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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Vanderbilt Women, Texas A&M Men Take SEC Tournament Titles; Kalinina, Jung Win Pro Circuit Events

Rain caused difficulties for most of the Division I college tennis matches today, including the SEC tournament finals, even though one was in South Carolina and the other was in Texas. 

The women's final between No. 2 seed Georgia and No. 4 seed Vanderbilt was played indoors in Columbia from the start, and with only four courts, it's no surprise it took over five hours to complete.  Vanderbilt took the doubles point and went up 3-0 with wins by Frances Altick and Astra Sharma at lines 3 and 2. Lauren Herring put Georgia on the board with a win at 1 and so it remained for a long stretch, as lines No. 5 and 6 began their matches.  Georgia eventually tied it with wins from Hannah King at 6 and Kennedy Shaffer at 4, but Maria Cesares clinched the 4-3 win for Vanderbilt with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory at No. 5 over Caroline Brinson, avenging the Commodores loss to Georgia in Athens earlier this year.

In the men's final between No. 1 seed Georgia and No. 2 seed Texas A&M, rain caused a two-hour disruption in College Station with Texas A&M leading 3-2.  The Aggies won the doubles point and got points from AJ Catanzariti at 5 and Arthur Rinderknech at 3, while Georgia's points came from Ben Wagland at 4 and Paul Oosterbaan at 6.  Both matches at 1 and 2 were deep into the third set when the rain came, but it was Texas A&M that came out strong in the resumption of play.  Jeremy Efferding won the last three games of the match against Austin Smith at 1 to clinch the 4-2 win for the Aggies.

The SEC was the only one of the Big 5 conferences having their tournaments this weekend, so for the ACC, Pac-12, Big 10 and Big 12 the final weekend of conference play proved to be primarily focused on shares of the regular season title and seedings for next week's conference tournaments.  Three teams did secure outright, sole possession conference titles.  The University of Virginia men won the ACC and finished undefeated in conference play for the ninth consecutive year. The North Carolina women won the conference title with a perfect record--they have yet to lose this year period.  The third team to take a conference title by themselves is the Michigan women, who defeated Ohio State and Penn State this weekend to go undefeated in Big Ten play this season.

Those three teams have provided some certainty in a year notably free of it, and today there was another surprise, with the unranked Georgia Tech men defeating No. 8 Duke 4-3 indoors in Atlanta.  Carlos Benito defeated Raphael Hemmeler 7-6(11), 3-6, 6-3 to clinch the win for Georgia Tech.

Rain also complicated the Pro Circuit events in Pelham, Alabama and Little Rock, Arkansas this week, but they did manage to finish today.

US Open girls finalist Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine won her second consecutive $25,000 title in the US, winning both a semifinal and a final today in Pelham.  Unseeded, Kalinina beat No. 1 seed Lin Zhu of China 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals and took out No. 2 seed Laura Siegemund of Germany 6-3, 7-5 in the final.  Kalinina, who won the $25,000 tournament in Jackson, Mississippi the week prior to this one, also reached the semifinals of the $50,000 tournament in Osprey. The doubles competition was cancelled due to rain.

Former University of Michigan Wolverine Jason Jung won his third career Futures titles in singles in Little Rock, with the No. 3 seed defeating No. 4 seed Darian King of Barbados 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the final of the $15,000 event.  South Africa's Keith-Patrick Crowley (Miami) and Mexico's Hans Hach won the doubles title, beating Eric Quigley(Kentucky) and Matt Seeberger(UC-Santa Cruz) 6-3, 1-6, 10-7 in the final.

At the Sarasota Challenger, No. 2 seed Federico Delbonis won an all-Argentine final, beating No. 6 seed Facundo Bagnis 6-4, 6-2.