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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Stanford Wins Another, Wake Forest Claims First NCAA Team Championship; D-I Singles Championships Begin Wednesday; Defending Champions Fall in D-III Semifinals; Few American Left in Milan Grade A; Roland Garros Qualifying Continues

One of the two NCAA Division I team champions crowned today was a No. 15 seed and one was a top seed, but determining which was most unexpected winner isn't an easy task.

On the one hand, Wake Forest, who beat No. 3 seed Ohio State 4-2 for the men's title, was the top seed, the ITA National Indoor champion and playing at home, but until this week they had never reached the NCAA semifinals, let alone played in the title match. On the other hand, Stanford, who beat top seed Vanderbilt 4-3, had lost to the Commodores 7-0 earlier this year, didn't play the ITA National Indoor and kept losing the doubles point, but they were playing in their third straight final, and have a long history of coming through at the end of the season.

The Cardinal again lost the doubles point, for the third time in their four matches at the Wake Forest finals site, with Vanderbilt winning at lines 1 and 2 to counter Vanderbilt's win at line 3.

But it didn't take long for Stanford to assert itself in singles, winning five first sets, while Vanderbilt's Astra Sharma got their only first set at line 1 against Michaela Gordon.

Emma Higuchi tied the match with a 6-3, 6-2 win at line 6, with Higuchi winning her 17th straight match.  Caroline Lampl closed out Vanderbilt's Christina Rosca 6-4, 6-2 to give Stanford a 2-1 lead, but it didn't last long, with Sharma, who was cramping at the end, managing a 7-6(2), 6-3 win over Gordon to make it 2-2.

Stanford's road got a little rockier when Vanderbilt's Fernanda Contreras earned a split over Melissa Lord at line 2 and Amanda Meyer took the second set from Stanford's Emily Arbuthnott at line 4.

Janice Shin gave the Cardinal a little breathing room by beating Emma Kurtz 6-3, 6-3 at line 5, so Vanderbilt needed the last two matches.  Meyer delivered one, beating Arbuthnott 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, but Lord had already had a championship point come and go in her match with Contreras, serving for the match at 5-3 in the third after winning three straight deciding points for that lead. Down 15-40 serving for the title, Lord hit two big first serves to get to yet another deciding point, but this one she lost, with Contreras putting away a forehand winner to deny Lord the championship point.

In the rare game that didn't go to a deciding point, Contreras held for 5-5, but returning to the theme of the match, Lord held for 6-5 on yet another deciding point (I don't know how, as the stream went out right at that juncture). That meant Contreras had to hold serve to force a tiebreaker, but she fell behind 15-40. Contreras saved the first of those three match points with a backhand into the open court, but at 30-40, her forehand clipped the tape and fell back on her side to give Stanford its 19th NCAA team title and second in the past three years.

No. 15 Stanford 4, No. 2 Vanderbilt 3
1) No. 11 Contreras/Sharma (VANDY) d. No. 3 Arbuthnott/Gordon (STAN) 6-3
2) No. 69 Kurtz/Smith (VANDY) d. No. 84 Lampl/Kimberly Yee (STAN) 6-4
3) Lord/Shin (STAN) d. Meyer/Rosca (VANDY) 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2

1) No. 11 Astra Sharma (VANDY) d. No. 15 Michaela Gordon (STAN) 7-6 (3), 6-3
2) No. 40 Melissa Lord (STAN) d. No. 10 Fernanda Contreras (VANDY) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
3) No. 93 Caroline Lampl (STAN) d. No. 44 Chris Rosca (VANDY) 6-4, 6-2
4) Amanda Meyer (VANDY) d. No. 43 Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
5) No. 96 Janice Shin (STAN) d. Emma Kurtz (VANDY) 6-3, 6-3
6) No. 102 Emma Higuchi (STAN) d. Summer Dvorak (VANDY) 6-3, 6-2

Order of Finish: 6, 3, 1, 5, 4, 2

The crowds were large for the home team, and fortunately, after a frustratingly wet weekend and a late night on Monday due to rain and lightning delays, the weather cooperated. With fans supporting them from all over the Tennis Complex, Wake Forest took the doubles point, with wins at 1 and 2, with line 3 in a tiebreaker when Wake clinched.

The teams split first sets, meaning Ohio State had to force a third set in order to win, but the Buckeyes were unable to do that. Wake Forest couldn't accomplish that either, with all five completed matches ending in straight sets.  

Ohio State got on the board quickly with Kyle Seelig's 6-2, 6-2 win over Alan Gadjiev at line 5, followed closely by Wake's Petros Chrysochos's 6-1, 6-3 victory over JJ Wolf at line 2. Martin Joyce made it 2-2 with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Christian Seraphim at line 6, but Skander Mansouri put Wake back on top 3-2 with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over John McNally at line 3.  

Ohio State looked to be heading to that third set they had to have when Tim Seibert went up 5-2 on Bar Botzer in the second set, after Botzer had taken the first set 6-4.  Seibert, who hadn't played in the previous three matches at the finals site, couldn't serve out the set at 5-3, with Botzer's passes just too precise for the net-charging freshman. Botzer held for 5-all, then broke Seibert, who missed an easy putaway volley well wide to give Botzer a chance to serve it out.  He did, triggering a celebration befitting a home team's win, the first since the Georgia men won in Athens in 2007.  Botzer was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

1. #21 Borna Gojo/Skander Mansouri (WF) def. JJ Wolf/Martin Joyce (OSU) 7-5
2. #35 Petros Chrysochos/Bar Botzer (WF) def. #61 Mikael Torpegaard/John McNally (OSU) 7-5
3. #48 Ian Dempster/Christian Seraphim (WF) vs. Matt Mendez/Hunter Tubert (OSU) 6-6, unfinished

1. #7 Borna Gojo (WF) vs. #6 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU) 4-6, 6-6, unfinished
2. #4 Petros Chrysochos (WF) def. #41 JJ Wolf (OSU) 6-1, 6-3
3. #38 Skander Mansouri (WF) def. #92 John McNally (OSU) 6-2, 6-2
4. Bar Botzer (WF) def. Tim Seibert (OSU) 6-4, 7-5
5. #96 Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Alan Gadjiev (WF) 6-2, 6-2
6. Martin Joyce (OSU) def. Christian Seraphim (WF) 6-1, 6-3

Match Notes:
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (5,2,3,6,4)

The NCAA singles championships begin tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.  Bianca Turati of Texas is the top seed in the women's event.  The men's event has seen a large number of withdrawals, with the alternate list now exhausted.  Martin Redlicki of UCLA is the No. 1 seed. Live scores and streaming is available at the Wake Forest tournament page.

The Division III Team Championship finals will be held on Wednesday in Claremont California.  In the men's final, the top seed Bowdoin will square off against No. 2 seed Middlebury.  Bowdoin beat No. 5 seed Chicago 5-0 and Middlebury took out defending champion and No. 6 seed Emory 5-3, after Emory had taken two of three doubles points.

The women's D-III final, will, like the men's D-I final, feature the home team, with No.  2 seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps facing top seed Emory.  CMS defeated defending champion Williams 5-3, while Emory squeezed past No. 5 seed Middlebury 5-4.  See the CMS tournament page for links to video and scoring for the finals, which begin with the men's championship at 11 a.m. Pacific on Wednesday. 

At the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan, only one US girl remains: unseeded Peyton Stearns.  Caty McNally, Katie Volynets and Gabby Price lost first round matches today, while Kacie Harvey lost in the second round.  Three US boys have advanced to the second round: Keenan Mayo won yesterday and he is joined by Govind Nanda and Tyler Zink.  Drew Baird[9] and qualifier Siem Woldeab lost first round matches today, while Cannon Kingsley and Tristan Boyer[6] lost in the second round.  

Live scoring for the tournament is at Tennis Ticker.  Tommy Hemp has more coverage from today's matches in Milan at Tennis Underworld.

Rain cut short qualifying today at Roland Garros, with some women's first round matches being postponed. The men completed their first round, but only one American was able to advance to the second round, Reilly Opelka. Kevin King, Bradley Klahn and Stefan Kozlov lost their opening matches, with Denis Kudla[7], who won yesterday, the only other American to advance. He plays again on Wednesday.

Caroline Dolehide[17], Nicole Gibbs[8] and Grace Min are through to the second round, with Jamie Loeb up a set in her first round match when play was cancelled for the day.  Irina Falconi, who lost to Dolehide, and Kayla Day are out, with Danielle Lao, Claire Liu, Francesca DiLorenzo and Kristie Ahn on the schedule for Wednesday.


question said...

How is it possible to field a team of 6 foreign singles players on 4.5 scholarships? Congrats to Stanford women, they always peak at the right time.