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Monday, February 20, 2017

Virginia Claims Sixth ITA Men's National Team Indoor Title with 4-1 Victory Over Ohio State; Sandgren Wins Second Career Challenger Title in Tempe; Bellis Beats Putintseva; Kecmanovic Feature

Photo courtesy ITA

The University of Virginia won its sixth ITA Men's National Team Indoor title on its home courts Monday, defeating Ohio State 4-1.  The top-seeded Cavaliers hadn't dropped a point in their previous three matches, but the No. 3 Buckeyes still had an opportunity to win, right up until JC Aragone hit a stunning backhand winner to close out Herkko Pollanen 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) gave two-time defending NCAA champion Virginia its first Indoor title since 2013.

The doubles point ended in controversy, after Matt Mendez and Hunter Tubert had saved two match points from 15-40 down at 5-6.  A hindrance call on Tubert, who had heard a call from the crowd and stopped play resulted in the point and the doubles point being awarded to Virginia, with the line 2 doubles match left unfinished.  Bobby Knight has more on the controversy at College Tennis Today.

The singles matches were all close with only Ohio State's Mikael Torpegaard at line 1 and Virginia's Henrik Wiersholm at line 6 avoiding a third set and only Alex Ritschard and Martin Joyce at line 5 not playing a tiebreaker. Since that match went unfinished at 5-6 in the third, it too could have required a tiebreaker, but JC Aragone, who saved a match point serving at 4-5 40-40, prevented that drama.

Highlights of the match can be found on the Virginia Cavaliers YouTube channel.

ITA Men's Team Indoor Final:

1. #55 Luca Corinteli/Carl Soderlund (VA) def. #38 Mikael Torpegaard/Herkko Pollanen (OSU) 6-0
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (VA) vs. #25 Martin Joyce/Hugo Di Feo (OSU) 5-6, unfinished
3. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VA) def. Matt Mendez/Hunter Tubert (OSU) 7-5

1. #2 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU) def. Collin Altamirano (VA) 6-3, 7-6(3)
2. #28 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VA) def. #8 Hugo Di Feo (OSU) 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2
3. Carl Soderlund (VA) vs. JJ Wolf (OSU) 6-3, 6-7(3), 3-5, unfinished
4. #64 J.C. Aragone (VA) def. #47 Herkko Pollanen (OSU) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4)
5. Alexander Ritschard (VA) vs. #77 Martin Joyce (OSU) 6-3, 5-7, 5-6, unfinished
6. Henrik Wiersholm (VA) def. Kyle Seelig (OSU) 7-6(2), 6-2

Match Notes:
Ohio State 12-1; National ranking #3 Virginia 9-0; National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (6,1,2,4)

Rain pushed the final of the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Tempe until today, but for Tennys Sandgren, it was worth the wait.  The unseeded 25-year-old defeated 21-year-old Nikola Milojevic of Serbia 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 to claim his second career Challenger title.  Sandgren, who joins Noah Rubin and Ryan Harrison as American Challenger champions in 2017, moves to a career-high of 161 in the ATP rankings. For more, see the ATP website.

Seventeen-year-old CiCi Bellis returned to the WTA tour last week in Doha, after injuries kept her out of the Australian swing. Although Bellis did not qualify, she did get an opportunity to shake off the rust and today in Dubai, she defeated No. 17 seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-1, 7-5 for her first main draw win of the year.  Bellis, now ranked a career-high 70, spoke to WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen about today's win.

Qualifying was completed today at the $15,000 Futures in Indian Harbour Beach Florida, with Mico Santiago, Hunter Callahan(Ohio State) and Raleigh Smith(Northwestern) the Americans earning a place in the main draw.  Ramkumar Ramanathan of India is the top seed and Tommy Paul is the No. 2 seed.  Gianni Ross, Patrick Kypson, Mark Oljaca and Liam Caruana of Italy received main draw wild cards. Oljaca will face ITF World No. 1 junior Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in the first round.  The 17-year-old IMG Academy product is the subject of this in-depth feature in the New York Times.