Cal Holds Off Furious Ohio State Comeback to Join Virginia, Oklahoma and Georgia in Men's Semifinals; Division III Team Championships Begin Monday in Kalamazoo; Blanch Falls in Milan Final
After winning the doubles point and taking five first sets in singles, No. 13 seed Cal looked to be in the best possible position against No. 5 seed Ohio State. The Buckeyes charged back however, with Cal's Florian Lakat needing to claim a dramatic third-set tiebreaker over Mikael Torpegaard to secure the Bears' 4-3 victory.
After taking the doubles point with wins at 2 and 3, Cal won the first set on courts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Only Martin Joyce, undefeated at line 6 in dual matches in his freshman year, took a first set, meaning Ohio State would need to force third sets in three of the matches, plus collect the point from Joyce, to pull off the improbable comeback. Signs of that turnaround were scarce, with Filip Bergevi making it 2-0 Cal with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Ralf Steinbach at line 4. Joyce took out J.T. Nishimura 6-3, 6-2 to make it 2-1, then Torpegaard got a split at line 1, and Hugo Di Feo earned a split at line 3 with Billy Griffith, giving Buckeye fans hope.
Cal picked up point No. 3 with Oskar Wikberg's 6-4, 6-3 over Herkko Pollanen at line 5, meaning Cal needed just one of the three matches remaining.
Ohio State's Chris Diaz was up a break serving at 4-3 in the second set against Andre Goransson, the hero of Cal's 4-3 win over No. 4 seed TCU on Friday, but fell behind 0-40. He won the next four points to take a 5-3 lead, then broke to send that match to a third set. Di Feo closed out Griffith 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, so all the fans of both teams could collect behind Tulsa's courts 3 and 4. Diaz and Goransson were on serve early in the third set when Torpegaard broke Lakat to take a 5-3 lead. At 30-all, Torpegaard, who had had trouble with his serve when trying to close out Virginia Tech in the second round, then double faulted twice to put the match back on serve. Lakat held at love for 5-5, then took a 6-5 lead when Torpegaard missed a forehand serving at 30-40. Lakat served well to start the close out game, getting to 40-15, but missed a forehand, then committed a wild double fault to make send the game to the deciding point. It was quite a point, with over 30 shots in the rally, with Lakat sending a forehand just long, giving Torpegaard the game and another chance for Ohio State.
Meanwhile, Diaz had gone up 5-2 over a tired looking Goransson, and he finished off the match 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, while Lakat was taking a 3-0 lead in the tiebreaker. Torpegaard got the mini-break back for 3-3, but surrendered another to give Lakat a 5-4 lead. Lakat gave it right back after Torpegaard's excellent return handcuffed him, but Lakat held the next point to earn his fourth match point. Torpegaard came up with a perfectly executed drop shot to save it, but missed a backhand to give Lakat a fifth chance to close out the match. After a long rally, Torpegaard went for a big forehand angle, but it went wide, sending Cal into the Final Four for the first time since 1991.
Top seed Virginia has had no such drought, making the semifinals in nine of the last ten years with its 4-0 win over No. 9 seed Florida today. The Cavaliers took the doubles point with wins at lines 1 and 3, then took the first sets in all six matches. Florida did force one third set, but Henrik Wiersholm at 6, Thai Kwiatkowski at 3 and Alexander Ritschard at 4 closed out their matches in straight sets by winning tiebreakers to end Florida's season.
No. 12 Oklahoma and No. 3 UCLA battled for three hours and twenty minutes before the Sooners collected their 4-3 victory. Oklahoma took the doubles point with a win in the tiebreaker at line 2, and took first sets in three matches. UCLA needed to force a third set, which they did, with Mackenzie McDonald taking the second set from Andrew Harris at line 1, but Oklahoma also forced a third set, with Andre Biro coming from 4-2 down in the second set against Joe DiGiulio at line 6 to take it 7-5. Oklahoma got a win from Spencer Papa at line 3 to make it 2-0, but Karue Sell put UCLA on the board with a win at line 4. Oklahoma got its third point from Florin Bragusi at line 5 making it 3-1 Sooners, with Martin Redlicki countering at line 2 for the Bruins to slice the lead to 3-2.
McDonald served for the match against Harris at 5-3 but didn't get to match point. Harris held for 5-5 and McDonald took a 6-5 lead with a tense hold putting the pressure back on Harris. Harris was in trouble from the start and even an amazing contorting volley to make it 30-30 wasn't enough. McDonald made a backhand pass from way deep in the court too tough for Harris to handle to get to match point, and then hit a clean forehand winner to put the Bruins' third point on the board.
DiGiulio had taken a 2-0 lead in the third set against Biro, but Biro reeled off four games in a row. DiGiulio won a deciding point to stay close at 4-3, but Biro held for 5-3. In the final game, DiGiulio went up 30-0, but he made errors, while Biro did not and Biro ended the match with an overhead winner, delighting the large crowd of Oklahoma fans.
The men's and women's semifinals are both scheduled for Monday, and the women's matches have been moved to 11 a.m. Eastern due to the threat of rain later in the day. The men's semifinals have not been changed as of now, with a 5 p.m. Eastern start.
For more, see Tulsa's tournament central.
NCAA Division I Men’s Quarterfinals
#13 California(21-6) def. #5 Ohio State(33-2) 4-3
1. Herkko Pollanen/Mikael Torpegaard (Ohio State) def. #9 Filip Bergevi/Florian Lakat (California), 6-1
2. Andre Goransson/Oskar Wikberg (California) def. Martin Joyce/Ralf Steinbach (Ohio State), 6-3
3. Mads Engsted/J.T. Nishimura (California) def. Hugo Di Feo/Matt Mendez (Ohio State), 6-3
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2
1. #30 Florian Lakat (California) def. #1 Mikael Torpegaard (Ohio State), 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(6)
2. #88 Chris Diaz (Ohio State) def. #31 Andre Goransson (California), 5-7, 6-3, 6-2
3. #45 Hugo Di Feo (Ohio State) def. #85 Billy Griffith (California), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
4. #119 Filip Bergevi (California) def. Ralf Steinbach (Ohio State), 6-4, 6-2
5. #124 Oskar Wikberg (California) def. #103 Herkko Pollanen (Ohio State), 6-4, 6-3
6. Martin Joyce (Ohio State) def. J.T. Nishimura (California), 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: 4, 6, 5, 3, 2, 1
#1 Virginia (28-4) def. #9 Florida (21-7) 4-0
Head Coaches: Brian Boland (Virginia) and Bryan Shelton (Florida)
1. #4 Luca Corinteli/Ryan Shane (Virginia) def. #1 Diego Hidalgo/Gordon Watson (Florida), 6-3
2. #16 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Mac Styslinger (Virginia) vs. #80 Maxx Lipman/Elliott Orkin (Florida), 5-5 DNF
3. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (Virginia) def. Alfredo Perez/Chase Perez-Blanco (Florida), 6-3
Order of Finish: 1, 3
1. #8 Ryan Shane (Virginia) vs. #10 Diego Hidalgo (Florida), 6-3, 4-6, 3-1 DNF
2. #33 Collin Altamirano (Virginia) vs. #53 Alfredo Perez (Florida), 6-4, 5-4 DNF
3. #9 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Virginia) def. #37 Elliott Orkin (Florida), 7-6(2), 6-2
4. #78 Alexander Ritschard (Virginia) def. #120 Chase Perez-Blanco (Florida), 6-3, 7-6(4)
5. #110 J.C. Aragone (Virginia) vs. Gordon Watson (Florida), 7-6(2), 4-6, 2-2 DNF
6. Henrik Wiersholm (Virginia) def. McClain Kessler (Florida), 6-4, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6, 3, 4
#7 Georgia(24-4) def. #2 North Carolina(28-5) 4-0
Head Coaches: Sam Paul (North Carolina) and Manuel Diaz (Georgia)
1. #11 Austin Smith/Ben Wagland (Georgia) def. #27 Jack Murray/Brayden Schnur (North Carolina), 7-5
2. Paul Oosterbaan/Jan Zielinski (Georgia) def. Anu Kodali/Ronnie Schneider (North Carolina), 6-3
3. Blaine Boyden/Brett Clark (North Carolina) def. Wayne Montgomery/Emil Reinberg (Georgia), 6-2 Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
1. #26 Brayden Schnur (North Carolina) vs. #17 Austin Smith (Georgia), 6-4, 5-3 DNF
2. #32 Wayne Montgomery (Georgia) vs. #28 Ronnie Schneider (North Carolina), 6-3, 3-3 DNF 3. #46 Brett Clark (North Carolina) vs. #64 Paul Oosterbaan (Georgia), 6-2, 5-3 DNF
4. #123 Walker Duncan (Georgia) def. Jack Murray (North Carolina), 6-3, 6-0
5. Jan Zielinski (Georgia) def. Anu Kodali (North Carolina), 6-4, 6-2
6. Nick Wood (Georgia) def. Blaine Boyden (North Carolina), 6-3, 6-1
Order of Finish: 4, 6, 5
#11 Oklahoma(19-10) def. #3 UCLA(25-3) 4-3
Head Coaches: Billy Martin (UCLA) and John Roddick (Oklahoma)
1. #24 Axel Alvarez/Andrew Harris (Oklahoma) def. #2 Mackie McDonald/Martin Redlicki (UCLA), 6-3
2. Alex Ghilea/Spencer Papa (Oklahoma) def. Joseph Di Giulio/Karue Sell (UCLA), 7-6(4)
3. Maxime Cressy/Austin Rapp (UCLA) def. Andre Biro/Austin Siegel (Oklahoma), 6-1
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2
1. #6 Mackie McDonald (UCLA) def. #97 Andrew Harris (Oklahoma), 3-6, 6-2, 7-5
2. #38 Martin Redlicki (UCLA) def. #25 Axel Alvarez (Oklahoma), 7-5, 7-6(5)
3. #82 Spencer Papa (Oklahoma) def. #58 Gage Brymer (UCLA), 6-3, 7-5
4. #101 Karue Sell (UCLA) def. #61 Alex Ghilea (Oklahoma), 7-6(3), 6-3
5. Florin Bragusi (Oklahoma) def. Logan Staggs (UCLA), 6-4, 7-5
6. Andre Biro (Oklahoma) def. Joseph Di Giulio (UCLA), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
Order of Finish: 3, 4, 5, 2, 1, 6
I will now turn my attention to the Division III championships, which are being held here in Kalamazoo beginning Monday morning at 8:30 a.m.
The schedule is below, and I will be glad to be watching live tennis again. While I truly appreciate the live streaming from Tulsa, making the past four days of coverage possible, the lack of sound is undeniably a drawback. It's difficult to gauge the atmosphere, so I am happy I'll be ensconced in Stowe Tower, with at least two great days of weather ahead, where I can see and hear the action leading to NCAA National Championships.
8:30 a.m. Men’s match - Emory(1) v. Kenyon (Stowe Stadium)
8:30 a.m. Men’s match - Bowdoin(4) v. Johns Hopkins (Sorensen Courts)
11 a.m. Men’s match - Claremont-M-S(2) v. Chicago(7) (Stowe Stadium)
11 a.m. Men’s match - Middlebury(3) v. Washington-St. Louis(6) (Sorensen Courts)
2 p.m. Women’s match - Emory(1) v. Washington-St. Louis (Stowe Stadium)
2 p.m. Women’s match - Amherst(4) v. Middlebury (Sorensen Courts)
5 p.m. Women’s match - Williams(2) v. Chicago (7)(Stowe Stadium)
5 p.m. Women’s match - Claremont-Mudd-Scripps v. Bowdoin(6) (Sorensen Courts)
There will be live scoring and video, with links to those and the draws at the Kalamazoo College tournament central.
At the ITF Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and Olesya Pervushina of Russia claimed their first Grade A titles with straight set victories. No. 2 seed Tsitsipas defeated No. 5 seed Ulises Blanch 6-4, 6-3 in the boys final, with No. 5 seed Pervushina beating qualifier Kaja Juvan of Slovenia 6-4, 6-0 in the girls championship match.
This week the ITF junior clay circuit moves to the Grade 1 in Belgium, with eight US boys and three US girls in the main draw.