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Sunday, February 9, 2020

North Carolina and UCLA Dominate Semifinals at Women's D-I ITA Team Indoor Championships; Ohio State Men Beat USC; Ritschard Takes Palm Coast $25K; Rogers Wins Dow $100K; Darderi Claims Third Straight Grade 1 in South America

XS Tennis Village Courts in Chicago, site of the Women's ITA Team Indoor Championships, photo courtesy of ITA/Jacob Dye
After some tense quarterfinal matches Saturday, today's semifinals at the ITA Women's Division I Team Indoor Championships were short on excitement, with No. 2 seed North Carolina defeating Duke 4-0 and No. 4 seed UCLA steamrolling top seed Stanford 4-0.

North Carolina took the doubles point with 6-4 wins at No. 1 and No. 3, with Duke leading at No. 2. The Tar Heels got quick wins from Sara Daavettila at line 2 and Alle Sanford at line 6 to make it 3-0, with Makenna Jones clinching for North Carolina with a 6-4, 6-3 decision over Chloe Beck at line 5. Duke won just two sets, at line 1 and line 4, but Duke's Kelly Chen was at match point against Alexa Graham at line 1 when Jones clinched. North Carolina has now made the Team Indoor finals for the sixth consecutive year; they won the title in 2015 and 2018, and finished runner-up in 2016, 2017 and 2019. They won their first Team Indoor title in 2013.

UCLA's victory over Stanford was even more impressive than North Carolina's over Duke. The Bruins took the doubles point with 6-1 wins at 1 and 2 and led 5-2 at line 3. In singles they won all six first sets, and although Michaela Gordon came back to take the second set from Elysia Bolton at line 1, that was the only set the Cardinal could muster. Swift victories by Abbey Forbes and line 2 and Jada Hart at line 3 made it 3-0, and freshman Sasha Vagramov closed it out on a deuce point, beating Emma Higuchi 6-3, 6-3 at line 6.  UCLA will be seeking its second Team Indoor title, with their first coming in 2012. The Bruins made the final the next two years, losing to UNC in 2013 and Duke in 2014. This is their first finals appearance since then.

The final is set for 11 a.m. central time on Monday. Live streaming and live scoring is available at the ITA tournament page. Links to on demand matches are also available there.

A week after beating No. 1 Texas, the Ohio State men defeated this week's No. 1 USC 4-2 in Columbus this afternoon. Ohio State, No. 2 in the ITA rankings, won a excruciatingly tight doubles point, then got a win from freshman Cannon Kingsley (over ITA No. 1 Daniel Cukierman) at line 2 before Mor Bulis put the Trojans on the board with a win at line 4. Buckeye John McNally beat Brandon Holt at line 1 to make it 3-1, but the other three matches all went to third sets.  USC's Riley Smith rallied to beat Kyle Seelig at line 3 to make it 3-2, but James Trotter closed out the win for Ohio State at line 5, defeating freshman Stefan Dostanic 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-2. There are no ITA rankings released this week for the men, with their Team Indoor beginning on Friday in Wisconsin, but it will be interesting to see how the USTA panel votes, after putting North Carolina at the No. 1 spot ahead of Ohio State last week. UNC shut out No. 11 TCU today.

At the $25,000 men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Palm Coast Florida, No. 6 seed Alexander Ritschard defeated unseeded Martins Podzus of Latvia 7-6(7), 6-4 to earn his fifth ITF World Tennis Tour singles title and the second at the $25K level. The 25-year-old, who graduated from the University of Virginia in 2017, is at an ATP career-high of 333 now and should move up when the points are added the week of the 17th.

Another American seeded sixth took a title today, with considerably less work. Shelby Rogers won the biggest title of her career without hitting a ball today, when No. 7 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine could not play in the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic final due to a foot injury. Rogers, who was out for nearly 18 months with knee surgery in 2018 and 2019, is now headed back toward the WTA Top 100 after falling into the 700s at the beginning of last year. The final singles draw is here.

Top seeds Caroline Dolehide and Maria Sanchez(USC) won the doubles title Saturday night, beating No. 2 seeds Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium and Valeria Savinykh of Russia 6-3, 6-4.

No. 5 seed Denis Kudla fell to unseeded Jurij Rodionov of Austria 7-5, 7-6(10) in the final of the ATP 100 Challenger in Dallas this afternoon. In the doubles final, unseeded Dennis Novikov(UCLA) and Goncalo Oliveira of Portugal defeated No. 3 seeds Luis Martinez of Venezuela and Miguel Reyes-Varela(Texas) of Mexico 6-3, 6-4.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Brazil, Luciano Darderi of Italy won his third straight title in South America, extending his record this year in ITF Grade 1 play to 15-0. After winning the Grade 1 titles in Ecuador and Paraguay, Darderi, who turns 18 next week, was the No. 10 seed this week and he defeated unseeded Adolfo Vallejo of Paraguay 7-5, 6-4 in today's final, winning all five of his matches in straight sets.

Unseeded Matilde Paoletti of Italy won the girls title, beating Stanford recruit Ana Geller of Argentina, the No. 2 seed, 6-2, 5-7, 7-5. It's the first Grade 1 title for the 16-year-old, who made the quarterfinals and semifinals of the previous two Grade 1s in Ecuador and Paraguay.


Wondering said...

How about the 6 year age difference between Kingsley 18 and Cuckierman 24? Colette, I wonder what the largest age difference has been in a college match?

BYU College Tennis said...

Does anyone know the real reason why BYU Men's Tennis Coach Brad Pearce suddenly just resigned a couple of days ago right in the middle of the heart of season? This is all very unusual and there are a lot of rumors, but nothing substantiated.

Team Champs... said...

UNC is the Finals for the 6th straight year which is great but the only tournament that matters is the NCAA tournament in May and they have not even reached the finals the past 5 years.

With their lineup, they could have no coach and win it this year.

I am still waiting for a non-high academic school to win the Championship. Schools that have made an impact but have not won the big title yet - Ohio State, South Carolina, UCF, Arizona State, LSU, Florida State, NC State, Oklahoma State.