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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Georgia and North Carolina Reach ITA Women's Team Indoor Final; Ohio State Men Win 200th Straight Home Match; Maria Downs Chirico for Dow Corning Tennis Classic Title

The finals are set for the ITA Women's Team Indoor, with No. 8 seed Georgia and No. 3 seed North Carolina advancing to Monday's championship match.

Georgia defeated No. 5 seed Cal 4-2, earning the doubles point and getting three singles wins from freshman Kennedy Shaffer at 3, and sophomore Caroline Brinson at 6, with freshman Hannah King clinching for the second day in a row at 5. This is Georgia's first trip to the Team Indoor finals since 2009, where they lost to Northwestern 4-1.  The Bulldogs last won the Team Indoor title in 2002.  The recap from the school's website is here.
#9 Georgia 4, #5 Cal 2
Feb 8, 2015
1. #5 Maegen Manasse (CAL) vs. #19 Lauren Herring (UGA) 7-6, 2-4, unfinished
2. #78 Klara Fabikova (CAL) def. Ellen Perez (UGA) 6-2, 6-2
3. Kennedy Shaffer (UGA) def. #14 Zsofi Susanyi (CAL) 6-3, 6-4
4. #64 Denise Starr (CAL) def. #83 Silvia Garcia (UGA) 6-3, 7-5
5. #91 Hannah King (UGA) def. #30 Karla Popovic (CAL) 7-5, 6-3
6. Caroline Brinson (UGA) def. Cecilia Estlander (CAL) 6-2, 6-4

1. #4 Maegen Manasse/Denise Starr (CAL) def. Lauren Herring/Ellen Perez (UGA) 6-3
2. Silvia Garcia/Kennedy Shaffer (UGA) def. #9 Klara Fabikova/Zsofi Susanyi (CAL) 6-3
3. Hannah King/Caroline Brinson (UGA) def. Stephane Lin/Karla Popovic (CAL) 6-1

Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,3,6,4,5)
While Georgia has had a dry spell as far as the Team Indoor goes, their opponent in the final, No. 3 seed North Carolina, won the championship just two years ago, also at the Boars Head Sport Club in Charlottesville, defeating UCLA 4-3. Freshman Whitney Kay and sophomore Caroline Price played in that final, both collecting wins, with Kay securing the championship for the Tar Heels, their first national team title, with a third-set tiebreaker victory. Both posted singles victories today in North Carolina's 4-0 win over No. 2 seed Florida, which was closer than the score might indicate.  Florida, who had mounted two impressive comebacks over Clemson and host Virginia in the first two rounds, were forced to complete without their No. 2 player, freshman Josie Kuhlman, who was out with an illness.

North Carolina won the doubles point, and Price quickly made it 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Belinda Woolcock at No. 3. North Carolina had won five first sets in the singles, but even short-handed, Florida wasn't to be taken lightly, given their comebacks the past two days. Florida forced third sets at No. 1 and No. 2, but the deficit was just too great for the Gators. Kay closed out Peggy Porter at No. 4 and moments later, Ashley Dai, the only Tar Heel to lose the opening set, clinched the win, beating Kourtney Keegan 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 5.  For more on the North Carolina victory, click here.
#3 North Carolina 4, #2 Florida 0
Feb 8, 2015
1. #6 Brooke Austin (UF) vs. #8 Jamie Loeb (NC) 6-7(3), 7-5, 2-2, unfinished
2. #9 Brianna Morgan (UF) vs. #31 Hayley Carter (NC) 3-6, 6-4, 1-3, unfinished
3. #22 Caroline Price (NC) def. #11 Belinda Woolcock (UF) 6-1, 6-1
4. Whitney Kay (NC) def. #43 Peggy Porter (UF) 7-6(2), 7-6(4)
5. Ashley Dai (NC) def. #40 Kourtney Keegan (UF) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
6. #26 Spencer Liang (UF) vs. Kate Vialle (NC) 5-7, 5-5, unfinished

1. #7 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (UF) def. #13 Ashley Dai/Kate Vialle (NC) 6-1
2. Jamie Loeb/Caroline Price (NC) def. #17 Brianna Morgan/Belinda Woolcock (UF) 6-4
3. Hayley Carter/Whitney Kay (NC) def. #25 Spencer Liang/Peggy Porter (UF) 6-2

Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (3,4,5)

The final will be live streamed at the University of Virginia website, with the match beginning at 11 a.m. Monday.

In men's college tennis, the Ohio State Buckeyes won their 200th straight match at home, beating University of South Florida 4-0, and extending the record for all NCAA sports they set last year.  I wrote an article about the streak for the Tennis Recruiting Network back in 2013, before they set the record. Here's the account of their 4-3 win over Northwestern last spring that set the record.

At the $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Midland, No. 6 seed Tatjana Maria of Germany defeated 18-year-old Louisa Chirico 6-2, 6-0 to take the title, her first at that level since 2009.  The 27-year-old used her impressive defensive skills and fine serving (6 aces, 0 double faults) to frustrate Chirico, who didn't seem nervous in her first $100,000 final, but missed routine shots nonetheless.  On serve at 1-2 in the first set, Chirico, seeded eighth, led 40-0, but lost the next five points, and she managed to win only one more game after that. Chirico's serve can produce free points, but not in Sunday's final, as she double faulted five times and had no aces.  Maria's speed may have contributed to Chirico's misses in the second set, as she tried too hard to make her shots into winners, no easy task against Maria.  The win moves Maria up to 113 in the WTA rankings, and with her run to the final, Chirico moves to 149, her career high.

In the doubles final, France's Julie Coin(Clemson) and Great Britain's Emily Webley Smith won a tight one from Jacqueline Cako(Arizona State) and Sachia Vickery 4-6, 7-6(4), 11-9. Neither team was seeded.

At the $100,000 Dallas Challenger, Tim Smyczek won the all-American final, taking the title when Rajeev Ram retired due to illness down 6-2, 4-1.  The doubles title went to world junior No. 1 Andrey Rublev of Russia and his partner Denys Molchanov of Ukraine.

In the ATP Memphis qualifying, Michael Mmoh fell just short of reaching the final round of qualifying, losing to No. 4 seed Victor Hanescu of Romania 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4.  Five Americans did advance to the final round of qualifying, with 2014 NCAA champion Marcos Giron to play Austin Krajicek, and Denis Kudla taking on Robby Ginepri.  Ryan Harrison also reached the final round of qualifying, where he will play to seed Filip Krajinovic of Serbia.

American juniors fell short at the ITF Grade 2 Inka Bowl in Peru, with Alexandra Sanford and Sofia Sewing both losing in the singles semifinals, and Sanford and Dominique Schaefer of Peru falling in the doubles final.  Both top seeds, both from Argentina, won the singles titles. Franco Capalbo, who won last week's Grade 1 in Ecuador, defeated Geronimo Espin Busleiman of Argentina 6-1, 6-3 in the final. 
The girls title went to Julieta Estable, a finalist at the Grade 1 the previous week. She defeated unseeded Jaqueline Cristian of Romania 7-5, 6-3.

At the Grade 4 in Switzerland, Notre Dame recruit Alexander Lebedev won the doubles title. He and Luca Castelnuovo of Switzerland, the top seeds, beat the unseeded Swiss team of Patrick Hartmeier and Noel Kunz 6-3, 6-3 in the final.