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Monday, February 19, 2018

Wake Forest Claims First Men's ITA Team Indoor Title with 4-2 Win Over UCLA

Wake Forest has been among the top teams in the country over the past several years, but today will be remembered as a special day in the program's history, as the Demon Deacons collected their first national title with a 4-2 victory over No. 7 seed UCLA in the ITA Men's Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.

Wake, seeded No. 1, dropped a close doubles point, but they had survived the loss of the doubles point against USC in the quarterfinals, so they had no reason to panic. Wake took the first doubles match at line 3, but a late surge on courts 1 and 2 delivered the point to the Bruins.

In singles, Wake took four first sets, and was up a break in the second set in three of those matches, so UCLA never appeared in control of the match despite their lead after doubles.  Wake's Julian Zlobinsky, a transfer from Texas, gave his team its first point with a 6-3, 6-0 win over freshman Connor Hance at line 6.  Junior Maxime Cressy put UCLA back in the lead with a 6-3, 6-2 win over freshman Rrezart Cungu, who had not played in the singles lineup until today.  In the meantime, UCLA freshman Keegan Smith had taken a 5-2 lead in the second set against senior Skander Mansouri at line 3, and senior Martin Redlicki was up a set and 4-3 over sophomore Borna Gojo at line 1, giving the Bruins a path to their fourth point.

Wake took the lead for the first time when freshman Bar Botzer defeated senior Logan Staggs 6-4, 6-4 at line 4, meaning that UCLA needed both matches still on court.

Smith was unable to serve out the second set, losing four straight games to give Mansouri a chance to close out the championship.  Serving for the match and Wake's fourth point at 6-5 in the second set, Mansouri couldn't reach match point, with Smith hitting two stellar returns to get the break back and send the match to a tiebreaker.  Mansouri got off to a great start in the tiebreaker, going up 4-0, but Smith made it 4-2 at the changeover, just as Redlicki and Gojo had split at line 1, with Gojo taking that tiebreaker 7-3.

Serving at 5-4 in the tiebreaker, Mansouri hit an excellent first serve that Smith couldn't put in play to give himself two match points, but he missed a forehand badly on his own serve to waste the first one. Smith didn't get a first serve in on the second match point, but Mansouri couldn't get a good second serve back in play and they changed ends again. Mansouri earned a third match point with a deft lob winner, but Smith countered again with a sizzling backhand winner to deny Mansouri. At 7-all, Smith netted a backhand that he'd probably like to have back, giving Mansouri a fourth match point, and when Smith's forehand went long, Wake Forest had claimed its first national team title.

The recap of the final from Wake Forest is here. The recap from the UCLA perspective is here.

Wake Forest had been No. 1 in the ITA rankings prior to the tournament, so that will not change, while UCLA will certainly move up, given their wins over No. 2 Ohio State and No. 6 Texas A&M in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

ITA Men’s Division I Team Indoor Championships
Final, February 19, 2018, Seattle WA

No. 1 Wake Forest 4, No. 7 UCLA 2

1. Martin Redlicki/Evan Zhu(UCLA) def. Christian Seraphim/Ian Dempster(Wake), 7-5
2. Keegan Smith/Austin Rapp(UCLA) def. Borna Gojo/Skander Mansouri(Wake), 7-6(3)
3. Petros Chrysochos/Bar Botzer(Wake) def. Maxime Cressy/Bryce Pereira(UCLA), 6-4

Order of finish: 3, 1, 2

1. Martin Redlicki(UCLA) vs Borna Gojo(Wake), 6-4, 6-7(3), unfinished
2. Petros Chrysochos(Wake) def. Evan Zhu(UCLA), 6-3, 6-4
3. Skander Mansouri(Wake) def. Keegan Smith(UCLA), 6-4, 7-6(7)
4. Bar Botzer(Wake) def. Logan Staggs(UCLA), 6-4, 6-4
5. Maxime Cressy(UCLA) def. Rrezart Cungu(Wake), 6-3, 6-2
6. Julian Zlobinsky(Wake) def. Connor Hance(UCLA), 6-3, 6-0

Order of finish:
6, 5, 2, 4, 3


USA said...

How many Americans were in Wake Forest starting singles and doubles lineup today?

Brian de Viliers said...

1 thru 5 foreign and an American at 6 in the singles line up. Now you can see why college tennis struggles, absolutely no interest in watching the foreigners play Needs to be a limit on the rosters, max 25% foreign Was looking at the Lipscomb roster, 8 foreigners and 1 american who gat thumped by Alabama with their 8 foreigners and 2 Americans

False ITA Rankings said...

Something needs to be done with the ITA Women's National Team rankings. They need to go a few more weeks of actual results before the computer rankings come out. This is a JOKE.

#3 Ole Miss
#5 Illinois
#10 Wake Forest
#18 Tennessee
and could continue

There is no chance any of these teams are close to these rankings in May.

paid to win said...

Coaches get paid to win. They could care less about how many foreigners are on their team. College tennis is a joke now anyways. One set of doubles and no add on the singles.