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Saturday, May 31, 2014

French Junior Championships Begin Sunday with a Dozen Americans in Action

Francis Tiafoe is the top seed and Stefan Kozlov is seeded No. 6 in Paris

The draws are out for the French Open Junior Championships, which begin Sunday in Paris.

There are a total of 14 American juniors--seven boys and seven girls--in the main draw, with 11 receiving direct entry, Noah Rubin and Raveena Kingsley qualifying and Taylor Fritz receiving a special exemption for making the semifinals in the Grade 1 in Belgium.

There are 48 junior matches on Sunday's schedule--24 boys and 24 girls--with all Americans except Kingsley and Henrik Wiersholm playing their opening matches on the first day.

Orange Bowl champion Francis Tiafoe is the top seed, and he will begin his quest for his first junior slam title against French wild card Clement Larriere of France. No. 6 seed Stefan Kozlov, the 2014 Australian Open boys finalist, plays Ryotero Matsumura of Japan. Michael Mmoh, the No. 11 seed, faces Wei Qiang Zheng of China and Rubin takes on fellow qualifier Bastin Malla of Chile, who, like Rubin, also has an ATP ranking inside the Top 700.  Alex Rybakov takes on Chan Yeong-Oh of Korea and Fritz also plays a Korean, Ku Keon Kang, on Sunday.

No. 2 seed in the tournament is Orlando Luz of Brazil, with No. 3 Karen Khachanov of Russia getting his seed based on his ATP of 417. Sixteen-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev, who just won a $15,000 Futures in Moscow today, his third in the past seven months, is seeded fourth, and should be considered a serious threat for the title.

Ivana Jorovic of Serbia is the top seed in the girls draw, with Italian Open champion CiCi Bellis No. 2 and Tornado Alicia Black No. 3.  Bellis has drawn Kimberly Birrell of Australia, ranked No. 21, as her first round opponent Sunday, so that is not an easy start for Bellis, who has lost only one junior match this year.

Black plays Paula Badosa Gibert of Spain, while Sofia Kenin meets qualifer Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia. Usue Arconada takes on Bianca Turtati of Italy, Katrine Steffensen plays 2013 quarterfinalist and No. 11 seed Kristina Schmiedlova of Slovakia, and Dasha Ivanova has drawn qualifier Rebecca Sramkova, also of Slovakia.

For complete draws and schedule see the French Open website.

Friday, May 30, 2014

NCAA Individual Recap and All-Tournament Team Slideshow; Rubin and Kingsley Qualify for French Open Junior Championships

My recap of the NCAA Division I individual tournament titles won by Marcos Giron of UCLA, Danielle Collins of Virginia and the doubles teams from Alabama and Tennessee can be found today at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

For more on the NCAAs in Athens, check out Lisa Stone's thoughts at Parenting Aces. Stone covered the NCAA tournament as credentialed media and wrote this piece on what she learned during her long days there.

As is often the case when I'm doing back-to-back tournaments, the slideshows and recaps get a bit out of sync, but I will have the individual tournament slideshow and videos up in the next week or two. Below is the All-Tournament Team from the Men and Women's Team Championships.

In French Open main draw action today, wild card Taylor Townsend was beaten by No. 14 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-2, 6-2, yet she got the attention of most of the established tennis press. Here is Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim on Townsend, with a direct discussion of her body type. Chris Clarey of the New York Times contents himself with a passing reference to her "fitness," while Peter Bodo of tennis.com addresses and more or less dismisses it as a factor in her tennis. There's been talk of a main draw wild card for Townsend at Wimbledon now, and after reaching the girls final there last year (and winning the girls doubles the year before), she has proven herself on grass, which obviously suits her game. But as long as she gets into qualifying (she's four out of qualifying right now), Townsend might be better served playing that, unless she gets additional matches in grass events in the coming weeks.

In the French Open junior qualifying, Noah Rubin and Raveena Kingsley earned places in the main draw with wins today. Rubin, who was unseeded in qualifying, getting in due to his ATP ranking, lost a grand total of two games in qualifying, today beating No. 11 seed Makoto Ochi of Japan 6-0, 6-0.

Kingsley, the No. 7 seed, defeated French wild card Alice Rame 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to earn her spot in the main draw. Kingsley, 15, also qualified for the US Open junior championships last year, losing to ITF No. 1 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the first round.

Both Taylor Fritz and Katrine Steffensen lost their semifinal matches today at the Grade 1 Astrid Bowl in Belgium.  The unseeded Fritz was beaten by No. 13 seed Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus 6-3, 6-3. Chrysochos will play No. 2 seed Duck Hee Lee of Korea, who received a walkover from No. 4 seed Bradley Mousley of Australia. Steffensen, the No. 15 seed, lost to No. 14 seed Helen Ploskina of Ukraine 6-4, 7-5.  Ploskina will play No. 3 seed Iryna Shymanovich of Belarus in the final.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Stanford's Whitlinger Resigns, Silverio Hired at Oregon; French Open Junior Qualifying Underway; Fritz, Steffensen Reach Semifinals in Belgium Grade 1

Stanford University announced this afternoon that John Whitlinger, who succeeded Dick Gould as men's head coach in 2005, has retired from his position.

Whitlinger was associate head coach under Gould from 1987-2004, and while he had an excellent record, Whitlinger was not able to continue the Stanford dynasty that Gould presided over, and the team's last Sweet 16 appearance was in 2012.

This vacated position will add even more to the intrigue created when the Michigan men's head coaching job opened earlier this month, and all sorts of dominoes could fall, unless Stanford hires from outside the current Division I coaching community.

The release from Stanford on Whitlinger's retirement makes no reference to a search for his successor.

One of the women's Pac-12 positions that opened earlier this month has been filled, with Georgia Tech assistant Alison Silverio taking over the Oregon women's head coaching position.  Silverio, who played at Georgia Tech and clinched their 2007 NCAA team championship, served as women's assistant at North Carolina State (the head coaching position there is now open, with Hans Olsen stepping down on May 2) from 2008-2010.

The qualifying is underway for the French Open junior championships, which begin Sunday at Roland Garros.  Noah Rubin, who received entry into the junior qualifying based on his ATP ranking (now 580) and hasn't played a junior event all year, won his first round match today, as did Dennis Uspensky, the No. 3 seed, but Dan Kerznerman, seeded No. 15, did not. Rubin defeated No. 2 seed Tim Van Rijthoven of the Netherlands 6-0, 6-2.

Jessica Ho(16), Michaela Gordon(15) and Raveena Kingsley(7) won their first round qualifying matches and will make the main draw with a win on Friday, while Kaitlyn McCarthy(3), Olivia Hauger(13) and Raquel Pedraza lost their opening round matches.

Taylor Fritz was in the qualifying, but because he has reached the semifinals at the ITF Grade 1 Astrid Bowl in Belgium, he may have received a special exemption into the main draw at Roland Garros. Fritz defeated top seed Orlando Luz of Brazil 6-3, 6-3 in today's quarterfinals. Katrine Steffensen, who was already in the main draw in the French junior championships, also has reached the semifinals in Belgium. Steffensen, seeded No. 15, defeated No. 10 seed Akvile Parazinskaite of Lithuania 7-6(7), 6-3 in the quarterfinals today.

In the men's and women's draws at the French Open, Jack Sock defeated Steve Johnson 7-5, 6-4 6-2 to advance to the third round, joining Donald Young, who beat No. 26 seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-3, 7-6(1), 6-3 today. John Isner is also in the third round.  Only two US women are in the third round: Sloane Stephens, the No. 15 seed, and wild card Taylor Townsend.  Complete draws and Friday's schedule is available at the tournament website.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Townsend Reaches Third Round at French Open; Sock vs Johnson Thursday; Division III Titles to Amherst Men and Emory Women; Barry Women, West Florida Men No. 1 in Division II Final Rankings

Taylor Townsend made a successful main draw slam debut on Monday, defeating fellow American Vania King 7-5, 6-1. Townsend, who won the USTA's reciprocal wild card with the French Tennis Federation by collecting two consecutive $50,000 tournament titles last month, had a more daunting challenge today, facing No. 20 seed Alize Cornet. Cornet, who won the girls title at Roland Garros in 2007 and is No. 1 in France, had the crowd behind her of course, but it was Townsend who showed the bigger game, winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. It wasn't easy however. Up a 4-1 and serving in the second set, the 18-year-old left-hander from Stockbridge, Ga. lost five straight games, but she regrouped in the third set, again using her power and touch to take a two-break lead. She held serve for 5-1, but Cornet saved four match points in the next game, then broke Townsend at love.

Cornet held for 5-4, and as a light drizzle began to fall, Townsend stepped to the line to serve for the match again. Cornet had played error-free tennis for several games, but the strain of constantly trailing finally got to her. At 30-all, Townsend didn't get her first serve in, but Cornet's forehand return of an unimpressive second serve went long to give Townsend her fifth match point. Again she failed to connect on a first serve, but she made the second and after a brief rally, Cornet netted a forehand to end the match.

Townsend had 43 winners to Cornet's 18, with nearly half of those won at the net, where she has always been comfortable. In the next round, Townsend will play No. 14 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, another match that is winnable for her if she plays well.

Ben Rothenberg wrote this article on Townsend for the New York Times prior to the Cornet match, and it provides additional information on her coaching situation while also addressing the controversy over her fitness level.   Doug Robson of USA Today has more on Townsend's match with Cornet here.

Steve Johnson completed an improbable comeback, defeating French qualifier Laurent Lokoli 4-6, 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-3, while saving two match points. Johnson trailed two sets to none and 4-0, but forced a fourth and fifth set, although he had to finish the match, which was suspended by darkness yesterday with Johnson leading 3-1, today.
For more on the match, see Peter Bodo's article on tennis.com.

Johnson will play Jack Sock in the second round on Thursday, with Sock getting a retirement from Nicolas Almagro of Spain on Tuesday after taking a 5-0 lead in the first set.  Expect a tiebreaker in that match, as the two have split four matches with 5 of the 7 completed sets ending in tiebreakers.

For complete draws, schedule and results, see the French Open website.

While I was covering the NCAA Division I tournaments, the Division II and Division III champions were crowned, and I tweeted out links to the ncaa.com articles on them.  The Amherst men, ranked No. 4, surprised No. 1 and host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 5-3 and the top-ranked Emory women defeated No. 2 Amherst 5-1.  Joey Fritz of Amherst and Gabby Clark of Emory won the individual titles. For a recap of the Division III tournaments, see this article at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

The West Florida men won the Division II title, defeating Hawaii-Pacific 5-3 to finish the year undefeated.  Barry claimed the women's Division II title, beating Armstrong Atlantic 5-4.  Both those teams finished ranked No. 1.  For more on the Division II final rankings, including the individuals who finished at No. 1 (there is no individual tournament in Division II), see the ITA release.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bellis Wins ITF Grade A in Milan; Austin Claims Sumter $10K; USC Men, UCLA Women Finish Season Atop Rankings

I've had a long day of travel, so this will be a short post to catch up on some of the action over the weekend that I missed while covering the NCAA Division I Individual tournament.

CiCi Bellis won the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan, Italy, beating unseeded Naiktha Bains of Australia 6-3, 6-4 in the final.  The seventh-seeded Bellis, who is now 28-1 in ITF junior competition this year, didn't drop a set last week, and avenged her only loss by beating Darya Kasatkina of Russia 6-2 6-2 in the semifinals.  With the win, Bellis has risen to No. 3 in the ITF Junior rankings and will probably be seeded No. 2 in the French Junior Champions, which begins on Sunday.  No. 6 seed Roman Safiullin of Russia won the boys title in Milan, defeating No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia 6-2, 6-3.  For coverage of the finals, with comments from the champions, see this article by Sandy Harwitt for the ITF Junior website.

This week's tournament on the ITF Junior European Clay circuit is the Grade 1 in Belgium, with four US boys and two US girls into the third round: Taylor Fritz, Michael Mmoh(3), Alex Rybakov and Dennis Uspensky are the boys, and Dasha Ivanova(11) and Katrine Steffensen(15) are the girls.

At the only Pro Circuit event in the United States last week, Brooke Austin won her first title at the $10,000 tournament in Sumter, SC. THe 18-year-old University of Florida recruit, who had been in the Sumter final in both 2011 and 2013, finally broke through for the title, beating qualifier Nadja Gilchrist, the former Georgia star, 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-1. Unseeded wild card juniors Andie Daniell and Sophie Chang won the doubles title, beating top seeds Caitlin Whoriskey(Tennessee) and Sonja Molnar(Iowa) 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

This week the women's Pro Circuit is in Hilton Head, for another $10,000 tournament. Qualifying is now complete, with the main draw beginning on Wednesday.

There were no tournaments for men in the US last week or this week, but in a Mexico $15,000 Futures last week, former UCLA Bruin Dennis Novikov won his second career Futures title.  Novikov defeated former USC standout Daniel Nguyen 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the final, with neither player seeded. Former Pepperdine player Alex Llompart of Puerto Rico took doubles title, his ninth Futures title and second this year.

Chase Buchanan(Ohio State) reached his first Challenger final in Uzbekistan, losing 7-6(2), 6-2 to Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.  With his run to the final Buchanan is now at a career-high ATP ranking of 218.

The final team rankings were released today, with the NCAA team champion USC men and UCLA women taking the top spots.


1. University of Southern California

2. University of Oklahoma


4. University of Virginia

5. Ohio State University

6. Baylor University

7. North Carolina

8. University of Texas

9. University of Georgia

10. Texas A&M University


2. Duke
3. North Carolina
4. Georgia
5. Florida
6. Alabama
7. Virginia
8. Stanford
9. Texas A&M
10. Cal

For complete rankings, see the ITA ranking page.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Collins, Giron Claim NCAA Division I Singles Championships; Alabama and Tennessee Take Doubles Titles

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Athens, GA--

For unseeded Danielle Collins, the NCAA singles title she earned with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Cal's Lynn Chi Monday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex was "shocking" and historic, representing the first NCAA title for the University of Virginia's women's program.

Men's champion Marcos Giron, the No. 2 seed, joined a list of UCLA men's winners that includes Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe, and current Bruin coach Billy Martin, as the 20-year-old Californian survived both expectations and the Georgia heat and humidity, claiming the title with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over unseeded Alex Sarkissian of Pepperdine.

Collins, a 20-year-old from St. Petersburg, Florida, had had difficulty closing out several matches earlier in the tournament, but she spared herself that frustration against Chi.  After winning the first set by winning the final three games, primarily with her lethal returns, Collins found herself down 3-1 and 5-3, with Chi finding her rhythm and doing some effective returning of her own.  But Chi couldn't push the match to a third set, catching the tape on her shots four times while serving for the set at 5-4.  That's when Collins took her game up a notch, breaking Chi in the final game.

"Once I got down I just got really angry," said Collins. "I was like, okay, let's get it together, let's step it up and I just really got on a roll. It's incredible, but I still can't believe it; I'm really caught off guard to be honest."

Ranked No. 32 in the country and playing the No. 2 position at Virginia after transferring there from Florida last summer, Collins was hardly a favorite for the title, but her coach, Mark Guilbeau saw signs she was capable of competing among the best.

"The last half of the season, I could see," said Guilbeau, in his ninth season at Virginia. "Who knows who's going to win the NCAA title, but I could see that Danielle could beat just about anyone, and would probably be one of the toughest kids to beat as well."

Chi, a 19-year-old sophomore from Weston, Florida, had played Collins a couple times in the juniors, and they were on the 2011 Florida sectional team that won the USTA 18s Team Championship, but they hadn't met while in college. The 24th-ranked Chi, who played No. 4 for Cal in the team tournament, said her performance exceeded her expectations.

"I never thought that I would get to the finals," said Chi, a pre-med major at Cal. "To make it to the finals for me was just unbelievable. I never expected that, or anything near that. She played well. I learned so much this tournament and I'm just going to use it for next year."

Collins now faces a decision.  With a US Open main draw wild card expected to be offered to her as an American champion, Collins will need to decide whether to proceed with the wrist surgery she is scheduled to have on Friday.

Although she is looking forward to competing at the US Open, she is not tempted to turn pro right now.

"There's a lot more I want to accomplish during my time at UVA," Collins said. "We still haven't won the team championship, and that's something I hope I can help my team do, sooner rather than later. I think there's a lot more that needs to be accomplished and I believe Mark and Troy (associate coach Porco) can help me to develop more as a player, staying in college for the time being."

Giron, a junior, is also not ruling out a return to UCLA for his final year of eligibility, although he is planning to take the fall off and compete on the Pro Circuit rather than play collegiate events.

"I'm going to take the fall off and we'll see from there, depending on how I do," said Giron, from Thousand Oaks, Calif. "If things go real well, we'll see. But the plan is to take the fall off, and we'll see from there."

In Monday's final, Giron broke open a tight first set with a break at 2-all, using a big serve and showcasing some variety to go along with his always reliable forehand.  Although he had several visits from the UCLA trainer for treatment on his back during changeovers,  it was Sarkissian who seemed to suffer more fatigue as the match went into a second set.

"I noticed he wasn't changing directions as strong as he usually does," Giron said. "I wanted to make sure I used the entire court and not have too many straight up points. He's a big guy and he can hit big, so I wanted to get him more tired. He's had some really tough matches this week, so that had to be affecting him a little bit."

Broken in the first game of the second set, Sarkissian couldn't find a solution for Giron's consistency and power. A few attempts at shortening points were successful, but he couldn't muster enough first serves to threaten Giron.

"I expected him to come out playing well, he's a good player," said Sarkissian, a 24-year-old senior from Glendale, Calif. "He was just fitter than I was today, was able to hit a lot more balls than I was, so that's how he pulled it off."

Sarkissian expects to receive a wild card into the US Open qualifying in August, and will continue to train in the Los Angeles area, with perhaps a trip overseas for some ITF Men's circuit events.

Giron said he was honored to join the ten other NCAA singles champions from UCLA, and credited the staff with making the title possible.

"The UCLA program has done an unbelievable job," said Giron. "Billy Martin and Grant Chen did a fantastic job coaching and really supporting me throughout the season. And to become a part of such an exclusive list of champions is such an honor."

Giron's junior coach, Amir Marandy, was also in Athens to assist in the preparations for Giron's run at the NCAA title.

"All year long this has been a big goal, a big journey," said Marandy, who began working with Giron five years ago. "We always had the bigger picture of always being ready for the NCAAs. All week's been tough, obviously, with the team event being a difficult outcome for a second time, but he's done such a great job."

Should Giron receive the expected US Open wild card, he is not particular about who he gets in the draw.

"I cannot wait to play the main draw of the US Open," said Giron. "I played in the qualifying once, but to be in the main is another story.  I don't care who I play, just whoever comes my way.   I haven't played in any main draw ATP tournaments, so I'd like to see how my game holds up to it, but I definitely believe I can compete with anyone. I just always have to make sure to keep working on my serve, because if that stays strong, I know I can hang with anyone from the baseline. I'm excited to see where I stand up with the top pros in the world."

In the doubles finals, two SEC teams grabbed the titles, but their method of collecting those championships couldn't have been less similar.

Fourth-seeded Erin Routliffe and Maya Jansen of Alabama kept the hometown crowd out of the women's final match, dominating No. 2 seeds Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase of Georgia 6-1, 6-0, collecting their third win this year over the Bulldog pair.

"It's a matchup, I think," said Jansen, a sophomore from Valleyford, Washington. "I think how they play and how we play matches up perfect for us. We played amazing all three times we played them and we felt confident going into the match. Not too confident, because they're a tough team and we knew they'd been playing well, but I think we just played very well today."

Routliffe, a freshman from Ontario, Canada, said the support from the area's Crimson Tide fans also made a difference.

"When we found out we were going to be in the finals we texted all our friends near here telling them to come watch us," said Routliffe, who is just as comfortable saying "Roll Tide" as any native of Tuscaloosa. "We had a great support system, they've been supporting us all year, and our fans are amazing. In the match, when you're tight, and you hear them cheering your name, it's just the greatest feeling ever."

The title was the program's first, an accomplishment that Alabama athletic director Bill Battle was able to see in person.

"It was the first time in program history and had a lot of support from Bama Nation,  said Alabama coach Jenny Mainz. "It's been a total team effort. Our team collectively has played a big part in them winning this champion. They've pushed each other to be better in practice every day, and they kept raising the bar for each other. I couldn't be more proud of Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe."

While the women's doubles final was one-sided, the men's doubles final couldn't have been any closer.  For the first time in modern NCAA history (since 1977), the men's doubles title was decided in three tiebreak sets, with Tennessee's Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese earning a 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 7-6(6) decision over Ohio State's Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka.

The Tennessee team, seeded No. 2 and the winner of the ITA All-American championships last October, did not face a break point in the three scintillating sets of ATP-level tennis.  They had only five break points themselves, with two match points in the second set, both saved by Kobelt, serving at 5-6 to force the tiebreaker.

The third set was more of the same, with short points, dominated by Ohio State's big serving and overheads and some deft volleying by the Tennessee pair.

As the tension mounted in the third set, with V-O-L-S cheers from the Tennessee fans competing with similar noise from the Tennessee team members sitting in the stands directly opposite them, a tiebreaker looked inevitable, and when Libietis held for 6-all, it arrived.

Tennessee broke Kobelt's serve on the first point, but Ohio State recovered the mini break with Metka hitting a clean backhand down the line return winner with Libietis serving. Ohio State's Kobelt held for a 5-4 lead, with the serve going to Reese who won both points, the second with an ace, for a 6-5 lead and the Vols' third match point. Metka missed his first serve, but with Libietis standing practically on top of the net, the junior from Worthington, Ohio got the second one in and Kobelt hit Reese's return right at Libietis, who could not react in time.

After the change of ends, Metka missed his first serve long, and his second serve also went well past the service line, giving Tennessee its fourth match point. At 7-6, Libietis missed his first serve, but hit a good second serve with the return clipping the tape. Libietis handled that with no problem, directing the approach at Kobelt, who netted his forehand reply.  Both Reese and Libietis threw their racquets high into the air, and as the Tennessee team members made their way down to the courts to assist in celebrating, the pair shared a long embrace before the handshake.

"We did have a great season," said Reese, a junior from Kennesaw, Georgia, who also reached the National Indoor final with Libietis last November. "But it's hard to say we deserved it more than them today. It could have gone either way. But it feels nice to be rewarded for the season we have had."

Libietis, a junior from Latvia, who said he couldn't sleep last night thinking about playing in the final, also acknowledged the slim margins in their victory.

"It was a tough match, we couldn't find the break, we had some chances, they played really well," said Libietis. "We were holding our serve easy as well. It went that way and those tiebreakers, it's just a lottery."

Tennessee associate coach Chris Woodruff echoed that.

"We just hung in there," said Woodruff. "The way this match went, we could easily be having this conversation the other way."

"I told them if we held serve all day we'd win this match," said Ohio State coach Ty Tucker. "It didn't come true. Tennessee's a tough team and we were in it until the end. We had some opportunities to win that match."

Kobelt, a senior from New Albany, Ohio, felt the pain of such a close loss in his final match as a Buckeye.

"They came up with the plays at the end," said Kobelt. "They knew what they had to do and they executed. We fell short and it's disappointing, but it was a hell of year and I wouldn't have wanted to do it with anyone else. I'm proud of my team, proud of my teammates, proud of Kevin, but it's tough to swallow right now."

With their victory, Reese and Libietis become the second Tennessee team to win the NCAA title, joining Rodney Harmon and Mel Purcell, who took the championship in 1980.

For complete results, see georgiadogs.com.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Collins Meets Chi for NCAA Women's Singles Title; Giron and Sarkissian to Decide Men's Champion Monday in Athens

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Athens, GA--

Floridians Lynn Chi of Cal and Danielle Collins of Virginia will meet for the women's NCAA singles title Monday, while Marcos Giron of UCLA and Alex Sarkissian of Pepperdine, both Southern California residents, will represent that tennis hotbed in the men's championship match at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia.

Trailing Georgia State's Abigail Tere-Apisah 5-4, and 6-5 in third set of their semifinal match Sunday afternoon, Chi found another gear, breaking both times to stay in the match and going on to dominate the tiebreaker in her 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2) victory.  Collins provided semifinal drama as well, serving for the match three times in the second set before finally collecting herself to defeat Ester Goldfeld of Duke 6-3, 7-6(3).

Chi took a 4-0 lead in the first set before Tere-Apisah got on the board, but once the senior from Papua New Guinea got her first game she began to relax, making fewer errors to keep herself in points longer.

Chi started the second set with a break, but she failed to hold serve even once in the set, and Tere-Apisah, using the support of the Atlanta school's fans, held to even the match.

The third set began with Chi leading 3-0, but Tere-Apisah, ranked 22nd, refused to concede, winning the next three games. With Chi serving at 4-4, Tere-Apisah had two break points.  She netting a forehand on the first but hit a forehand return winner and a backhand volley winner in succession to earn an opportunity to serve out the match.

With all the breaks of serve in the match, a quick conclusion was unlikely and Tere-Apisah was broken at love, double faulting on the first game point. But after three deuces, she broke Chi again, and serving at 6-5, she once more failed to reach match point.  Chi had something to do with that, really going for her shots when she had the slightest opportunity and either hitting outright winners or forcing errors.

"Especially at the 5-6 game, I felt I'm already down, so I guess I'll go for it," said the 19-year-old sophomore from Weston, Fla, who is ranked 24th. "I had nothing left to lose and the balls just went my way. My coach just kept telling me to stay up on the baseline, stay inside the court, and I think that really helped. It allowed me to swing freely and I was able to hit my shots."

In the tiebreaker, Chi started with a forehand winner and a backhand winner, while Tere-Apisah's shots were landing wide with regularity. Leading 5-2 Chi hit a good first serve to earn four match points and she closed out the match on the first, hitting clean forehand winner to earn a place in the final against Collins.

It was only minutes before Chi's win that Collins had closed out her two-set victory over Goldfeld.  Leading 6-3, 5-2, Collins served for the match and had two match points, but netted a backhand on the first and watched as Goldfeld blew a forehand winner past her on the second. Goldfeld held for 5-4, and when Collins served for it a second time, she didn't get to match point, with Goldfeld hitting several big backhands to earn the break.

Goldfeld, a junior from Brooklyn, New York ranked 27th, played a loose game to get broken, and again Collins, ranked 32nd, was serving for the match.  She lost that game too, with Goldfeld getting her return game going and hitting a forehand return winner at 30-40 to force a tiebreaker.

Collins took a 6-1 lead in the tiebreaker, but Goldfeld saved two more match points, with Collins missing two returns.  But on match point No. 5, Collins pounded a backhand winner to secure the win, and wasn't too upset with her inability to end the match quickly.

"I've been in that situation so many times this tournament, it seems like, so when it got to 5-all, she was obviously playing very well, took some chances there," said Collins, a 20-year-old sophomore from St. Petersburg, Florida who transferred from the University of Florida to Virginia and the end of last season. "I still wasn't too worried at 5-all, because I'm handling some of those pressure situations pretty well. I was looking forward to battling it out."

Collins said her matches with Chi in the juniors went "back and forth," but they were teammates in the USTA 18s Team Championships, which the Florida section won back in 2011.

"We're good friends, and it's going to be a great match," said Collins, who is looking to become the first player from the University of Virginia to win an NCAA women's tennis title. "Lynn's a great player and obviously has had a great season, so it's going to be an awesome match."

On the line for both, as Americans, is a wild card into the main draw of the US Open, which the USTA, although not obligated to do so, has given to all the NCAA champions from the United States since 2009.

Chi said she and her coach actually discussed the possibility of that wild card in a goal-setting session several weeks ago, but she settled on a goal of being named and All-American multiple times.

"It had never really been my goal to get that (wild card)," said Chi. "I just wanted to get through college tennis, survive it. But having this opportunity, I'm definitely going to try my best and go for it."

Collins is also not solely focused on the wild card.

"It's a huge prize and I would love to play in the US Open more than anything," Collins said. "But at the same time, I've done so well, this is the best tournament I've ever had, and I think it's a lot to be proud of just to be there. I think it's good to just throw that behind and whatever happens, happens. Just battle your hardest and see how it goes."

Giron, the only seed left in the singles after his 7-5, 6-3 win over No. 9 seed Soren Hess-Olesen of Texas, admits to giving the possibility of a US Open wild card some thought.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about that," said Giron, a 20-year-old from Thousand Oaks, California. "It's obviously a huge goal of mine to get to the main draw of the US Open, so tomorrow's a great opportunity. I've been thinking about it, but I try to stay relaxed out there, because I don't want to add any pressure."

Giron trailed Hess-Olesen 4-1 in the opening set, before his serve and his forehand began to allow him to dictate the majority of points. After getting the break back to serve at 3-4, Giron hit four aces in that eighth game, and continued to threaten when Hess-Olesen was serving. Giron broke for a 6-5 lead and closed out the set, then took a 3-0 lead in the second set before Hess-Olesen got one of the breaks back.  Giron kept his lead however, and earned his place in the final when Hess-Olsen, a junior from Denmark, double faulted on match point.

Hess-Olesen had withdrawn from the doubles quarterfinals Saturday with Lloyd Glasspool, and may have been less than 100 percent healthy for the semifinal.

"I saw him yesterday when he was playing Mackie (teammate Mackenzie McDonald) and he had an issue with his ab," said Giron, who has had no injury problems all year. "I don't how much it affected him today, but I felt today on his serve, I was able to play on every return game. I think that put a lot of pressure on him. I didn't know how healthy he was, when he pulled out of doubles, but either way, it was going to be a battle. The guy's very solid from the baseline and I had to take care of business."

Giron was pleased that he had only had to play one three-set match in the Georgia heat, but Sarkissian, his opponent in Monday's final, needed three sets to get past Harvard's Denis Nguyen in Sunday's semifinal 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Nguyen played flawless tennis in the opening set, breaking  the 28th-ranked Sarkissian in the ninth game and converting his second set point with a crisp backhand that forced an error from Sarkissian.

The second set was decided by one loose game from the 39th-ranked Nguyen, who was serving at 5-6.  After Sarkissian had hit a remarkable forehand passing shot to make it 0-15, Nguyen made three successive errors and was broken at love to lose his first set of the tournament.

Because the temperatures were in the upper 80s and the humidity high, the heat rule was in effect, and both Sarkissian and Nguyen went into the men's locker room to cool down and change clothing.  Sarkissian said a break after winning the second set wasn't the momentum killer it might have been.

"I guess it worked out in my favor, so I can't really complain," said the 24-year-old senior from Glendale, Calif. "But I hadn't done that since juniors so it was something new. I just went to the bathroom, refreshed, came back, changed my shirt and got ready for the third set."

Sarkissian stayed steady, taking a 3-0 lead, as Nguyen, a junior from Anaheim, Calif., began making errors that he had avoided in the first two sets. Sarkissian didn't face a break point in the third set, and with Nguyen serving at 15-40 had a great look at a down the line forehand pass that he missed just wide.  He didn't need to hit another ball however, as Nguyen double faulted on match point to put Sarkissian in the final, the first Pepperdine player to reach that stage since Robby Weiss won the title for the Waves in 1988.

Despite Giron's No. 2 ranking and a 6-2, 6-3 win over him earlier in the year, Sarkissian does not view himself as an underdog in Monday's match.

"He played well the last match; he was the better player that day," Sarkissian said. "But no, I'm going out there tomorrow with just one attitude and that's to win the match."

The doubles finals are set, and unlike the singles, all four teams are seeded.

The women's doubles final will feature No. 2 seeds Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase of Georgia against No. 4 seeds Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe of Alabama.  Herring and Kowase defeated unseeded Emily Flickinger and Pleun Burgmans of Auburn 6-4, 7-5, much to the delight of the several hundred Georgia fans in attendance.   Jansen and Routliffe reached the final with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-2 victory over No. 5 seeds Beatrice Capra and Hanna Mar of Duke.

The men's doubles final has the same pairing, with No. 2 seeds Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee against No. 4 seeds Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka of Ohio State.  Libietis and Reese, who have reached the final of all three collegiate major this season, winning the All-Americans in October, defeated unseeded Hunter Harrington and Dominique Maden of Clemson 6-4, 6-2 in a match completed shortly before thunderstorms moved into the Athens area.

Kobelt and Metka, who where the recipients of the walkover from Hess-Olesen and Glasspool in Saturday's quarterfinals, beat unseeded Arjun Kadhe and Jakob Sude of Oklahoma State 7-6(2), 6-2.

The singles finals are both scheduled to begin at noon, and will be streamed, with commentary, on ncaa.com. The doubles finals, also streamed live, will follow the singles.

There is a chance of rain again on Monday, so follow @NCAATennis2014 on twitter for news of any schedule changes.

Complete results can be found at georgiadogs.com.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Chi Upsets Loeb to Reach Semifinals as Four Remaining Women's Seeds Exit NCAA Individual Championships

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Athens, GA--

When the top half of the men's draw lost the last of its seeds during the second round, two unseeded semifinalists were guaranteed. The women's draw had mostly kept to form until Friday's round of 16, when No. 3 seed Kristie Ahn of Stanford and No. 2 seed Robin Anderson of UCLA were beaten by unseeded players.   Saturday's quarterfinals at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex is where the women's tournament took a truly unexpected turn, with top seed Jamie Loeb of North Carolina and three other seeds all losing to unseeded opponents.

Although temperatures were cooler than on Friday, conditions were still difficult, with less breeze and higher humidity.  Three sets of tennis in the afternoon sun was required of the underdogs, and they all delivered, starting with Cal's Lynn Chi, who defeated Loeb 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. 

Loeb had no trouble at the beginning of the match, with the freshman from New York serving up 4-1 over Chi, a sophomore from Florida.  Chi, who said she was nervous at the beginning of the match, came back to tie it at 4-all, only to lose serve again, and Loeb served out the set.

Chi, who played No. 4 for the Bears in the team tournament last week, went down a break in the second set, with Loeb serving to take a 5-3 lead. But Chi got the break, held and broke for the second set, and her big hitting began to wear out Loeb, who was playing her sixth singles match in six days.

"I felt like she wasn't playing her best," said Chi. "She might be a little bit tired. I could tell that in the second and third set."

Chi jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third set, and Loeb couldn't rattle her. With no expectations coming into the match, Chi continued to swing freely, going for her shots and forcing errors.

"I really didn't expect much today, I think," said Chi, who saved a match point in her first round win. "I just went out there to hit my ball and some points here and there went my way. But it was a good match overall, and I'm glad to come out with the win."

 Instead of the expected semifinal match between Loeb and No. 5 seed Beatrice Capra of Duke, Chi will be playing Georgia State's Abigail Tere-Apisah, who surprised Capra 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Tere-Apisah, who had several dozen fans from the Atlanta school urging her on, said she knew Capra would get every ball back.

"I was willing to be out here," said the senior from Papua New Guinea. "I really enjoyed it, and I guess it just flowed."

Tere-Apisah said she played well in the first set, which took 80 minutes to complete, so she wasn't discouraged, and began to see an opening as the match wore on.

"It kind of felt like I broke her down a bit, that I just had to stay with her," said Tere-Apisah, who had lost to Capra in two tight sets last fall. "Maybe she was tired, I don't know, but I had to keep pushing her, keep moving her so she would maybe break down eventually, and I think it worked."

Danielle Collins of Virginia, who had beaten Anderson on Friday, continued her run of form, downing No. 7 seed Hayley Carter of North Carolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.  Serving at 4-5 in the third set, Carter saved three match points, but she couldn't force a tiebreaker, with Collins avenging her dual match loss to the Tar Heel freshman.

Collins will face another ACC rival in Sunday's semifinal, after Duke's Ester Goldfeld defeated UCLA's Chanelle Van Nguyen, a No. 9 seed, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.  Goldfeld had beaten Van Nguyen in the finals of the Team Indoor back in February, but she said that wasn't a factor in Saturday's result.

"That was indoors and Chanelle's from a California school where they don't play indoors," said Goldfeld, a junior from New York. "I don't think I really took into account that I'd beaten her before. This was a totally different match."

Goldfeld couldn't serve out the match at 5-2, but she was determined to get it done the second time.

"At the changeover at 5-4 I sat down and I told Jamie (coach Ashworth) that if I want this, I'm going to have to go get it. She's not going to give it to me," said Goldfeld. "When I was up 5-2 I was a little tentative, but I just stepped up and went for my shots."

Putting that mindset in action, Goldfeld hit a backhand winner for 30-0 and a forehand winner on match point to earn another shot at Collins, who beat her last month in the ACC tournament final 6-3, 6-1.

The men's semifinals will feature two seeds, with Texas's Soren Hess-Olesen preventing an all-UCLA semifinal.  Hess-Olesen, a No. 9 seed, defeated unseeded Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 0-6, 6-2, and will play his second Bruin in two days when he faces No. 2 seed Marcos Giron.  Giron defeated unseeded Ben McLachlan of Cal 6-1, 6-3.

Joining Giron in the semifinals are two other players with roots in Southern California junior tennis: Alex Sarkissian of Pepperdine and Denis Nguyen of Harvard.  Sarkissian defeated Roberto Cid of South Florida 6-0, 6-3, with Nguyen following him onto Court 6 and coming away with a 6-2, 6-2 over Florent Diep of Florida.

Nguyen said on Friday that being free of the academic rigors of Harvard helped him this week, adding today that playing daily is helping him establish a rhythm.

"In college tennis we usually just play two days, so playing four days in a row has been awesome, staying in rhythm," said Nguyen, a junior from Anaheim, California. "I'd say my footwork is one of the strengths of my game, doing everything well. And it's hot. When we play in the Northeast, it's like 50 degrees, 19 mile an hour winds and it's a little bit difficult to move. If you shank, your whole arm rattles. When it's hot here, I'm really loose, feeling amazing, so there's no excuses here."

Although Nguyen has yet to face a seeded player and won't again  on Sunday, he has won every match in straight sets, and has equaled the run to the singles semifinals of Jonathan Chu back in 2005.  He can equal James Blake, who reached the finals in 1999, with a win Sunday, but Nguyen isn't comfortable talking about that.

"Let's not compare me to those two legends," Nguyen laughed. "I never wanted to match them, they were just inspirations. I just want to work hard and see what I can do on my own. It's nice to be this far in the tournament, obviously."

The women's semifinals are scheduled to begin at noon, with the men's semifinals to follow at approximately 1:30 p.m.

The doubles quarterfinals were played on Saturday afternoon, with three seeded women's teams and two seeded men's teams into the final four.

No. 2 seeds Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase of Georgia sent their barking fans home happy, dominating the unseeded Baylor pair of Victoria Kisialeva and Blair Shankle 6-3, 6-1 and will face unseeded Pleun Burgmans and Emily Flickinger of Auburn, who downed No. 3 seed Carter and Loeb of North Carolina 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

The other women's semifinal will feature Duke's Capra and Hanna Mar, No. 5 seeds, against No. 4 seeds Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe of Alabama.  Capra and Mar defeated unseeded Caroline Price and Whitney Kay 7-5, 6-2, with Jansen and Routliffe outlasting No. 5 seeds Monique Albuquerque and Clementina Riobueno of Miami 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.

The men's No. 4 seeds Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka of Ohio State got a walkover from the unseeded Texas team of Lloyd Glasspool and Hess-Olesen due to an ab injury to Hess-Olesen.  Kobelt and Metka will play unseeded Arjun Kadhe and Jakob Sude of Oklahoma State, who defeated Sarkissian and Francis Alcantara of Pepperdine 6-4, 6-3.

No. 2 seeds Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee will play unseeded Hunter Harrington and Dominique Maden of Clemson, who took out No. 3 seeds Gonzales Austin and Ryan Lipman of Vanderbilt 6-4, 6-4.  Libietis and Reese defeated unseeded Gregory Bayane and Chase Melton of Cal 7-5, 6-3.

All doubles semifinals are expected to be played at 4 p.m., due to the possibility of rain Sunday afternoon.

For complete results, see georgiadogs.com.

NCAA Division I Team Recap; Wimbledon Junior Acceptances; Bellis Reaches Grade A Italian Open Final; Rubin Aims for First Futures Title in Spain

Before the start of the quarterfinals today in the NCAA individual championships, I wanted to post a few other notes on tennis outside of Athens.

My recap of the team championships won by the UCLA women and Southern Cal men is available at the Tennis Recruiting Network; if you don't have time to review my daily match coverage last week, you can get an abbreviated look at the team event here.

The Wimbledon Junior Championship acceptances were posted this week, and I'm pleased to announce I'll be there covering the tournament live this year, with a solid contingent of American players to focus on.

Francis Tiafoe, Stefan Kozlov and Michael Mmoh are all in the draw and will be seeded, with Tiafoe most likely the No. 1 seed, although that could change based on the results at the French Open juniors.  Henrik Wiersholm, Alex Rybakov and Logan Smith are the other American boys who have received direct entry, with Dennis Uspensky, Taylor Fritz, Sameer Kumar and Noah Rubin in qualifying.

The US girls in the Wimbledon juniors main draw are Tornado Alicia Black, CiCi Bellis, Sofia Kenin, Usue Arconada, Dasha Ivanova, Katrine Steffensen and Kaitlyn McCarthy.  Raveena Kingsley is only two spots out of the main draw and is likely to get directly in. Other Americans in qualifying are Johnnise Renaud, Olivia Hauger and Michaela Gordon.

At the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan, No. 7 seed CiCi Bellis has reached the final with a 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 3 seed Darya Kasatkina of Russia, who beat Bellis in last week's Grade 1 final.  Bellis will play unseeded Naiktha Bains of Australia in the final.

Unseeded Alex Rybakov reached the semifinals in Milan, falling to No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia in today's action.

At the $10,000 Futures in Spain, which featured several top American juniors including Tiafoe, Fritz, Kozlov and Collin Altamirano, No. 8 seed Noah Rubin has reached the final, after beating No. 2 seed Juan Lizariturry of Spain 6-2, 6-4. Rubin and Altamirano met in the quarterfinals, with Rubin winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.  It's his second Futures final his year and the third of his career.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Collins Ousts No. 2 Seed Anderson to Reach Quarterfinals as Temperatures Soar Friday

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Athens, GA--

The heat and humidity prevalent in Athens this time of year was largely absent during the team tournament and only slowly built over the course of the individual tournament. But it arrived for the round of 16 on Friday, and the 92-degree temperatures were just fine with the University of Virginia's Danielle Collins.

"It's funny, but you hear kids that are all tired and mopey from the heat," said the sophomore from St. Petersburg, Florida. "But being from Florida, and playing a lot of the southern tournaments, like Clay Courts, when I come here from Virginia, where we've had so much snow this year, it's like 'wow, this is really nice.'  And everybody else is like, oh, I want to get out of here.  I told my coach before the match, Robin Anderson is not going to like this weather."

Collins and the No. 2 seed from UCLA took the court at 12:30 p.m. and whether it was the weather conditions, the long week for team tournament's Most Outstanding Player, or the effects of her retirement from doubles due to a nosebleed on Thursday, Anderson was not herself.  Collins won the first set 6-1 and was up 5-1 and serving in the second set, before Anderson began her comeback.  The junior from New Jersey got back on serve at 4-5, but Collins managed to scrape out a break to post the 6-1, 6-4 upset.

"Sometimes when you're playing somebody and they're down like that, they have nothing to lose, so they're going to take some chances," said Collins, who transferred to Virginia from Florida after her freshman year. "She started picking up her level a little bit and gave me a run for my money there at the end."

Collins admitted to some surprise at her results this week, which include wins over Northwestern's Veronica Corning in the opening round and Cal's Anett Schutting, a No. 9 seed, in yesterday's second round.

"I didn't have the best year last year, but this year's been really great for me despite injuries," said Collins, who had beaten Anderson in the finals of the USTA Spring National 18s in Mobile back in 2010. "I'm having wrist surgery next Friday, so I'm just really happy to be able to come out here and play and get through it."

Next up for Collins is No. 7 seed Hayley Carter of North Carolina, who defeated No. 9 seed Jenny Julien of St. Mary's 7-5, 6-2.  Carter and Collins met this year in an ACC dual match, with Carter winning 6-2, 6-2.

"She beat me last time, so I'm looking for a rematch," said Collins. "Obviously she's a great player, really talented and a tough fighter, so it's going to be a great match."

The other quarterfinal in the women's bottom half will feature unseeded Ester Goldfeld of Duke against UCLA's Chanelle Van Nguyen. Goldfeld defeated unseeded Viktoriya Lushkova of Oklahoma State 6-4, 6-3, while Van Nguyen overcame unseeded Carol Zhao of Stanford 7-5, 6-2. Goldfeld and Van Nguyen met in the Team Indoor final, with Goldfeld winning that match 6-4, 7-5.

Goldfeld's teammate Beatrice Capra, the No. 5 seed, eliminated the last Georgia player in singles, defeating Silvia Garcia 7-6(4), 6-2.  Capra will play unseeded Abigail Tere-Apisah of Georgia State, who advanced to the quarterfinals when Stanford's Kristie Ahn retired trailing 6-3, 1-0. Ahn has been ill, possibly with food poisoning or a virus, since Tuesday.

The fourth women's match on Saturday will feature top seed Jamie Loeb of North Carolina against unseeded Lynn Chi of Cal.

Loeb battled Breaunna Addison of Texas, a 9 seed, for nearly two and a half hours before coming away with a 7-5, 6-4 victory.  Addison had dealt Loeb one of her three losses of the year early last fall, and the sophomore, who reached the singles semifinals last year, had also beaten Loeb in the first round of the Easter Bowl ITF in 2012.

"I think this is the first time I've beaten her in singles," said Loeb, who was named the ITA Rookie of the Year on Tuesday. "I lost to her in the fall and I lost to her at Easter Bowl. I don't know if we've played anywhere else. I've beaten her in doubles, but I knew coming into this match it was going to be a tough match, and I was looking forward to it."

Loeb started well, getting two breaks and serving at 4-1. But Addison fought back, broke Loeb when she was serving for the set at 5-4 40-0 and saved three more set points when Loeb was again serving for the first set at 6-5.  Addison made two backhand errors to finally give Loeb the first set.

At 4-all in the second set, Loeb got the break and went up 40-15, but double faulted on her first match point. On the second, she made a good first serve and when Addison sent a return wide, she had earned her place in the quarterfinals.

"It feels good to kind of get that out of the way," said Loeb. "The majority of that match I did not play my best tennis, and I think I learned a lot from this match and what I need to do for the rest of the tournament."

Chi reached the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 8 seed Jennifer Brady of UCLA.  The pair had met in the semifinals of the Pac-12 championships in Ojai last month, with Brady, the eventual champion, winning 6-4, 7-5.

"My coach said in the match would come down to a few points, and I guess today the few points went my way," said the sophomore from Florida, who saved a match point in her first round victory over No. 9 seed Emina Bektas of Michigan. "She had a few more errors today than she had in the other match. It wasn't her best day, but I stayed in there and tried my best."

The women's seeds have been reduced to four--Loeb(1), Capra(5), Carter(7) and Van Nguyen(9), while the men have only two seeds remaining in the final eight.

UCLA freshman Mackenzie McDonald eliminated Nik Scholtz of Ole Miss, a No. 9 seed, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and will take on Soren Hess-Olesen of Texas, another No. 9 seed.  Hess-Olesen, who also reached the quarterfinals last year, trailed unseeded Shane Vinsant of Texas A&M 7-5, 3-1 and was serving at 0-40 before holding in that game and going on to post a 5-5, 7-6(3), 6-3 victory.

Unseeded Ben McLachlan of Cal defeated unseeded Ryan Lipman of Vanderbilt 6-3, 6-4 and will take on No. 2 seed Marcos Giron of UCLA, who advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-6(4), 6-3 win over unseeded Nathan Pasha of Georgia. McLachlan and Giron's Pac-12 match last month went unfinished in the Bruins' 4-1 win.

Roberto Cid of South Florida ended the run of Oklahoma's Dane Webb 6-2, 7-5 and he will meet Alex Sarkissian of Pepperdine after Sarkissian's 7-6(1), 6-2 over Leandro Toledo of Minnesota.  The fourth quarterfinal will feature Harvard's Denis Nguyen and Florida's Florent Diep after Nguyen's 6-4, 6-1 win over Andrew Adams of South Carolina and Diep's 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Gonzales Austin of Vanderbilt.

Nguyen attributes his success this partially to being finished with school.

"Going to Harvard and playing tennis is very difficult because we have to balance academics and athletics at the same time," said the junior from California. "During the regionals, I had to take finals on the road. Here, there's nothing holding me back, and I'm just focusing on tennis, on one thing, so it's been really nice."

Nguyen is the first quarterfinalist from Harvard since Jonathan Chu reached the semifinals in 2005, and he has served as a role model for Nguyen.

"Jon and I are good friends," said Nguyen, who said he also hits occasionally with former Arkansas All-American Blake Strode, who is now at Harvard Law. "He's an inspiration to me. He's always given me advice going forward and I always look up to him a lot."

Nguyen is interested in playing professional events once he graduates.

"I've always wanted to go to medical school, so being pre-med and a student-athlete is all I have time for, but I'm planning on taking a gap year, take a year off maybe two, maybe play on the tour," said Nguyen. "I'm trying to figure that out right now."

The doubles quarterfinals are also set, with any team not already seeded attaining All-American status. Five men's teams and three women's teams earned that designation today.

Singles begin at noon on Saturday, with the first doubles match scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Complete draws and results can be found at georgiadogs.com.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

All-Americans Abound After Second Day of Competition in NCAA Division I Individual Tournament

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Athens, GA--

Wednesday's first round upsets, especially in the men's draw, gave many less celebrated players an opportunity to earn All-American status with wins in second competition Thursday at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Center.

All competitors seeded in the tournament had already earned that coveted title, but reaching the round of 16 also secures it, and 18 more players, including the entire top half of the men's draw, have now been added to the class of 2014.

One of those players is Oklahoma's Dane Webb, who is the only member of either of the team championship's finalists remaining in the individual competition after just two days of play.

Webb, a 21-year-old junior from Texas, was an All-American in doubles as a freshman, but playing lines 3 and 4 for Oklahoma in singles all year gave him little chance for a top national ranking.  After defeating Harrison Adams of Texas A&M on Wednesday, Webb took out No. 9-16 seed Peter Kobelt of Ohio State 7-5, 7-5 to reach the third round.

Webb, who didn't face a break point in the match, said his serve was a big factor in his win over the 6-foot-7 Kobelt, who is capable of hitting an ace at any time.

"His serve is just huge," said Webb. "Massive. I was just being aggressive with my return whenever I could get one. But since I've gotten older and grew a little bit, my serve's definitely been one of the better parts of my game. This year, it's really gotten a lot better--more reliable and a higher percentage, more accurate. Today, I was hitting it pretty big too."

Asked to explain how he survived the championship hangover that affected so many of his teammates and the Southern Cal players, Webb admitted getting over the loss Tuesday night was tough.

"I was proud, but I was really bummed out," said Webb, who was named to the all-tournament team at No. 3 singles. "I felt confident with my game, but I was feeling a little down. It really helped that I played later in the day, had time to think about it, and I felt I had a good opportunity and momentum, so I wanted to take this as far as I could.

"It's kind of crazy what happened yesterday, but I guess it's just hard to get up with the same energy, with the crowd and the team. It was a crazy day, but I guess it works out for me."

Webb is in the top half of the draw, where no seeded players remain, guaranteeing an unseeded finalist.  The other seven who earned All-American honors today are Robert Cid of South Florida, Leandro Toledo of Minnesota, Alex Sakissian of Pepperdine, Andrew Adams of South Carolina, Denis Nguyen of Harvard, Florent Diep of Florida and Gonzales Austin of Vanderbilt. Cid is the first All-American in his school's history.

In the bottom half of the draw, the three seeds remaining after the first round of play, all won again, with No. 9s Soren Hess-Olesen of Texas and Nik Scholtz of Ole Miss, and No. 2 Marcos Giron of UCLA advancing.

Giron looked like he might fall victim to the upset bug however, when he was down a set and a break to Virginia's Ryan Shane before taking a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 decision.

"I knew coming into the match that he takes big cuts at the ball," said Giron, who trailed 6-3, 2-1 with Shane serving. "He hit the ball as big as anyone. So I knew I would have to focus, see the ball early and move my feet, because from the baseline, it's not going to be easy to outhit the guy."

After securing the second set with forehand winner down the line after picking up a decent drop shot from Shane, Giron kept pace in the third set, but was a point away from serious trouble serving at 3-4, 30-40.  A good first serve and a forehand winner got him out of difficulty however and he earned two break points with Shane serving at 4-4. Shane saved the first with a forehand winner, but he missed his first serve and didn't take anything off his second, which found the net, giving Giron the break.

"He was going for his second serves all match long," said Giron, a junior from California. "So it didn't surprise me. In the second set, one of the games I broke him was on a double fault. So he kind of gave me a few shots here and there. But the guy hits big and it was tough. I was just kind of scrambling out there."

Giron's teammate Mackenzie McDonald earned All-American honors with a win over Duke's Jason Tahir, with Shane Vinsant of Texas A&M, Ryan Lipman of Vanderbilt, Ben McLachlan of Cal and Nathan Pasha of Georgia also joining the elite of college tennis.

In the women's draw, 11 of the 16 seeds advanced to the third round, including the top 3: Jamie Loeb of North Carolina, Robin Anderson of UCLA and Kristie Ahn of Stanford.

No. 6 seed Lauren Herring of Georgia was beaten by Stanford freshman Carol Zhao 7-6(4), 7-5, with Danielle Collins of Virginia, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over No. 9 seed Anett Schutting of Cal and 17-year-old Viktoriya Lushkova of Oklahoma State, a 7-5, 7-5 winner of No. 9 seed Olivia Janowicz of Florida, joining Zhao as All-Americans.

Duke's Ester Goldfeld, Cal's Lynn Chi and Georgia State's Abigail Tere-Apisah earned All-American honors with victories today.

The first round of doubles saw the exit of both No. 1 seeds.  Southern Cal's Yannick Hanfmann and Raymond Sarmiento were beaten by Jack Findel-Hawkins and Norbert Nemcek of North Florida 6-4, 6-1.

UCLA's Robin Anderson and Jennifer Brady were forced to retire up 3-0 over Clemson's Beatrice Gumulya and Jessy Rompies when Anderson suffered a nose bleed after the first game.  A player is allotted 15 minutes for that particular malady, but if it stops and starts again, as it did after the third game, the player must retire; there is no additional provision for treatment.

For all the day's results, see georgiadogs.com.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Top-ranked Thompson Falls to Cid as Seeds Struggle on Opening Day of NCAA Division I Individual Championships

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Athens, GA--

It's safe to say you can expect the unexpected in the first round of the NCAA individual tournament, which gives none of the players, including those in Tuesday's team final, any time to recover from the emotional and physical demands of the team tournament.

Those in the team final are given late starts, so the women's top two seeds, North Carolina's Jamie Loeb and UCLA's Robin Anderson, have yet to take the court, but already three of the top four men's seeds are out, including top seed Clay Thompson of UCLA.

The upsets came early and often, with No. 3 seed Julian Lenz of Baylor falling to No. 54 Andrew Adams of South Carolina 6-1, 6-3 in a 9 a.m. match, followed closely by No. 4 Julia Elbaba's 6-2, 6-2 loss to No. 51 Krista Hardebeck of Stanford.

Hardebeck had had a difficult sophomore season playing No. 2 for the Cardinal and had lost all three of her matches in the team competition in straight sets, but she took Wednesday match as a fresh start.

"I really haven't had the best season and my team unfortunately lost in the semis, so I just figured I'd go out there, give it my all, just swing away, because at this point I really have nothing to lose," Hardebeck said. I don't think she played her best today, unfortunately, but that worked to my advantage."

Hardebeck, who played a key role in Stanford's team title in 2013, felt the 4-3 loss to North Carolina keenly.

"The teams, we all wanted it so bad, especially when you're defending champion," said Hardebeck, who said her win over Elbaba was her best this season. "I already knew what it felt like to win, and I wanted it so bad, so it was really, really disappointing for all of us. But I just said, well, I'm not fighting for a team anymore, I'm right back out there by myself, and it almost feels like a summer tournament to me. I hardly feel like this is a college tournament anymore, I've just been playing team so much."

UCLA's Mackenzie McDonald had had the opposite results from Hardebeck in the team tournament, winning two matches and leading in an unfinished one, but his draw in his first NCAA individual tournament was not a great one: No. 4 seed Mitchell Frank of Virginia.  McDonald, a freshman, had gotten a wild card into the All-Americans in Tulsa last October and drawn Frank in the first round, losing to the Cavalier junior 6-7(1), 6-1, 6-2, with Frank going on to win the tournament.

"I was pretty excited to play Mitchell again," said McDonald, who closed out a tough last game, saving a set point en route to a 6-2, 7-5 victory. "I lost to him at the beginning of the year and this is the end of the year. I thought it would be a great match to see improvements, to see where I am, and I'm really happy to pull it out, because it shows me I've improved, gotten better since the start of the year."

McDonald was relieved to finish off Frank in two sets.

"The difference between Mitchell and a lot of players is that he's always in every single point," said McDonald. "That last service game I played was really tight and I'm really happy I was able to keep my focus because every point counts against him. He can change things around pretty quickly, he's a good player."

The early start time was a challenge for McDonald, but it did keep him out of the worst of the Georgia heat, which made it first real appearance Wednesday, with temperatures near 90.

"I've eaten breakfast later than my match time every single day since I've been here," McDonald said. "This is the earliest I've been up in a couple of weeks. It was tough getting up, but I got out there and I was really pumped on the match. I was ready."

McDonald's teammate and No. 2 seed Marcos Giron had no difficulty with Tennessee's Hunter Reese, but top-ranked and No. 1 seed Clay Thompson couldn't solve University of South Florida's Roberto Cid, dropping his afternoon match 6-3, 6-3.

Cid, a sophomore playing his first season of college tennis, knew he was facing a challenge against Thompson, who serves and volleys as much as possible.

"We saw him earlier this week when he played in the team championships, so my coach and I sat down and talked about it," said Cid. "We talked about the tactics I had to do, what I had to do in order to be successful today, and I think I did great on that, and I'm very excited."

Cid, who has already played five Davis Cup ties for his home country of the Dominican Republic, winning two matches in five attempts, said his unexpected win today was one of the highlights of his tennis career.

"I did work hard all year for this tournament. It's definitely a great achievement to beat the No. 1 guy in the country," said Cid, 20. "I'm very excited for what's coming. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

In addition to Thompson, Lenz and Frank, No. 6 seed Alex Domijan ended his outstanding career at Virginia with a loss, going out to No. 38 Leandro Toledo of Minnesota 6-7(4), 7-6(12), 6-4.

Number 9 seed Brayden Schnur of North Carolina, who was named ITA Rookie of the Year at yesterday's award banquet, lost to Alex Sarkissian of Pepperdine in a thriller on court 1. Sarkissian saved a match point in the third set tiebreaker, whipping a forehand passing shot past Schnur, who was serving at 6-5. Schnur then double faulted, and on Sakissian's first match point sent a backhand long for a 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(6) victory.  Sakissian, ranked 28th, had reached the round of 16 in 2013.

Other women's seeds falling were No. 9 seeds Emina Bektas of Michigan and Cristina Stancu of Texas A&M. Lynn Chi of Cal saved a match point in the second set tiebreaker to defeat Bektas 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, while 2012 semifinalist Zsofi Susanyi, also of Cal, beat Stancu 6-0, 6-4. 

Because I am attending the ITA Men's College Hall of Fame dinner this evening to see former Kalamazoo College coach and National tournament director Timon Corwin's induction, I will not be staying until the end of tonight's singles. I hope to update all results later this evening.

UPDATE: 11:00 PM

With the completion of the day's matches, only five seeds remain in the men's tournament, No. 2 Marcos Giron of UCLA and four 9 seeds:
Peter Kobelt of Ohio State, Soren Hess-Olesen of Texas, Nik Scholtz of Ole Miss and Winston Lin of Columbia, who was seeded when Kentucky's Tom Jomby was unable to compete due to injury.  Two seeds--No. 5 Guillermo Alcorta and No. 7 Axel Alvarez of Oklahoma--withdrew, with alternates taking their places. Sooners Dane Webb and Andrew Harris both won their first round matches. USC's Yannick Hanfmann and Raymond Sarmiento both lost, while Roberto Quiroz withdrew. USC's Jonny Wang, who did not play in the team tournament, is the only Trojan remaining in singles. 

The women's seeds playing into the evening all advanced, including all four UCLA players in the draw--Robin Anderson(2), Jennifer Brady(8), Chanelle Van Nguyen(9-16) and Kyle McPhillips.  North Carolina's Jamie Loeb(1) and Hayley Carter(7) won their first round matches in straight sets, while Caroline Price lost in three to Van Nguyen.

Complete draws, with times for Thursday's singles and doubles matches, can be found at georgiadogs.com.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pac-12 Sweeps Division I Championships, with UCLA Women, USC Men Claiming Team Titles

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Athens, GA--

Until Tuesday, Southern California men's coach Peter Smith and UCLA women's coach Stella Sampras Webster had different impressions of Athens, Georgia.  Smith's Trojans had claimed two NCAA team titles at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex at the University of Georgia in 2010 and 2012, while Sampras Webster's Bruins had suffered losses in the finals here in 2004, 2007 and 2012.

But on Tuesday that disparity disappeared, with both teams claiming NCAA titles over determined underdogs making their NCAA debuts at one of college tennis's most history-laden sites.

No. 5 seed UCLA's 4-3 victory over No. 7 seed University of North Carolina began in routine fashion, with the Bruins taking the doubles point, as they had done in every match they played this year. It ended with sophomore Kyle McPhillips securing the championship point in a tense final game, defeating Caroline Price 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to give the Bruins their second NCAA Women's Team Championship.

UCLA's Catherine Harrison and McPhillips won at No. 2 doubles in dominating fashion, beating Price and Whitney Kay 8-2. At No. 1, UCLA's Robin Anderson and Jennifer Brady had seen their 5-3 advantage slip away against Jamie Loeb and Hayley Carter, but Brady and Anderson, the nation's top-ranked team, took the tiebreaker 8-7(3) to give UCLA the 1-0 lead.

The teams split first sets, so the Tar Heels needed to force a third set somewhere.  Anderson, ranked No. 2 in the nation, had dealt freshman Jamie Loeb only the third loss of her career against 50 wins at line 1, giving UCLA a 2-0 lead.  Anderson, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, had lost to Loeb in straight sets in the finals of both fall ITA majors, but the junior from New Jersey played flawless tennis to dispatch the top-ranked New Yorker.

"I went into the match feeling like I had nothing to lose," said  Anderson, who deemed it one of the best matches she had ever played. "I just wanted to stay really, really aggressive regardless of the outcome. I was actually really nervous, but I tried hard not to show it."

Once their nearly automatic point had lost, North Carolina didn't collapse, helped by Carter's 6-2, 6-2 win over Brady at line 2 to make it 2-1.  North Carolina's Tessa Lyons earned a split with Kaitlyn Ray at line 6, and Kate Vialle pulled the Tar Heels even with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Catherine Harrison at line 5.  Price had dropped the first set, but she earned a split with McPhillips, while Chanelle Van Nguyen, who had lost the first set to North Carolina's Ashley Dai, had forced a third set a line 4.

Van Nguyen went on to make it 3-2 UCLA with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Dai, inserted in the lineup in place of Kay, who had struggled against Stanford in the semifinals due to plantar fasciitis.

With the Bruins needing only one more point, Ray had served for the match at 5-4 against Lyons, but was broken at love, while McPhillips had broken Price to serve for the match, and the championship, at 5-3.

Down 0-40 in that game, McPhillips saved those break points and another, while Lyons held for 6-5, and earned a match point for North Carolina against Ray at 30-40.  After a tense rally Lyons crushed a forehand winner to beat Ray 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, making it 3-3 and turning all the attention to court 3.

"That's why I play tennis," said Lyons, a senior from Pennsylvania. "I play for those situations, for the girls next to me, for my team. That girl would have had to kill me to beat me. I was tired, but I couldn't feel what was going on, and I knew if I stayed up in the court, I would win."

Back on court 3, still in that 5-3 game, Price had another break point, but McPhillips saved it, and after the game's second deuce, McPhillips began to lock in. She didn't miss first serves and any errors she did commit were forced by Price's presence at the net. McPhillips finally earned a match point, but Price saved it with a huge cross court backhand winner.  After two more break points were saved, McPhillips had another match point, but the junior from Georgia, the daughter of former NBA star Mark Price, saved it with a tricky overhead off a good McPhillips lob.

McPhillips decided to serve and volley on the next match point she earned, but she missed a routine backhand volley--her only real mistake in the final ten minutes of the 15-minute game.  Another deuce, the seventh of the game, led to another match point, and this time Price couldn't save it.  The 6-foot left-hander again came forward, but she pushed her forehand volley long, and McPhillips was mobbed by her teammates. She was under the pile so long that she staggered, dizzy, as she finally found her feet and approached the net to shake Price's hand.

"This is the single best accomplishment I've ever had in my life," said the 20-year-old from Ohio. "I've played Wimbledon, the Australian Open, the French Open, US Open and nothing compares to this day right here. Winning individuals is really so different from winning for your team, your coaches, your school. There's been so much effort and people and hard work that has gone into this moment right here, so this is the highlight of my tennis career."

Sampras Webster said this team had reminded her of the team who won the 2008 championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Bruins first NCAA team title, even before today's victory.

"I felt it was ours to lose almost because of the players on this team," said Sampras Webster, in her 18th year coaching UCLA, and sister of 14-time slam winner Pete Sampras.  "We lost two matches all year, and I just really believed in this team. It felt very similar (to 2008) because we were the best team this year. Of course, it's not always the best team that wins, so we were fortunate that we were able to fight and battle and pull out those four points."

For North Carolina coach Brian Kalbas, who led the Tar Heels to the program's first national team title at the 2013 Indoor Championships, and now to their first NCAA final, the poise and resilience of his team was a source of pride.

"We've never been to the finals before so I don't know how to feel, but I have mixed emotions," Kalbas said. "I'm really proud of our team. We fought extremely hard...UCLA's such a great team. It's heartbreaking to end the season, but I'm really, really proud of our team and our run at the NCAA tournament."

The lengthy women's match pushed the men's final nearly 45 minutes beyond its scheduled starting time, a relief for spectators trying to catch their breath after the heart-pounding excitement of the women's final.

The top-seeded Trojans had a decided edge in experience, with three starters on the team that won the 2012 title here, but there was no sign of nerves from the second-seeded Sooners, who came out and took the doubles point.

Alex Ghilea and Nick Papac took a tiebreaker from Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson at line 3, and Guillermo Alcorta and Andrew Harris  left the match on court 1 unfinished by defeating USC's Connor Farren and Robert Quiroz 8-5 at line 2.

While the USC pep band, making its first appearance at this year's tournament, played during the intermission between doubles and singles, fans wondered if the Trojans could find a way to four points against an Oklahoma lineup featuring two of the nation's Top 10 players in Alcorta and Axel Alvarez at lines 1 and 2.

But Alcorta's opponent, Yannick Hanfmann, and Alvarez's opponent, Raymond Sarmiento, were veterans who were not rattled after dropping the doubles point.

Sarmiento, a senior, fell behind 3-0 in the first set, but roared back to take it 6-4, while Hanfmann, a junior, was determined to keep Alcorta from playing long points, moving forward at every opportunity and converting the volleys. Hanfmann secured the first set 7-5, but by that time, Oklahoma's Dane Webb had beaten Quiroz 6-1, 6-2, in just over an hour, giving the Sooners a 2-0 lead.

"I was a little nervous in the first game," said Webb, a junior from Texas, "but after that I really got it rolling. It was definitely way better than I played yesterday and probably one of the best matches I've played all year long."

Harris had taken the first set from de Vroome at line 4, but Ghilea, one of Oklahoma's heroes in its semifinal win over UCLA on Monday night, couldn't convert a 5-2 lead in the first set tiebreaker at line 6, and the Trojans' Michael Grant was up a set.

At line 5, USC's  Johnson was racing Webb to post the first singles point, but Oklahoma's Austin Siegel dug in, saving three match points serving down 6-1, 5-3, and eventually forcing a second set tiebreaker.  Hanfmann closed out Alcorta 7-5, 6-2, showing more confident tennis with each game, and Sarmiento followed, again coming back from a break early in the set to take a 6-4, 7-6(4) victory.

When Johnson finally subdued Siegel, making it 3-2 USC, De Vroome had forced a third set against Harris and Ghilea had taken the second set from Grant.

De Vroome, a 6-foot-5 sophomore from the Netherlands, got up 4-2 in the third set over Harris, a freshman from Australia, and was serving at 4-3, 40-0 when the inevitable became less so. Another game point eluded the relentlessly attacking de Vroome and eventually Harris broke to make it 4-4.

Although Grant had taken a 4-2 lead over Ghilea, the Trojans had reason for concern, but de Vroome broke right back to give himself a chance to serve for the match and the championship.

"Incredible effort, if you think about it," said Smith. "He's up 4-3, 40-0, with his serve, he should never lose that game. But for him to lose that game and then come back and break right back, and then it happened to him again."

Smith was referring to the final game, when de Vroome again took a 40-0 lead, earning three match points for the championship.  He missed a backhand long to lose the first one, then pushed a forehand long to make it 40-30.

"He needed to get to the net on that last point," said Smith, whose teams feature many players committed to that style, although none so obviously as de Vroome.

On a second serve, de Vroome came in, and Harris hit a good dipping return to his backhand.  But de Vroome executed a perfect backhand volley winner to deliver the Trojans fifth title in the past six years.

"There's so much going through your mind," de Vroome said about losing that eighth game. "But seeing your teammates right next to the court and coaches on the court, they help you through it. There's no way I could have done it without them."

Although his record of five titles in five final appearances doesn't suggest it, Smith reiterated that winning an NCAA title is hard, and he admitted the Trojans were not one of the favorites when the season began.

"We lost in the quarters last year, and I don't think we were one of the name schools," said Smith. "To me, I looked at the squad and we needed to get better. And we certainly got better, guys got a lot better. Michael Grant, huge contribution here. Max de Vroome, Eric Johnson, they really stepped it up. And Ray got to this point, and it was a lot like his sophomore year. He didn't lose a set. But we had a lot of work to do."

Sarmiento, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, described what it felt like to return to the venue where the Trojans won the second of three titles he has now collected in his USC career.

"Walking on these courts is just comfortable for us," said Sarmiento. "Coming back here after two years ago, there's just so many memories. You walk on these courts and it's like you're playing at home. It's definitely a great place to play, a great atmosphere, and it makes it so special."

Oklahoma coach John Roddick, who played his college tennis for Georgia on the very same courts, was impressed with USC's performance.

"That was probably some of the best singles I've seen played this year," said Roddick, in his fifth year at Oklahoma. "Having said that, I think we played some of the best doubles that's been played this year, so it was a very, very high quality match."

As for Oklahoma's rapid ascent into the elite of college tennis, a rise even he admitted was "ahead of schedule,"  Roddick knows there is no guarantee that it's permanent.

"You just have to keep recruiting," said Roddick, who had the support of his younger brother Andy and sister-in-law Brooklyn Decker at Dan Magill Tennis Center Tuesday night. "I can't control whether or not our team gets to the finals. I can help them get there, I can help them get better at tennis, work on the right things. But I have to have good players to start with. At the end of the day, it's about these guys wanting to come in and wanting to play, and already being damn good tennis players. Without those guys, you don't have a program. It's as simple as that."

For complete results, as well as the draws for the individual singles and doubles tournaments, which begin Wednesday, see georgiadogs.com.

Women’s Final: #5 UCLA (27-2) def. #7 NORTH CAROLINA (29-6), 4-3 - Henry Feild Stadium

Doubles (Order of finish: 2,1)   

1. #1 Robin Anderson/Jennifer Brady (UCLA) def. #3 Jamie Loeb/Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA), 8-7(3)
2. #9 Catherine Harrison/Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) def. #13 Whitney Kay/Caroline Price (NORTH CAROLINA), 8-2
3. Courtney Dolehide/Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) vs. Ashley Dai/Tessa Lyons (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-7, unf.

Singles (Order of finish: 1,2,5,4,6,3)

1. #2 Robin Anderson (UCLA) def. #1 Jamie Loeb (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-2, 6-2
2. #5 Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #8 Jennifer Brady (UCLA), 6-2, 6-2
3. #38 Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) def. #59 Caroline Price (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
4. #13 Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) def. #105 Ashley Dai (NORTH CAROLINA), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
5. Kate Vialle (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #75 Catherine Harrison (UCLA), 6-4, 6-4
6. Tessa Lyons (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Kaitlin Ray (UCLA), 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
Men’s Final: #1 USC (32-3) def. #2 OKLAHOMA (28-4), 4-2 - Henry Feild Stadium

Doubles (Order of finish: 3,2)     

1. #1 Yannick Hanfmann/Ray Sarmiento (USC) vs. Axel Alvarez/Dane Webb (OKLAHOMA) 5-6, unf.
2. Guillermo Alcorta/Andrew Harris (OKLAHOMA) def. Connor Farren/Roberto Quiroz (USC), 8-5
3. Alex Ghilea/Nick Papac (OKLAHOMA) def. Max de Vroome/Eric Johnson (USC), 8-7(2)

Singles (Order of finish: 3,1,2,5,4)

1. #10 Yannick Hanfmann (USC) def. #5 Guillermo Alcorta (OKLAHOMA), 7-5, 6-2
2. #9 Ray Sarmiento (USC) def. #7 Axel Alvarez (OKLAHOMA), 6-4, 7-6(4)
3. #41 Dane Webb (OKLAHOMA) def. #42 Roberto Quiroz (USC), 6-1, 6-2
4. #91 Max de Vroome (USC) def. #53 Andrew Harris (OKLAHOMA), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
5. Eric Johnson (USC) def. Austin Siegel (OKLAHOMA), 6-1, 7-6(2)
6. Michael Grant (USC) vs. Alex Ghilea (OKLAHOMA), 7-6(5), 2-6, 4-2, unf.