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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.


BruinFan said...

What horrible luck for Anderson to get a nosebleed. She and Brady have only lost a few matches all year and they were certainly one of the big favorites for the doubles title. Hope she'll be all fine for singles.

Austin said...

Why did Sarmiento even bother to play? Poor way to end career after great team results.

Yes, too bad for Anderson, you would thnk they could have done something.

Scoreboard MUCH better last two days!!

Get real perspective said...

For Sarmiento, winning the national championship and being MVP is a great way to end college career. He didn't sign up for the individual, he was put into it, and it means more to others than it does to some players, especially the winners and finalists who leave it all on the court to get there. I think it is more healthy to win team and celebrate than to put your body through the stress of individuals. To start the individuals the day after team just doesn't make sense. btw Austin, what have you done in the last week?

Tennisforlife said...

Austin - get a life. Ray went to the mat in the team event. He left it all out there. Don't judge his college career on a singles match the day after. Your commentary is better than that!!

Showed your hand said...

In college tennis, I respect the guy or gal that leaves it all out there for their team, more than the person worried about individuals. Save that for pros. The Sarmiento bash sounds like another comment made a guy on a PC in a basement, not someone who really knows college tennis.