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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Women's Division I Sweet Sixteen Features Two Unseeded Teams; Drama in College Station as Oklahoma Men Beat Texas A&M; Townsend Ends Osuigwe's Winning Streak, Defends Charleston $100K Title

The final eight women's matches in the NCAA Division I regional competition today didn't feature much in the way of tension. No. 3 Stanford was the only one of the seven seeds who won today to drop a point, with the Cardinal beating Syracuse 4-1.  That lost point was particularly surprising because it was Melissa Lord who was on the wrong end of it. The Stanford senior was 16-0 in postseason play before dropping a 6-4, 6-2 decision to Sofya Golubovskaya today at line 2.

On Saturday Central Florida defeated No. 11 seed Florida State 4-1 to become the first unseeded team to advance to next weekend's Super Regionals, and today Texas A&M joined them, defeating No. 9 seed Texas 4-1.  Georgia's Meg Kowalski, who plays at line 6, was named Freshman of the Year in the SEC, but Katya Townsend of Texas A&M has also had an excellent year at line 1, and in today's match in Austin she defeated Texas's Bianca Turati, who finished third in the national rankings last year, 6-3, 6-3. The Aggies, who barely got by Rice 4-3 in the first round, will play No. 8 Vanderbilt in Nashville next Saturday, and they defeated Vanderbilt in conference play earlier this year 4-2, with Townsend beating Fernanda Contreras 6-2, 6-0 at line 1.

No. 12 seed North Carolina State defeated Tennessee 4-0 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history, which is also the case for Central Florida.

The Super Regionals will be either Friday or Saturday, with the NCAA draw now updated with dates and times.

Women’s Division I Super Regionals:
Georgia[1]* v Michigan[16]
Vanderbilt[8]* v Texas A&M
Duke[5]* v North Carolina St[12}
South Carolina[4]* v USC[13]

Stanford[3]* v Kansas[14]
Central Florida v Pepperdine[6]*
UCLA[7]* v Washington[10]
Oklahoma St[15] v North Carolina[2]*

Only one men's Super Regional berth was decided today, but it turned out to be the most dramatic match of the day (and the men's second round), with unseeded Oklahoma beating No. 13 seed Texas A&M 4-3, in a third set tiebreaker at line 5.  Aggie freshman Noah Schachter had seven match points, including a 6-3 lead in the tiebreaker, but Sooner freshman Mason Beiler saved them all in a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(7) win.

Men’s Division I Super Regionals:
Ohio State[1]* v Columbia[16]
North Carolina[9] v USC[8]*
Virginia[5]* v Stanford[12]
Oklahoma v Wake Forest[4]*

Florida[3]* v Tennessee[14]
UCLA[11] v Baylor[6]*
Mississippi State[7]* v TCU[10] 
Cal v Texas[2]*

Time and dates for the men's Super Regionals are posted on the draw.

Taylor Townsend ended 17-year-old Whitney Osuigwe's two-week winning streak, taking the final of the $100,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Charleston South Carolina 6-4, 6-4. Townsend, the defending champion, had lost to eventual champion Osuigwe in the quarterfinals last week in Charlottesville Virginia, but she held off Osuigwe's comeback attempt today. Down 6-4, 5-1, Osuigwe won three straight games, saving four match points serving at 3-5 and three more with Townsend serving for the match for the second time, but Townsend finally converted in a 17-point game to add the singles to title the doubles title she won Saturday. Osuigwe's streak ends at nine, but she has moved her WTA ranking to a career-high of 124 and extended her lead in the USTA's French Open Wild Card Challenge.

At the ATP 80 Challenger in Savannah Georgia, No. 15 seed Federico Coria of Argentina defeated No. 2 seed Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 for his first Challenger title. The second-seeded doubles team of Roberto Maytin(Baylor) of Venezuela and Fernando Romboli of Brazil won their second straight Challenger title, with last week's champions in  Tallahassee defeating unseeded Arthur Rinderknech(Texas A&M) and Manuel Guinard of France 6-7(5), 6-4, 11-9 in the final.

Dmitry Popko of Kazakhstan is playing a Challenger in his home country next week, much to the relief of all those in Florida, I'm sure. Popko has won three titles since the beginning of April, two $15Ks, and this week, the $25,000 tournament in Vero Beach. The eighth-seeded 22-year-old defeated No. 2 seed Sekou Bangoura 6-1, 7-6(1) in the final, with Bangoura having had to play his semifinal match earlier in the day. He defeated another former Florida Gator, Diego Hidalgo of Ecuador, 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-1, but after needing more than two and a half hours for that win, it's not surprising he lost to Popko.  Bangoura also suffered a loss in the doubles final, with the unseeded Italian team of Lorenze Frigerio and Adelchi Virgili beating top-seeded Bangoura and Boris Arias(LSU) of Bolivia 6-4, 6-3.


fan said...

Granted, Sofya Golubovskaya is pretty good. Still a surprising scoreline.

Nosa said...

Osuigwe has to quickly learn taking the ball on the rise. Townsend’s high balls to her background troubled her today. Since she is only 5.6” other players might use sane tactics against her. Watching Djokovic’s play against Nadal’s high balls will help. Nevertheless I consider her a potential French Open Slam winner.
If she can improve her net play, indeed her entire forecourt game, she will be a big player. She just turned 17!