from the Virginia men's team in New York will be All-American champion Mitchell Frank, after none of the other Cavaliers reached the latter stages of the regional.  Carlos Lopez Villa of Old Dominion won the singles title, beating Virginia Commonwealth's Alexis Heugas 6-3, 6-3. The doubles title went to Liberty's Shea Thomas and Jorge Azuero, who won the first ever regional title for the Lynchburg, Va. school with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 decision over Virginia Tech's Andreas Bjerrehus and Amerigo Contini. I have no idea why that final was best of three, when all the other doubles finals were the 8-game pro set.

Virginia will be well represented in the women's draw however, with Danielle Collins winning the singles title and Rachel Pierson and Julia Elbaba taking the doubles championship.  Collins, who received the USTA wild card at last year's Indoor as a freshman at Florida, earned her place this year with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Pierson in the final. Elbaba, who is already in the singles draw after winning the All-American consolation tournament, and Pierson defeated Maria Belaya and Jeltje Loomans of William & Mary 8-2 in the final.

At the women's Ohio Valley regional, Vanderbilt's Georgina Sellyn defeated Nadia Ravita of Kentucky 6-3, 6-2 in the singles final, with Julia Fellerhoff and Rebecca Shine of Louisville taking the doubles title with an 8-5 win over Alyssa Hibberd and Caroline Wegner of Memphis.

At the men's Texas regional, Baylor's  Diego Galeano assured himself a place in New York, defeating Texas A&M's Shane Vinsant 4-6, 6-4, 7-5. Lloyd Glasspool and Soren Hess-Olesen of Texas, who fell short of an automatic berth when they lost in the All-American doubles consolation final, seized their second chance, defeating Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow of Texas A&M 8-7(6).

Finally, in the men's Southwest regional, Southern Cal swept the titles, with Yannick Hanfmann downing Alex Sarkissian of Pepperdine 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 in the singles final, while Eric Johnson and Max de Vroome took the doubles title with an 8-4 win over teammates Raymond Sarmiento and Roberto Quiroz.

The New York Indoor fields are not yet complete, with the wild cards and at-large bids yet to be announced, but CollegeTennisOnline has compiled a list of those who have qualified to date here.

There isn't much going on in Davis Cup this weekend, but there are a couple of relegation ties in the Group I Europe/Africa zone.  Russia will play South Africa, with the latter calling on one current and two former college players to avoid dropping to Group II.  Nik Scholtz of Ole Miss played for South Africa last month in their 4-1 loss to Slovenia, but is not playing this weekend, although Ole Miss will be represented in former Rebel Tucker Vorster.  2013 NCAA semifinalist Japie De Klerk, a senior at Tulsa, is in Moscow for the tie, along with former Georgia Tech player Dean O'Brien.  For more on Vorster and De Klerk, both Davis Cup rookies, see this article.