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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ohio State, USC Earn Berths in ITA Men's Team Indoor Final with 4-3 Victories Over Top Two Seeds; Pedraza Wins All-American Final in Bolivia Grade 2

The semifinals of the Men's Team Indoor couldn't have been much closer, with No. 5 seed Ohio State upending defending champion and top seed Virginia 4-3 in a third-set tiebreaker, and No. 3 seed Southern California taking out No. 2 seed UCLA 4-3, with the deciding match going to a third set.  Those wins set up a rematch of the 2012 Team Indoor final in Charlottesville Virginia, which the Trojans won in another 4-3 thriller.

Virginia won the doubles point, with Cavaliers Mac Styslinger and Thai Kwiatkowski coming back from a 4-1 deficit to beat Ralf Steinbach and Chris Diaz 6-5(1) at line 3, after Virginia had taken line 2 and Ohio State line 1.

The two teams split first sets, with Peter Kobelt(1), Kevin Metka(5) and Hunter Callahan(6) winning their first sets for Ohio State, and Alex Domijan(2), Ryan Shane(3) and Justin Shane(4) taking first sets for Virginia.  Down 1-0, Ohio State absolutely had to turn one match around, and as it turned out, four of the six matches went to a third set. Callahan tied the score with a straightforward 6-3, 6-4 win over Virginia freshman Jordan Daigle at line 6, but Ryan Shane returned the lead to the Cavaliers with the only other straight-set win, beating Herrko Pollanen 6-2, 6-5(5) at line 3.

Chris Diaz had forced a third set against Virginia's Domijan at 2, with Steinbach doing the same at 4. Virginia's Mitchell Frank forced a third set against Ohio State's Kobelt at 1, and Kwiatkowski earned a third set against Metka at 5.  Domijan gave Virginia a 3-1 lead with his 6-1, 5-6(1), 6-4 victory, but Ohio State didn't relent.  Kobelt made it 3-2 with a  6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over third-ranked Frank, hitting three aces in the final game, including on match point, which was a deciding point in the no-ad format being used in the tournament.  When Steinbach won a third set tiebreaker to defeat Ryan Shane  4-6, 6-2, 6-5(5), it was 3-3, and 2-2 in the final set of the Kwiatkowski - Metka match.  After six straight holds, it was 5-all, and again, due to the format experimentation, the tiebreaker was played then, rather than at 6-all.

(My account of the tiebreaker is based on the Twitter feed of Virginia men's tennis, which I truly appreciate, since there was no live streaming).

Metka went up a mini-break early, taking a 5-3 lead, but gave the mini-break back to make it 5-4.  Kwiatkowski was broken on his next serve, giving Metka two match points, but even with the second one on his serve, he couldn't convert.  Metka had another match point at 7-6, but Kwiatkowski held both his serves, giving him his first match point. Metka had his fourth match point at 9-8, but again Kwiatkowski held serve, forcing a second change of ends. Kwiatkowski held for 10-9 and his second match point, but Metka won his next two serves to give himself a fifth match point at 11-10, and he converted that one for a 6-5(5), 5-6(5), 6-5(10) win that put Ohio State in its fourth Team Indoor final and ended Virginia's 36-match winning streak.

Southern Cal and UCLA were unlikely to top that finish, but their usual 4-3 score seemed likely, especially when USC took the doubles point with wins at 3 and 1, with 2 unfinished. Up 1-0, the Trojans won quickly at 5, with Max DeVroome taking out Dennis Mkrtchian 6-3, 6-0, and took a 3-0 lead when Roberto Quiroz dismissed Mackenzie McDonald 6-2, 6-4 at line 3. That 3 point cushion didn't last a minute, however, with Joe DiGiulio defeating Michael Grant 6-2, 6-3 at line 6 to make it 3-1, and Gage Brymer following with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Connor Farren at line 4.  Clay Thompson won a second set tiebreaker from Ray Sarmiento at line 1 to make it 3-3, so the match would come down to Yannick Hanfmann and Marcos Giron at line 2.  Hanfmann led 6-3, 3-6, 3-1 when all the attention turned to that court, but the junior never faltered, protecting his break and serving out the match for a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win that moved USC into the final for the third straight year.

Monday's final is scheduled for noon Central. For more on Ohio State's victory, see their website. For more on USC's win, see their website. CollegeTennisOnline is also covering the tournament. The ITA tournament page is here.

===========================================#5 Ohio State 4, #1 Virginia 3

1. #23 Peter Kobelt (OSU) def. #3 Mitchell Frank (VA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
2. Alex Domijan (VA) def. Chris Diaz (OSU) 6-1, 5-6 (1-7), 6-4
3. Ryan Shane (VA) def. Herkko Pollanen (OSU) 6-2, 6-5 (7-5)
4. Ralf Steinbach (OSU) def. Justin Shane (VA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-5 (7-3)
5. Kevin Metka (OSU) def. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VA) 6-5 (7-5), 5-6 (5-7), 6-5 (12-10)
6. Hunter Callahan (OSU) def. #62 Jordan Daigle (VA) 6-3, 6-4

1. #2 Peter Kobelt/Kevin Metka (OSU) def. Alex Domijan/Justin Shane (VA) 6-3
2. Mitchell Frank/Luca Corinteli (VA) def. Herkko Pollanen/Hunter Callahan (OSU) 6-2
3. Mac Styslinger/Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VA) def. Ralf Steinbach/Chris Diaz (OSU) 6-5 (7-1)

Match Notes:
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (6,3,2,1,4,5)
#3 Southern Cal 4, #2 UCLA 3

1. #1 Clay Thompson (UCLA) def. #7 Ray Sarmiento (USC) 6-2, 6-5 (7-5)
2. #16 Yannick Hanfmann (USC) def. #5 Marcos Giron (UCLA) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
3. Roberto Quiroz (USC) def. #51 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA) 6-2, 6-4
4. #26 Gage Brymer (UCLA) def. Connor Farren (USC) 6-4, 6-4
5. Max De Vroome (USC) def. Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA) 6-3, 6-0
6. Joseph Di Giulio (UCLA) def. Michael Grant (USC) 6-2, 6-3

1. #35 Ray Sarmiento/Yannick Hanfmann (USC) def. #9 Marcos Giron/Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA) 6-4
2. Clay Thompson/Joseph Di Giulio (UCLA) vs. Roberto Quiroz/Connor Farren (USC) 5-4, unfinished
3. Eric Johnson/Max De Vroome (USC) def. Gage Brymer/Karue Sell (UCLA) 6-4

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

At the ITF Grade 2 in Bolivia, 16-year-old Raquel Pedraza captured her first ITF junior title, after reaching the final the previous week in the Grade 2 in Peru.  Pedraza, the No. 4 seed, beat unseeded Gabby Andrews, also from the US, 7-5, 6-4 in the championship match. Andrews was playing in her first ITF event since last October's Pan American Closed in Tulsa, and only her second tournament of any kind this year.  

The girls doubles title went to Paraguay's Gabriela Ferreira Sanabria and Bolivia's Daniela Ruis, the No. 3 seeds, who beat No. 2 seeds Nicole Frenkel and Ellyse Hamlin of the US 2-6, 6-3, 10-7 in the final.

The boys singles champion is Germany's Jan Choinski, the No. 2 seed, who beat Juan Jose Rosas of Peru, seeded sixth, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1. Kalman Boyd of the US, seeded No. 11, lost to Choinski in the semifinals.

Rosas and Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile, seeded second, won the doubles title, beating Eduardo Lourido of Ecuador and Juan Montes of Colombia, the No. 7 seeds, 6-1, 6-4.

Pedraza was not the only American to collect an ITF junior title this weekend, with 16-year-old Mwenda Mbithi taking the singles championship at the Grade 5 in Kenya. Mbithi, the No. 2 seed, won his first ITF title by downing No. 4 seed Mateusz Smolicki 6-4, 6-3.  

At the Grade 1 in Morocco, top seed Jaume Munar Clar of Spain swept both singles and doubles titles in the boys draw, while unseeded qualifier Paula Badosa Gibert of Spain surprised No. 2 seed Sandra Samir of Egypt 6-4, 6-4 in the girls final.


Jim said...

Congratulations to the Ohio State men's team, which continues to depend on player development for their success. It is interesting to note that two of their wins (Kobelt, Metka) came from Columbus natives, who were not in the Tennis Recruiting top 50, and their respective wins were over former #1's. Maybe the USTA should have a chat with Ty Tucker. Good luck today against the Trojans.