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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ohio State Sets New NCAA Record for Home Wins; Georgia, Oklahoma Men Fall in Texas; Duncan, Liu Win Claremont Titles; Kozlov Hits with Nadal

Last night in Columbus, the Ohio State men's team set an NCAA record for all Division I sports with its 185th consecutive home victory.  The second-ranked Buckeyes defeated No. 28 Northwestern 4-3, with senior Peter Kobelt clinching the victory for Ohio State.  Next up for the Buckeyes is Illinois, who will attempt to end the streak that extends back over a decade Sunday at noon.  For more on last night's milestone, see this recap from the Ohio State website.

In other Top 10 action last night, No. 11 Texas defeated No. 3 Oklahoma 4-3, in front of a home crowd of over 1,000 that apparently included both Andy Roddick and John Isner, although Roddick was certainly supporting his brother John, the Sooners head coach, and not the Longhorns.  In nearby College Station, No. 12 Texas A&M defeated No. 7 Georgia 4-1 in a College Match Day contest delayed several hours by rain.

When the Aggies and Bulldogs split first sets, the prospect of the first doubles point of the College Match Day format experiment (at least of those that were streamed by ESPN3) looked good, but Texas A&M secured all three matches that they led, with Harrison Adams, Shane Vinsant and Jeremy Efferding winning at 1, 2 and 3.  Georgia's Hernus Pieters closed on Jordan Szabo at 6 for Georgia's point, but Jackson Withrow clinched for the Aggies, taking out Nick Wood 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 at line 5.  

With only one more ESPN3 streamed College Match Day scheduled, with the unranked Missouri women facing No. 9 Georgia in Athens Sunday, it's unlikely that any doubles points will be played at all. I don't know how that can possibly be spun as a positive, and I hope after tomorrow's match that format will just go away.  Georgia had an important SEC victory last night, defeating No. 7 Texas A&M 4-0 in a match played indoors in Athens.

The ITF Grade 4 in Claremont was completed today, with Walker Duncan and Claire Liu winning the titles.  The No. 6 seed, Duncan defeated unseeded Liam Caruana of the US 7-5, 6-1.  The 17-year-old Georgia recruit did not lose a set in picking up his first ITF singles title.

The 13-year-old Liu now has her first ITF title too, with the No. 16 seed beating No. 3 seed Emma Higuchi of the US 6-4, 6-2 in the final.  Liu didn't lose more than 4 games in any set during the week.

The boys doubles title went to top seeds Kentaro Misushima of Japan and Harrison Scott of Canada, who beat No. 2 seeds Duncan and Emil Reinberg of the US 7-6(2), 6-2.  Ena Shibahara and Savannah Slaysman won the girls doubles title, defeating Liu and Annette Goulak 7-5, 7-5 in a battle of unseeded American teams.

Complete draws for the Claremont ITF can be found here.

Qualifying for the Grade 1 in Carson is underway, and I will be traveling to California Sunday, so check this website for updates and Monday's order of play, although I hope to provide a quick post late Sunday with links.

Dasha Ivanova was the last US player still in action at the Grade A Campeonato Internacional in Brazil, but she lost in the semifinals today to Jil Teichmann of Switzerland 6-2, 6-0. The No. 13 seed Teichmann will play No. 14 seed Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov of Spain in Sunday's final. Bolsova Zadoinov defeated Teichmann in the semifinals of the Grade 1 Banana Bowl last week, which Bolsova Zadoinov went on to win.

Orlando Luz of Brazil will be playing for his third consecutive South American title Sunday, when the No. 6 seed plays No. 9 seed Clement Geens of Belgium.

And finally, ITF World No. 2 junior Stefan Kozlov has been busy this week serving as a hitting partner for ATP No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who takes on Novak Djokovic in the final of the Sony Open on Sunday.  This article by Sandy Harwitt for the Miami Herald explains the challenges that come with that honor, both off and on the court.


5.0 Player said...

Does anyone know why 4 of the 6 players in Pepperdine's lineup did not play in an important conference match against BYU today? The articles mention that these players did not play but never give a reason. Was it due to injury, illness, suspension? I suspect it is due to some sort of suspension because otherwise the articles should explain the situation.

Frankly, this is newsworthy information that should be explained regardless of what the reason was.

russ said...

My guess is that they pulled their top three guys for competitive reasons and the opportunity to give the bottom of their squad a chance to play.

5.0 Player said...

Russ- I appreciate your attempt to come up with a theory, but I don't think it makes any sense. Why would a coach want to do this in such an important conference match? They were playing one of the top teams in their conference at this team's home court. They barely won 4-3. It only makes sense to do this if you're playing a much weaker team or in an unimportant match. This is a critical time for Pepperdine as they may not make the NCAA's for the first time perhaps in history. Why would they start making such suicidal moves now? Also, they pulled FOUR of their top six players from the lineup, not merely 3.

Never sure said...

It really may not be scandalous, they all could have been sick. There are so many things going on with teams or individual players that the public never knows about. I have seen reactions and judgement of a player or entire team last all season based on a single performance where they were playing with the worse case of the flu possible (or injury) but no one knew. Point is, there are a lot of reasons behind moves, some are strategy and some are reactions to things outside of their control. The public doesn't know the real reason 90% of the time. This is the time you give other guys playing time in case they are needed for playoffs - so they aren't shell shocked if they get called up then. If they were sick, it worked, if it was strategy to give other guys some match experience, it worked.

5.0 Player said...

Never Sure - I know that it might not be scandalous and I know that all 4 players might have been sick. That's why I'm asking the question whether anyone knows why all 4 sat out. One thing's for sure is that this was not a strategy by the coach to jeopardize his season by making this choice voluntarily in such an important match.

I do strongly suspect (but I agree that I can never be sure) that suspensions were involved because the coach and the Pepperdine article would have just likely mentioned that these players were sick or injured. The Pepperdine article mentions that those top 4 players did not play and that some of the guys on the bench had to come through for the team. But the article conspicuously never discusses WHY the 4 didn't play.

I'm still waiting for someone to chime in and tell us what they know about the reason those 4 players did not play.

Thank you.

work-hard-tennis said...

The doubles point is the most entertaining point to watch. How disappointing to not play it for the Texas A&M men's match versus Georgia, and the women UGA versus Missouri. The ESPN college match days need to include it more than anything!