Thursday, May 24, 2012

Long All-American Day Ends Without Major Upsets in NCAA Division I Singles Tournament; Top Seeds in Women's Doubles Fall

©Colette Lewis 2012--
Athens, GA--

The second day of the NCAA singles championship has extra significance, with any player who was not seeded in the tournament able to earn the right to call themselves All-Americans with a victory.

On a hot and humid day at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, 11 players qualified,  most of whom are familiar to college tennis fans, including Alex Domijan of Virginia, who was seeded No. 2 in last year's NCAAs and Bradley Klahn of Stanford, who as 2010 NCAA singles champion, probably doesn't need additional resume building.

But for Abigail Tere-Apisah of Georgia State, a 6-3 6-4 victory of Kata Szekely of Tennessee made her the first tennis All-American in school history, and certainly the first from Papua New Guinea. Just by playing in the tournament's first round, the 37th-ranked sophomore made school history, but she has a tough challenge if she hopes to continue her impressive run. She faces top-seed Allie Will of Florida, who defeated Danielle Lao of Southern California 6-4, 6-4.

The other women to earn All-American honors with victories on Thursday are: Petra Niedermayerova of Kansas State, who defeated Diana Nakic of Baylor, a 9-16 seed, in three sets; Natalie Pluskota of Tennessee, who won a three-hour-plus marathon with Arizona's Lacey Smith; Aeriel Ellis of Texas, who saved match points for the second day in a row in beating Anya Morgina of South Carolina; Baylor's Nina Secerbegovic, an NCAA quarterfinalist the past two years, who beat Tennessee's Brynn Boren in a match that last three and a half hours; and Sabrina Santamaria of USC, who defeated Florida's Sofie Oyen and is the only freshman in that group.

Joining Domijan and Klahn in earning the honor on the men's side are: LSU's Neal Skupski, who beat Georgia's Sadio Doumbia; Gonzalo Escobar of Texas Tech, who downed Costin Paval of Oklahoma, a 9-16 seed; and Louis Cant of Mississippi State, who beat Florida's Bob van Overbeek.

The top two men seeds had little difficulty advancing, with No. 1 Steve Johnson of USC, the defending champion, beating Nassam Slilam of Florida 6-3, 6-2 for his 68th consecutive win, and No. 2 Mitchell Frank of Virginia who beat Johnson's teammate Raymond Sarmiento 6-4, 6-1.

Sarmiento was up 3-1 in the opening set, but from then on Frank was the much steadier player, using his consistent depth to keep Sarmiento from using his wide variety of shots.

"I kept the ball pretty deep and was able to get the ball down when he came in and make him come up with some tough volleys, which he is of course is going to do, because he has unbelievable hands, and is a great player," said Frank. "I think it was key to keep him back and keep the ball deep, and return well so he can't get in, and I think I did a pretty good job with that."

Sarmiento wasn't as sharp as he was during the team competition, when he defeated Frank's teammate Domijan in the final, but much of that had to do with Frank's play.

"When he had that break point in the first game (of the second set) you could kind of see him check out a little bit, and not be willing to go through the points as long as he was in the first set, staying with it." Frank said. "It was important to get him down, because if I didn't, I'd still be out here battling for a while."

Women's No. 3 seed Nicole Gibbs of Stanford didn't make it easy on herself, trailing 5-1 in the first set to Florida's Joanna Mather and 3-0, two breaks, in the third set before posting a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win.

"The heat was getting to me a little bit," said the 2011 NCAA semifinalist of the temperatures approaching 90 degrees. "I'm not used to playing long matches in this kind of weather, so I'm still adjusting. But I think that was really beneficial today, to know what it feels like and know I can play through those kinds of situations.

With Mather serving for the first set at 5-1, she and Gibbs played at least 20 minutes before Gibbs finally got the break. And although she ended up losing the set, Gibbs felt that lengthy game was important to set the tone.

"That was a huge statement on my part," said the sophomore. "I was in that game as much to affect her as much as I was to stay in the set, to let her know that I was sticking around and that I wasn't going to lay down for her because it was hot out."

Mather, the 2011 Indoor finalist, hits her forehand with a lot of pace, and Gibbs admits the Florida senior is not a good matchup for her.

"I've always really struggled playing her," Gibbs said. "She brings a lot of power to the court, hits a very flat ball that I have a hard time finding my offense off of. Since I've been working on my game to try to become more offensive, it's really frustrating for me not to see the balls I'm accustomed to seeing off of good shots and that's why she's tough."

Gibbs, down 3-0 in the final set, managed to win the final six games of the match, and just as in the first set, another long game provided the jumpstart.

"We had a really long game at 3-0 and again I worked my way back into the match, and just kept trusting what I was doing, and in the end, she was breaking down physically as much or more than I was."

Friday's action will see several interesting matchups, with Florida's Lauren Embree, a 9-16 seed, against No. 2 seed Beatrice Capra of Duke in a renewal of their junior rivalry and UCLA's Robin Anderson, seed No. 4, against fellow Pac-12 freshman Zsofi Susanyi, a 9-16 seed, from Cal.

On the men's side, there is a Big Ten clash between No. 7 Dennis Nevolo of Illinois and Blaz Rola of Ohio State, a 9-16 seed, and Klahn against Ohio State's Chase Buchanan, a 9-16 seed.

The first round of doubles went late into the night, and there were plenty of surprises in the women's draw, with four seeded teams losing, including top seeds Will and Oyen of Florida. Emma Burgic and Secerbegovic of Baylor took out the top-ranked team 7-5, 6-2.

Singles and doubles results below:

Men’s Singles
Second Round - May 24                                                 
#1 Steve Johnson (1), SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA def. #53 Nassim Slilam, FLORIDA, 6-3, 6-2
#55 Neal Skupski, LSU def. #32 Sadio Doumbia, GEORGIA, 6-2, 6-3 
#39 Alex Domijan, VIRGINIA def. #56 George Coupland, MISSISSIPPI STATE , 6-3, 6-2
#15 Alex Musialek (9-16), KENTUCKY def. #52 Ignacio Taboada, GEORGIA, 6-2, 6-7(9), 6-4
#36 Bradley Klahn, STANFORD def. #27 Remi Boutillier, FRESNO STATE, 6-1, 6-1
#10 Chase Buchanan (9-16), OHIO STATE def. #24 Kevin King, GEORGIA TECH, 6-2, 6-4
#50 Louis Cant, MISSISSIPPI STATE def. #42 Bob van Overbeek, FLORIDA, 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-1
#14 Nik Scholtz (9-16), MISSISSIPPI def. #26 Jose Hernandez, NORTH CAROLINA, 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2
#40 Gonzalo Escobar, TEXAS TECH def. #12 Costin Paval (9-16), OKLAHOMA, 6-3, 6-4
#5 Henrique Cunha (5), DUKE def. #21 Daniel Nguyen, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, 6-4, 6-4
#13 Artem Ilyushin (9-16), MISSISSIPPI STATE def. #45 Jonas Lutjen, MISSISSIPPI, 6-0, 6-3
#3 Eric Quigley (3), KENTUCKY def. #18 Andreas Mies, AUBURN, 7-6(4), 6-3
#9 Blaz Rola (9-16), OHIO STATE def. #57 Emilio Gomez, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, 7-6(5), 6-3
#7 Dennis Nevolo (7), ILLINOIS def. #20 Marcel Thiemann, MISSISSIPPI, 6-4, 7-6(6)
#11 Wil Spencer (9-16), GEORGIA def. #47 Luka Somen, VIRGINIA TECH, 6-4, 7-5
#2 Mitchell Frank (2), VIRGINIA def. #25 Ray Sarmiento, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, 6-4, 6-1

Women’s Singles
Second Round - May 24                                                 
#1 Allie Will (1), FLORIDA def. #19 Danielle Lao, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, 6-4, 6-4
#37 Abigail Tere-Apisah, GEORGIA STATE def. #57 Kata Szekely, TENNESSEE, 6-3, 6-4
#6 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (7), TEXAS A&M def. #31 Joelle Kissell, NORTH CAROLINA STATE, 6-2, 6-0
#29 Petra Niedermayerova, KANSAS STATE def. #16 Diana Nakic (9-16), BAYLOR, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
#3 Nicole Gibbs (3), STANFORD def. #21 Joanna Mather, FLORIDA, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
#35 Natalie Pluskota, TENNESSEE def. #50 Lacey Smyth, ARIZONA, 5-7, 6-1, 7-5
#8 Jana Juricova (6), CALIFORNIA def. #56 Sona Novakova, BAYLOR, 6-4, 6-1
#40 Aeriel Ellis, TEXAS def. #45 Anya Morgina, SOUTH CAROLINA, 3-6, 7-6(9), 6-0
#23 Nina Secerbegovic, BAYLOR def. #32 Brynn Boren, TENNESSEE, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4
#26 Sabrina Santamaria, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA def. #61 Sofie Oyen, FLORIDA, 6-3, 6-0
#13 Zsofi Susanyi (9-16), CALIFORNIA def. #24 Mary Anne Macfarlane, ALABAMA, 6-0, 7-5
#4 Robin Anderson (4), UCLA  def. #36 Natalie Beazant, RICE, 6-4, 6-4
#14 Zoe Scandalis (9-16), SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA def. #18 Anna Bartenstein, MIAMI, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
#5 Mallory Burdette (5), STANFORD def. #17 Denise Dy, WASHINGTON, 6-1, 6-2
#9 Lauren Embree (9-16) def. #28 Cristina Stancu, MARYLANDFLORIDA, 6-2, 6-2
#2 Beatrice Capra (2), DUKE def. #43 Lindsey Hardenbergh, VIRGINIA, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1

Men’s Doubles
First Round - May 24 
#1 Chase Buchanan-Blaz Rola (1), OHIO STATE def. #20 Joey Burkhardt-Jose Hernandez, NORTH CAROLINA, 7-6(3), 7-6(4)
#21 Roy Kalmanovich-Dennis Nevolo, ILLINOIS def. #25 George Coupland-Artem Ilyushin, MISSISSIPPI STATE, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2
#7 Panav Jha-Eric Quigley (5-8), KENTUCKY def. #62 Gregg Cohenca-Evan Zimmer, BUCKNELL, 6-2, 6-0
#68 Andre Dome-Matt Fawcett, CAL POLY def. #13 Jonas Lutjen-Nik Scholtz, MISSISSIPPI, 7-6(4), 6-3
#4 Bradley Klahn-Ryan Thacher (4), STANFORD def. #55 Niall Fitzgerald-Casey Watt, NOTRE DAME, 6-4, 7-6(2)
#16 Henrique Cunha-Chris Mengel, DUKE def. #23 Chip Cox-Nick Jones, SOUTH CAROLINA, 6-4, 6-4
#15 Alex Llompart-Finn Tearney, PEPPERDINE def. #9 Andreas Mies-Alexander Stamchev (5-8), AUBURN, 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-6(2)
#10 Costin Paval-Dane Webb, OKLAHOMA def. #27 Russell Bader-Jason Lee, PENN STATE, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1
#63 Antoine Baroz-Alexis Heugas, VCU def. #14 Billy Federhofer-Nassim Slilam, FLORIDA 5-7, 7-5, 6-1
#5 Drew Courtney-Jarmere Jenkins (5-8), VIRGINIA  def. #31 Christopher Aumueller-Benedikt Lindheim, NEBRASKA, 6-1, 6-4
#17 Chris Thiemann-Marcel Thiemann, MISSISSIPPI def. #67 Kyle Parker-Mickael Trintignac, COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
#3 Kevin King-Juan Spir (3), GEORGIA TECH  def. #58 Francis Alacantara-Remi Boutillier, FRESNO STATE, 7-6(1), 5-7, 6-2
#18 Raony Carvalho-Gonzalo Escobar, TEXAS TECH def. #12 Mikelis Libietis-Hunter Reese, TENNESSEE, 6-4, 6-4
#6 Nick Andrews-Christoffer Konigsfeldt (5-8), CALIFORNIA def. #65 Phillip Anderson-Jadon Phillips, NEW MEXICO, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
#28 Jarryd Botha-Ricky Doverspike, ALABAMA def. #26 John Collins-Maros Horny, MARYLAND, 6-1, 6-3
#2 Steve Johnson-Roberto Quiroz (2), SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA def. #11 Clifford Marsland-Ashley Watling, TULSA, 6-3, 6-3

Women’s Doubles
First Round - May 24 
#13 Ema Burgic-Nina Secerbegovic, BAYLOR def. #1 Sofie Oyen-Allie Will (1), FLORIDA, 7-5, 6-2
Alexa Guarachi-Courtney McLane, ALABAMA def. #35 Maria Belaya-Jeltje Loomans, WILLIAM AND MARY, 7-6(2), 6-3
#8 Kristy Frilling-Shannon Mathews (5-8), NOTRE DAME def. #24 Stacey Tan-Ellen Tsay, STANFORD, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(5),
#9 Courtney Dolehide-Pamela Montez, UCLA def. #19 Samantha Adams-Kenna Kilgo, TEXAS TECH, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
#11 Emina Bektas-Brooke Bolender, MICHIGAN def. #3 Kaitlyn Christian-Sabrina Santamaria (4), SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2
#27 Nadja Gilchrist-Chelsey Gullickson, GEORGIA def. #17 Beatrice Capra-Rachel Kahan, DUKE, 6-2, 7-5
#15 Jana Juricova-Zsofi Susanyi, CALIFORNIA def. #7 Kristi Boxx-Abby Guthrie (5-8), MISSISSIPPI, 7-6(3), 6-4
#30 Lauren Mira-Jackie Wu, VANDERBILT def. #25 Marie-Pier Huet-Whitney Ritchie, OKLAHOMA, 6-4, 7-5
#22 Lauren Embree-Joanna Mather, FLORIDA def. #28 Linda Abu Mushrefova-Nida Hamilton, NORTHWESTERN, 6-0, 6-1
#5 Annie Goransson-Anett Schutting (5-8), CALIFORNIA DEF, #21 Mary Clayton-Ester Goldfeld, DUKE, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7)
#18 Emily Fraser-Lindsey Hardenbergh, VIRGINIA  def. #42 Millie Nichols-Olivia Smith, TCU, 6-2, 7-6(3)
#10 Natalie Pluskota-Kata Szekely, TENNESSEE def. #4 Shinann Featherston-Lauren McHale (3), NORTH CAROLINA, 7-6(2), 6-3
#32 Lorraine Guillermo-Khunpak Issara, PEPPERDINE def. #29 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar-Sun Wen, TEXAS A&M, 6-4, 6-2
#23 Alex Anghelescu-Jillian O’Neill, GEORGIA TECH def. #33 Ana Belzunce-Welma Luus, MARYLAND, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
#26 Natalie Beazant-Dominique Harmath, RICE def. #41 Antonia Foehse-Mary Anne Macfarlane, ALABAMA, 6-1, 6-4
#2 Mallory Burdette-Nicole Gibbs (2), STANFORD def. #50 Hilary Bartlett-Lindsay Graff, PRINCETON, 6-1, 6-1


Austin said...

Hernandez had a match point when Scholtz was serving at 5-6 in the second set, they played a really good match.

Someone needs to get with Van Overbeek. His game is so good and so much talent there, but he just doesnt get it right now. His body language late in the second set and the entire third set was awful. He is superior in talent to Cant, but the match was won with Cant's great attitude when the going got tough and Van Overbeek's bad attitude. This guy should be a Top5 player and has shown flashes of it, just needs someone to get him to kick it up that extra gear.

Aeriel Ellis with another great comeback, very impressive, however, I think that ends badly today.

Bartenstein could not get a serve it at the end of the match yesterday, hard to watch, reminded me of Dementieva.

Hopefully we have closer matches today in singles like some of the doubles matches yesterday.

And I realized the video works great on the McWhorter courts, but sucks on Henry Field...too bad all matches are on HF now.

Buchanan/Klahn is the match of the day, should be a good one.

McLovin said...

Mitchell and Gibbs have mastered the art of grinding for junior and college tennis. It will be interesting to see if their games translate to the pro ranks...not.

russ said...

Don't underestimate the value of a competitor who is mentally tough, makes excellent decisions, who can exploit his opponent's weaknesses, who has the confidence, nerve and will to stay in a point and perform in pressure situations. I'll take that person over the flashy player who has physical weapons galore.

MItchell is also hitting bigger and serving harder and with more pop than he did as junior. I think he worked on that aspect of his game after his first, mostly unsuccessful, foray in the futures. In fact, I would categorize him as sneaky big, using those tools when the opportunity presents itself and when he needs to. I've seen him dig himself out of many 15-40 holes with big, and accurate, serves. I have no trouble seeing Mitchell as a top 100 player. After that, as Coach Smith says of Steve Johnson, "it's up to him."