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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Chicago Claims First ITA D-III Men's Team Indoor Championship; Qualifier Mintegi, Unseeded Tirante Win Grade A Porto Alegre Titles; Gibbs Defeats Ahn to Capture Rancho Santa Fe $25K

Defending Men's Division III Indoor champion and No. 2 seed Emory had a look at a four-peat, but top seed Chicago recovered to take its first National Indoor title by a 5-3 score. Chicago had a 2-1 lead after doubles, although they were a point from sweeping until Emory came through in a tiebreaker at line 3.  But the defending champions came out strong in singles, winning four first sets at the 1, 2, 3, 4 positions, and if they had been able to hold those leads, they could claim their fourth straight title. But Jeremy Yuan of Chicago forced a third set at line 2 and claimed that point, while it was freshman Alex Guzhva at line 5 who delivered the fifth point, taking out Andrew Esses at line 5 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

Chicago, ranked No. 3, and Emory, ranked No. 4, (No. 1 Middlebury and No. 2 Bowdoin did not play the Team Indoor, as is customary for members of the New England Small College Athletic Conference) met twice last year, with Emory beating Chicago 5-4 in the semifinals of the Team Indoor, while Chicago took the UAA conference final match later in the year 7-2. The rivalry is a strong one, and I look forward to seeing both teams this year in May, at the Division III NCAA championships here in Kalamazoo.

For more on Chicago's victory, see this article from their website and this article from the Tennis Recruiting Network.  I spoke to head coach Jay Tee in the fall of 2017 about the Division III college tennis experience in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network.

University of Chicago 5, Emory 3

Doubles
1. Tyler Raclin/Jeremy Yuan (UC) def. Jonathan Jemison/Adrien Bouchet (EU) 8-6
2. Erik Kerrigan/Ninan Kumar (UC) def. James Spaulding/Will Wanner (EU) 8-3
3. Antonio Mora/Hayden Cassone (EU) def. Joshua Xu/Charlie Pei (UC) 8-7(7)
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1

Singles
1. Jonathan Jemison (EU) def. Erik Kerrigan (UC) 6-2, 6-4
2. Jeremy Yuan (UC) def. Hayden Cassone (EU) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
3. Adrien Bouchet (EU) def. Charlie Pei (UC) 7-5, 6-3
4. Antonio Mora (EU) vs. Alejandro Rodriguez (UC) 7-6(4), 2-6, 4-0 unfinished
5. Alex Guzhva (UC) def. Andrew Esses (EU) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
6. Joshua Xu (UC) def. Sahil Raina (EU) 6-1, 6-3
Order of finish: 6, 3, 1, 2, 5

The singles champions were crowned today at the ITF Grade A in Porto Alegre Brazil, with qualifier Ane Mintegi Del Olmo of Spain putting an exclamation point on her week by beating No. 4 seed Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. The 15-year-old, playing in her first Grade A tournament, defeated four seeds this week and avenged her loss to Kawaguchi in the quarterfinals of last week's Grade 1 Banana Bowl.

Kalamazoo 16s champion Martin Damm fell in his first Grade A final, going out to unseeded Thiago Tirante of Argentina 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. The 17-year-old Tirante came from a set down in three of his six victories this week to claim his first Grade 1 or Grade A title.

The only title for Americans on the ITF Junior Circuit this week went to brothers Alexander and John Bernard, who took the doubles at the Grade 4 in Guatemala. The No. 2 seeds beat top seeds Alfredo Casso and Mexico's Alfonso De Alba Valdes 6-4, 6-0 in the final. Alex, the No. 2 seed in singles, beat his unseeded older brother in the quarterfinals but lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Juan Sebastian Zabala Vargas of Ecuador, the No. 7 seed.
Nicole Gibbs continued her string of wins over former Stanford teammate Kristie Ahn today in the final of the $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Rancho Santa Fe California. Gibbs, the No. 2 seed, beat Ahn, seeded No. 5, 6-3, 6-3 to claim her sixth ITF Pro Circuit title. Gibbs is now 6-0 against Ahn in ITF events, although this is her first win since 2015 in a rivalry that dates back to and ITF junior event in 2008.

Hayley Carter(North Carolina) and Ena Shibahara(UCLA) claimed their fifth title as a team, and one of their smaller ones. The No. 2 seeds, who won the WTA 125 Newport Beach title in January, beat unseeded Caty McNally and Francesca Di Lorenzo 7-5, 6-2 in the final. Carter and Shibahara, who didn't lose a set all week, have also won two $60,000 tournament titles and one other at the $25K level.

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