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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Di Lorenzo Reaches National Indoor Final; Tiafoe, Rybakov, Crawford Play for USTA Pro Circuit Titles Sunday; Chirico Beats Schiavone to Advance to Limoges $125K Final

Eighteen-year-old freshman Francesca Di Lorenzo, who received a wild card into the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, defeated Miami senior Stephanie Wagner 6-4, 6-4 in Saturday semifinals to set up a meeting with another veteran, Joana Eidukonyte of Clemson in Sunday's final.

Di Lorenzo won all four of the no-ad deciding points in the first set, using a blistering backhand to keep the hard-hitting German from moving into the court. Di Lorenzo maintained her focus in the second set, and again proved more consistently aggressive on the big points, taking a 5-3 lead and holding to love to close out the No. 8 seed.

Eidukonyte had advanced in the previous match, defeating No. 7 seed Belinda Woolcock of Florida 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in just under two-and-a-half hours.

Ohio State has never had an Indoor finalist, while Clemson's Ani Mijacika twice made the final, in 2007 and 2008, losing both times to Arkansas' Aurelija Miseviciute.

The men's final will have the only seeded player in either final, with No. 3 seed Dominik Koepfer of Tulane taking on unseeded Andre Goransson of Cal.

Goransson used some outstanding defense to defeat Georgia Tech's Chris Eubanks 7-5, 1-6, 7-5.  After 10 straight holds and no deciding points in the first set, Goransson broke at 5-5 then served out the first set. In the second set, Eubanks stepped up his game, which was impressive throughout with its sheer power, and went up a break in the third, but Goransson got the break right back. He continued to go all out in his efforts to get the big shots of Eubanks back in play and with Eubanks up 30-0 serving at 5-6 in the final game, Goransson used a new tactic. Twice he took returns early and moved forward, winning both points and then earned two match points when a Eubanks shot went just long. Eubanks saved the first match point with a forehand winner, but the deciding point went to Goransson when Eubanks netted a forehand after a rally.

Koepfer defeated unseeded Joao Monteiro of Virginia Tech 6-4, 6-4 to make his second major final, having also reached the championship match of the ITA All-American last month.  Tulane has had one Indoor finalist and Cal has had two, but whoever wins will be the first champion from their school. This is the first time since 2006 that an American has failed to reach the Indoor final. In 2006, UCLA's Benjamin Kohlloeffel defeated Ohio State's Steven Moneke in an all-German championship match.

The men's doubles championship will be between No. 2 seeds Brett Clark and Robert Kelly of North Carolina and Hugo Dojas and Felipe Soares of Texas Tech.

Kentucky's Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi, seeded No. 3, will take on No. 4 seeds Hayley Carter and Whitney Kay of North Carolina for the women's doubles title.

All four semifinal matches were live streamed on ESPN 3, and are available for replay.  The commentary team of Patrick McEnroe and Stephen Amritraj did an excellent job, with USTA National Collegiate Coach Amritraj's knowledge of the players a huge plus.  The camera angle was not ideal, but that's a minor issue in the overall scheme of things and I'm very appreciative of being able to watch the matches on my computer.

Tomorrow's finals begin at 10:00 am, with the women's final first, and the will also be live streamed at ESPN 3 or Watch ESPN.

Complete results, including consolation results, can be found at the ITA tournament page.

Frances Tiafoe reached his second Challenger final of the year and the first since Tallahassee this spring, defeating Dennis Novikov 6-4, 6-4 in this morning's semifinal in Knoxville.  Tiafoe trailed 4-1 in the second set, but his backhand was particularly effective throughout the match and he seized the opportunities Novikov provided him late in the second set. A second straight all-US teen Challenger final was thwarted by Great Britain's Dan Evans, who defeated Jared Donaldson 6-3, 6-4 in the day's first semifinal.

Alex Rybakov will play in his first Futures final on Sunday in Niceville, Florida after the 18-year-old TCU recruit defeated Andrew Carter 6-2, 6-1.  Rybakov, who has yet to drop a set in the $10,000 event, will play top seed Bastian Trinker of Austria, who outlasted Jean-Yves Aubone 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-1.

Samantha Crawford kept her hopes alive for an Australian Open wild card, saving a match point en route to beating No. 5 seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(2) in a match that lasted nearly three hours at the Scottsdale $50,000 tournament.  The 20-year-old will face Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland, last week's winner in Waco, who defeated wild card Robin Anderson 6-3, 6-3.  If Crawford wins the title, she will get the wild card, as current leaders Nicole Gibbs and Anna Tatishvili reached finals the past two weeks, but did not win.

Nineteen-year-old Louisa Chirico will play in the biggest final of her career on Sunday in Limoges, a WTA $125,000 event.  Chirico defeated Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-3, 7-6(5) in the semifinals today, and will face No. 3 seed and WTA No. 35 Caroline Garcia of France in Sunday's final.