Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wild Cards Jenkins and Fanselow in Men's Final; Pac-12's Anderson and Schutting Meet for Women's Championship at USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate

©Colette Lewis 2012--
Flushing Meadows, NY--

A wild card will win the 2012 USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate men's singles title on Sunday, with Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia and Sebastian Fanselow of Pepperdine both receiving entry to the tournament thanks to the USTA and the ITA.

Jenkins, a senior, received the USTA's men's wild card, and he has yet to lose a set in advancing to his first collegiate major final. The No. 6 seed didn't even need to play two sets in Saturday's semifinal, when Henrique Cunha of Duke, the No. 4 seed, retired trailing 6-1.

Cunha, who had played two long three-setters in singles and a pro set doubles match on Friday, called for the trainer trailing 3-0 in the opening set for work on his left shoulder.  He won his only game immediately after that changeover, but Cunha retired once Jenkins had taken the first set.

"He had a really long tiring week of matches, especially yesterday," said Jenkins. "It's tough, with the doubles being in the morning, you don't really get that much rest. Hopefully he'll recover from it, and I look forward to a lot of battles with him in the ACC."

Until the twelfth game of the third set, there was no predicting whether Jenkins would be playing his teammate Alex Domijan or Fanselow, who had been injured this fall and received a wild card entry from the ITA.

Fanselow took the first set 6-4, Domijan the second 6-3, but the third set was much closer, and dominated by the server. Neither player had faced a break point in the final set as Domijan stepped to the line to serve at 5-6, but it all unraveled quickly for the Cavalier junior.

On the first point, Domijan missed his first serve, and Fanselow made an excellent return on the second, forcing an error from Domijan. Domijan got his first serve in on the next point, but Fanselow handled that surprisingly well, and when Domijan's backhand found the net, it was 0-30.  Another first serve caught Fanselow off balance but he was able to get a weak return back over the net, only to see Domijan make an unforced error, giving Fanselow three match points after hitting only  three shots in the game. Domijan missed his first serve at 0-40, made his second, but again, before a rally could start, Domijan's backhand didn't clear the tape, and Fanselow had a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory.

"I thought we were heading to a tiebreaker for sure," said Fanselow, who had beaten Domijan in their only previous meeting in the first round of the 2011 NCAA individual championships. "I felt he had the upper hand for most of the third set, but then he played that one loose game, and that really helped me out at the end.  I was just trying to get the serves back and make him hit shots. He made them for two and a half sets, he just didn't make them in the last game, and that was good for me."

Fanselow and Jenkins have played only once before, in the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA team championships, where the Wave took a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory at No. 1 singles, although Virginia won the dual match 4-1.

"We had a very long one last time," said Fanselow, "so that's exactly what I'm expecting."

Jenkins has kept his time on court to a minimum, with four games the most he has lost in any set, while Fanselow, who is coming off a knee injury, has had two long three-setters this weekend.

"You wouldn't think that, and I don't know why, but I feel pretty good," said Fanselow, a senior from Germany. "I didn't expect too much coming in, maybe win a round, maybe two, not to be in the finals. Coming in with zero expectations releases a lot of the pressure, and I think that helped."

UCLA's Robin Anderson, who grew up in nearby Matawan, New Jersey, didn't have the pressure of family and friends attending, which she prefers. She has been talking to her father before and after every match however, and his advice has resulted in her first appearance in a collegiate major final.

"He told me just to go out and have fun, enjoy the experience," said Anderson, a sophomore. "That's probably one thing I struggled with last year. I felt more like I needed to win, I had to win, and now I'm just going out and just trying to enjoy playing."

That attitude has proven effective this week, with Anderson losing only 16 games in four matches, and improving with every win.  In Saturday's semifinal against unseeded Zsofi Susanyi of Cal, the No. 5 seed posted a 6-1, 6-2 victory.  Susanyi, who reached the 2012 NCAA semifinals, was 2-0 against Anderson in their freshman seasons, but Anderson didn't think that increased her motivation much.

"Maybe I thought about it a little bit, that we'd played a couple of times last year and I hadn't beaten her," said Anderson, who is looking to win UCLA's first Indoor title since Jane Chi's championship in 1995. "But this is a new match and a new opportunity, and so I just tried to play my best. I've been playing pretty good this week, everything's clicking, so hopefully I can continue this tomorrow."

Anderson will play another unseeded Cal player in the final, after Anett Schutting ousted Sofie Oyen of Florida 7-6(5), 6-4. Schutting also has yet to drop a set in the tournament, but the hard-hitting junior from Estonia came close in two tiebreakers.  In today's match with Oyen, Schutting was down 5-2 in the tiebreaker before reeling off five straight points.  In Friday's second round against Daniel Lao of Southern California, Schutting trailed 6-3 in the first set tiebreaker before winning the final five points in a 7-6(5), 7-5 victory.

"Yesterday I kind of had the same situation, and I think that gave me confidence," said Schutting. "When I was down 5-2, I knew that I could do it, and I think that's how I was able to pull out that set."

Cal is no stranger to the Indoor final, with Jana Juricova reaching the final in back-to-back years, winning it in 2009, and falling to Maria Sanchez of USC in 2010.

"I'm really happy that I've been able to follow Jana, she's been a great role model for me," Schutting said. "She's doing her last semester of school and she's going to graduate this winter, and she's also coaching and helping our team. This fall she's been helping me a lot."

Schutting has a win over Anderson at the Pac-12 championships, when Anderson retired with a bad back.

"She was injured during that tournament, and tomorrow it's going to be a new opportunity," Schutting said. "She's recovered, in better shape than she was in the spring, so I know that I have to work really hard to beat her."


The men's doubles championship will feature the unseeded Georgia team of Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland against No. 2 seeds Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler.  Pieters and Wagland, who received entry by winning the ITA All-American consolation draw, beat All-American champions Daniel Cochrane and Andreas Mies of Auburn, the top seeds, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.  Duke's Cunha and Hemmeler defeated No. 3 seeds Jenkins and Mac Styslinger of Virginia 7-5, 6-2.

Defending champions Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria of Southern California will look to add another title to their impressive collection in Sunday morning's final. The top seeds, who won the All-American championships at Riviera last month, beat unseeded Alexa Guarachi and MaryAnne Mcfarlane of Alabama 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals.  They will play unseeded Stephanie Nauta and Li Xi of Virginia, who downed Pepperdine's Lorraine Guillermo and Khunpak Issara 7-5, 6-2. Nauta and Xi are the first team from Virginia to reach a collegiate major women's doubles final.

The consolation tournaments, for those who lost in the first round, will have their finals on Sunday as well. No. 2 seed Peter Kobelt of Ohio State will play No. 3 seed Matija Pecotic of Princeton in the men's final, and Alexa Guarachi of Alabama and No. 2 seed Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar will contest the women's final.

The women's doubles consolation features USC's Gabriella DeSimone and Zoe Scandalis against Virginia's Maci Epstein and Erin Vierra.

The men's doubles consolation will be decided between Virginia's Alex Domijan and Harrison Richmond and Georgia Tech's Vikram Hundal and Juan Spir.

Fanselow and Anderson received the ITA Sportsmanship awards.


Athens said...

UVa has dominated the fall with 3 guys winning 5 of the last 6 fall events during the past three years. Will they finally duplicate this play outdoors in May?