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Thursday, May 16, 2019

North Carolina Ousts Top Seed Ohio State in NCAA Division I Men's Quarterfinals, Meets Wake in Semis; Texas and Florida Advance in Bottom Half; Women's Quarterfinals Friday

According to the SLAM Tennis projections, the men's quarterfinal match between No. 1 seed Ohio State and No. 9 seed North Carolina was the least competitive of the four matches Thursday at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona Florida. The Buckeyes were given an 86% chance of winning the match, but it was the Tar Heels who came out on top, taking a 3-0 lead and holding off a late surge from Ohio State to claim a 4-2 victory.

After a less than exciting doubles point with Ohio State winning 6-1 at 1 and North Carolina winning 6-2 at 2 and 3, Ohio State came back in singles, taking four first sets. But the Buckeyes could not get that one first point on the board and North Carolina's Blaine Boyden and Brian Cernoch quickly closed out their matches at lines 4 and 5 to make it 3-0 Tar Heels. Ohio State's Hunter Tubert led Simon Soendergaard 6-4, 4-0 at line 6, but lost six straight games to send that match to a third set. Kyle Seelig got Ohio State on the board with a win at line 3, and JJ Wolf took out Will Blumberg at line 1 to make it 3-2, but Ohio State's John McNally couldn't hold his lead in the second set at line 2 and Benjamin Sigouin forced a third.  Sigouin went up 3-0, two breaks, in the third, but McNally fought back, taking four straight games. Tubert and Soendergaard were still neck and neck deep in the third set at line 6, but McNally was broken, given Sigouin an opportunity to serve it out.  Down 15-30 in the game, Sigouin hit a clutch second serve ace, then McNally was overruled on the far sideline on a Sigouin shot he called out. On the first match point, McNally hit a backhand long, and the upset was complete.

North Carolina will face defending champion and No. 4 seed Wake Forest in the all-ACC semifinal, after the Demon Deacons defeated No. 5 seed Virginia 4-2.  Wake Forest has yet to win a doubles point in the NCAAs, but the only point they have lost in singles came today, with Ryan Goetz beating Rrezart Cungu 6-2, 6-3 at line 4. That made the score 2-1 Virginia, with Wake having earned its first point with a 6-3 6-0 win by Sid Banthia  over Matthew Lord at line 5. That was the last point the Cavaliers would post, although Brandon Nakashima did extend hope for the Virginia fans when he saved two match points in the second set tiebreaker against 2018 NCAA champion Petros Chrysochos to force a third set at line 2.  But Virginia's Carl Soderlund began to cramp early in the third set of his match with Borna Gojo at line 1 and could barely move by the end, with Gojo clinching with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory.

North Carolina and Wake Forest have met twice this year, at the Team Indoor and in conference play (at Wake), with the Demon Deacons winning both matches.

No. 2 seed Texas earned an impressive 4-1 win over No. 10 TCU, with the Longhorns winning the doubles point with relative ease and getting wins from Rodrigo Banzer at 6, Yuya Ito at 2 and Harrison Scott at 4. TCU's lone point came from Alex Rybakov at line 1.

The match projected to be closest was No. 3 Florida vs No. 6 Baylor, with the Gators having just a 55% win probability. But it was all Florida in the night match in front of a large Gator crowd, with the doubles point and routine wins from McClain Kessler at 6, Andy Andrade at 5 and Sam Riffice at 2 for the day's only 4-0 score.

Click on the headings below to go to the winning school's recap, except for Florida, which I will add Friday morning, along with box score.

A few words on the Tennis Channel coverage. It was great that the USTA provided streaming on Facebook and Periscope when Tennis Channel had to join the Ohio State - North Carolina match in progress due to late matches at the Italian Open. At times during that match there were more than 5000 viewers on Periscope, so the word did get out.  But there were perplexing glitches, with the draw graphic wrong, the semifinal matchups being incorrectly announced on multiple occasions, and the break point graphics not reflecting that a deciding deuce point is also a break (or game) point. A point is assessed for a medical timeout in men's college tennis, a rule commentator Sam Gore did not seem familiar with, and sideline reporter Hana Ostapchuk didn't seem all that conversant with tennis.  This is the first day of the first time that Tennis Channel has broadcast the NCAAs in years, so there is every reason to think coverage will improve in the next three days, providing Divison I tennis with the exposure it deserves.

Men's NCAA Division I Quarterfinals
May 16, 2019 at Orlando, Fla.
(USTA National Campus)

#4 Wake Forest 4, #5 Virginia 2
Singles competition
1. #11 Borna Gojo (WF) def. #3 Carl Soderlund (VA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
2. #8 Petros Chrysochos (WF) vs. #82 Brandon Nakashima (VA) 6-3, 6-7 (6), 2-1, unfinished
3. #50 Bar Botzer (WF) def. #114 Henrik Wiersholm (VA) 6-3, 6-2
4. Ryan Goetz (VA) def. Rrezart Cungu (WF) 6-2, 6-3
5. Melios Efstathiou (WF) def. Aswin Lizen (VA) 6-3, 6-4
6. Siddhant Banthia (WF) def. Matthew Lord (VA) 6-3, 6-0

Doubles competition
1. #33 Brandon Nakashima/Henrik Wiersholm (VA) def. #63 Alan Gadjiev/Borna Gojo (WF) 6-2
2. #55 Bar Botzer/Petros Chrysochos (WF) def. Matthew Lord/Carl Soderlund (VA) 6-4
3. Gianni Ross/William Woodall (VA) def. Siddhant Banthia/Melios Efstathiou (WF) 7-6(5)

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

#2 Texas 4, #10 TCU 1
Singles competition
1. #4 Alex Rybakov (TCU) def. #7 Christian Sigsgaard (UT) 6-4, 6-2
2. #12 Yuya Ito (UT) def. #28 Alastair Gray (TCU) 7-5, 6-1
3. #80 Leonardo Telles (UT) vs. Reese Stalder (TCU) 7-6(3), 4-3, unfinished
4. #55 Harrison Scott (UT) def. Bertus Kruger (TCU) 7-6(4), 6-3
5. Colin Markes (UT) vs. Luc Fomba (TCU) 6-4, 5-6, unfinished
6. Rodrigo Banzer (UT) def. Sander Jong (TCU) 6-4, 6-2

Doubles competition
1. #5 Harrison Scott/Christian Sigsgaard (UT) def. #15 Alastair Gray/Alex Rybakov (TCU) 6-2
2. Colin Markes/Leonardo Telles (UT) def. #22 Bertus Kruger/Reese Stalder (TCU) 6-3
3. Chih Chi Huang/Yuya Ito (UT) vs. Sander Jong/Luc Fomba (TCU) 3-5, unfinished

Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (1,6,2,4)

#10 UNC 4, #1 Ohio State 2
Singles competiton
1. JJ Wolf (OSU) d. William Blumberg (UNC), 7-5, 6-4
2. Benjamin Sigouin (UNC) d. John McNally (OSU). 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
3. Kyle Seelig (OSU) d. Josh Peck (UNC), 6,3, 6-4
4. Brian Cernoch (UNC) d. Martin Joyce (OSU), 6-2, 6-0
5. Blaine Boyden (UNC) d. Alex Kobelt (OSU), 6-1, 6-3
6. Hunter Tubert (OSU) vs. Simon Soendergaard (UNC), 6-4, 4-6, 5-6 unfinished

Doubles competition
1. JJ Wolf/Martin Joyce (OSU) d. Will Blumberg/Blaine Boyden (UNC), 6-1
2. Benjamin Sigouin/Brian Cernoch (UNC) d. Alex Kobelt/Kyle Seelig (OSU), 6-2
3. Mac Kiger/Simon Soendergaard (UNC) d. John McNally/Hunter Tubert (OSU), 6-2

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

#3 Florida 4, #6 Baylor 0
Singles competition
1. #9 Oliver Crawford (UF) vs. #20 Johannes Schretter (BU) 4-6, 5-2, unfinished
2. #54 Sam Riffice (UF) def. #25 Matias Soto (BU) 6-3, 6-4
3. #113 Johannes Ingildsen (UF) vs. #112 Adrian Boitan (BU) 4-6, 3-1, unfinished
4. Alfredo Perez (UF) vs. #78 Will Little (BU) 6-3, 5-5, unfinished
5. #59 Andres Andrade (UF) def. #76 Sven Lah (BU) 6-2, 6-2
6. McClain Kessler (UF) def. Jimmy Bendeck (BU) 6-1, 6-0

Doubles competition
1. Johannes Ingildsen/McClain Kessler (UF) def. #1 Jimmy Bendeck/Sven Lah (BU) 7-5
2. Oliver Crawford/Alfredo Perez (UF) def. Will Little/Matias Soto (BU) 6-4
3. Duarte Vale/Andres Andrade (UF) vs. Johannes Schretter/Constantin Frantzen (BU) 5-5, unfinished

Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (6,5,2)

The women's quarterfinals are Friday, beginning at noon.

Friday’s NCAA Division I Women’s Quarterfinals:
UCLA[7] v North Carolina[2] Noon
Stanford[3] v Pepperdine[6] 2 p.m.
Georgia[1] v Vanderbilt[8] 5 p.m.
Duke[5] v South Carolina[4] 7 p.m.

*Tennis Channel coverage