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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Cal Beats Texas A&M, Tennessee Tops Duke to Put Two Unseeded Teams in Men's Sweet 16; Uspensky Wins ITF Grade 2 in Austria; Fahey, Perez Take Delray Beach Grade 4 Titles

On Saturday, only one nationally seeded women's team, No. 15 Northwestern, failed to advance to the Sweet 16, which begins Thursday in Athens.  In the four second round matches on the men's side played yesterday, there were two close calls, but No. 15 Kentucky and No. 12 Illinois escaped with 4-3 victories.

The 12 men's regionals still to be decided today produced the upsets, with Tennessee defeating No. 11 seed Duke 4-2, and Cal downing No. 8 Texas A&M 4-3.  The day's other nail-biter saw No. 16 seed Columbia defeat host Vanderbilt 4-3 to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in the school's history.  The match came down to No. 1 singles, where Columbia's Winston Lin, who was cramping, held on to defeat Gonzales Austin 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Tennessee's win over Duke in Durham came down to No. 1 and No. 2 singles, with Mikelis Libietis at No. 2 clinching the win for the Volunteers with a 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 decision over Fred Saba.

In College Station, Cal won the doubles point and led 2-0 when Andre Goransson defeated Junior Ore at line 4.  Harrison Adams put Texas A&M on the board with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Ben McLachlan at line 1, but Cal had won four first sets, and made it 3-1 when Gregory Bayane beat Jackson Withrow 6-3, 6-2 at line 5.  Cal's Nikhil Jayashankar was serving for the match against Jordan Szabo at line 6, leading 6-3, 5-3, but he couldn't close it out, and Szabo took the ensuing second set tiebreaker.  As was the case with Clemson against Kentucky and Memphis against Illinois on Saturday, it seemed the momentum had permanently moved to the Aggies after Jayashankar's second set loss, particularly when Jeremy Efferding made it 3-2 with a 7-6(6), 6-3 win over Filip Bergevi. Shane Vinsant had forced a third set against Campbell Johnson at line 2, and Szabo was running away with his third set against Jayashankar.  Vinsant led 3-1 in the final set, but began cramping, and by the time Szabo had tied the score with his 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 victory, Vinsant had lost his advantage, with Johnson holding for 4-3, breaking for 5-3 and serving out the match for a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win.  It's the second year in a row Cal has reached the Sweet 16 unseeded.  For more on the match, see the Cal website.

Below are the results from today's second round matches, with the asterisk denoting the host team.

(1)Southern Cal* def. Oklahoma State 4-1

(16) Columbia def. Vanderbilt* 4-3

Cal def. (8) Texas A&M* 4-3

(5) Baylor* def. Tulsa 4-1

(13) Notre Dame* def. Ole Miss 4-2

(4) Virginia* def. Penn State 4-1

(14) Florida* def. South Florida 4-0

Tennessee def. (11) Duke* 4-2

(6) UCLA* def. San Diego 4-0

(7) North Carolina* def. South Carolina 4-1

(10) Georgia* def. North Carolina St 4-1

(2) Oklahoma* def. Harvard 4-0

The complete men's bracket Friday's times is here.  The women begin play on Thursday.  Their bracket is here.

In ITF Junior News, all four USA teams advanced to the ITF Team finals in the qualifying in Montreal this weekend.  The Junior Davis Cup, Junior Fed Cup and World Junior Tennis girls team all went undefeated in the round robin competition. The World Junior Tennis boys team lost to Canada, but still advanced to the Czech Republic in August by finishing second.  The ITF Junior website article, with a photo of the two US girls team, is here.

At the Delray Beach ITF Grade 4, two unseeded players won their first ITF titles.  Eddie Herr boys 16s champion Alfredo Perez ended the ITF junior winning streak of Eddie Herr 14s champion Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia at 26 matches, beating the No. 4 seed 6-4, 7-5 in the final. Kecmanovic had beaten Perez in the quarterfinals of last week's Grade 4 in Coral Gables.

Katharine Fahey, who recently announced a verbal commitment to Michigan for 2015, has played just a few ITF events, with a quarterfinal showing at Claremont in March her best result until this week.  Fahey defeated No. 6 seed Sydney Riley in the first round and last week's champion Ingrid Neel in the semifinals before taking on top seed Mia Horvit in the final. The 17-year-old from New Jersey won her second three-setter in a row, defeating Horvit 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Unseeded Dominique Schaefer and Sofia Sewing won the girls doubles championship, beating Anna Dollar of the US and Daniela Pedraza Novak of Colombia, seeded fouth, 6-4, 6-2.

The boys doubles winners were Gabriel Roveri Sidney of Brazil and Danile Superlano of Venezuela, who defeated Vasil Kirkov and Sam Riffice of the US 2-6, 6-1, 10-2.  Both teams were unseeded.

This coming week, the final leg of the Florida ITF Grade 4 clay court swing is in Plantation.

Dennis Uspensky won his first ITF junior title at the Grade 2 in Austria. Uspensky had reached the semifinals of the Grade 1 in France last month and the final of the Grade 2 last week in Italy.  This week Uspensky,  No. 70 in the ITF junior rankings before this tournament title, was the No. 3 seed, and after losing the first set in his first match, went on to win ten straight sets, beating No. 2 seed David Poljak of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-3 in the final.

This week the American juniors begin to travel to Europe in earnest, for the Grade 1 in Santa Croce Italy, the warmup for the Italian Open in Milan in two weeks.  US boys in the field this week are qualifier Alexander Lebedev, Logan Smith and lucky loser Walker Duncan. Orlando Luz of Brazil is the top seed.

The girls top seed is a shocker, with Indy de Vroome taking a wild card into the tournament. The 17-year-old from the Netherlands, has not played a junior event since the Orange Bowl in December of 2012, and is ranked 208 in the WTA, which is how she received her seeding.  CiCi Bellis, in her first action since winning Carson and the Easter Bowl Grade 1s, is the No. 3 seed. Raquel Pedraza and Jessica Ho are the other Americans in the main draw, along with qualifier Maria Shishkina, who is now playing under the US flag.

An update of the Pro Circuit results from last week is coming Monday.


My Dubs Partner Does not Poach said...

Anyone give Columbia a chance to win (any matches) against USC? Their one dubs did win National Indoors.

GoLions said...

If Columbia can get the doubles point, Lin can beat anyone on his day and the Columbia #6 Vermeer is 18-0 on the year - Farren got blown off the court on Sunday by the OSA #7. It's a long shot but that's why they play it...I think it will be a match!

Montana said...

I feel bad for the schools which had to play the top ranked women's teams in the first round. Not sure how exciting it is for both schools to have to complete in a lop sided match. There were instances where the school won only 5 combined games over the entire match. There were so many 6-0, 6-0 matches in singles and 8-0 in doubles. While I agree being in the NCAA tournament is an honor but not winning a game on almost every court. It's embarrassing and a waste of time.

Jakey Liein said...

Hopefully Ivy League tennis will start getting the respect it deserves. In addition to Columbia (nice calls by the roundtable "experts" on Vandy advancing to the Sweet 16; it was almost like they thought the match shouldn't have even been played), Harvard is very solid. If not for Harvard's tough draw (Oklahoma in second round), they could have also made some noise in the second round. (I've seen both teams play and I'd say Harvard is 50-50 with Vandy.) And next season, there will be three Ivies (add Dartmouth, which just missed out this year) to the NCAA field.

USC, unlike the experts and maybe Vandy, will not be taking Columbia lightly on Friday. Lions playing with house money AND not scared of anyone.

Joe said...

Texas A&M really needs to look at their strength and conditioning program. It's nothing more embarrassing than losing a close match on your home courts against a team not accustomed to Texas heat and humidity because your player can't keep from cramping.

Litman said...

USC Coach Smith can probably start himself in singles and doubles for them right now and they will not miss a step and he is too smart and obviously way too successful to take any team lightly no matter the mismatch so Jakey I agree with your comment at the end of your post.

get real said...


Not sure what your point is- for the first rd have all easy teams play easy teams and hard teams play hard teams? Or perhaps limit the draw to the top 48 teams so the rest wont be embarrassed? The later makes sense to me because its a waste of time for everyone.

Bermuda :) said...

congrats to UCSB Player,( not Wake Forest), Morgan Mays, for Qualifying for the Tampa Futures…Good Luck To Morgan…in this Future and at UCSB!!

love-tennis said...

I respectfully disagree that it is a waste of time for a top team to play a lesser team first round at NCAA's.

First, the top teams haven't played a match in a few weeks. They have practiced and practiced against each other. Nerves are the name of the game. By playing a solid, but easier opponent, they get through those nerves, but still win.

Second, it's an honor for the lesser programs to come to the bigger venue and see what that's like. It's like getting to play a round at the US Open for a college player. I don't mean that patronizingly at all. It's just a bigger match.

Third, it really is a win win situation. Because there is a skill level difference, it's a much friendlier, more hospitable match all the way around.

To summarize, the strong teams need a confidence booster, and the lesser teams need the experience.

Colette Lewis said...

Thanks for the update on Morgan Mays. I couldn't get to the Wake Forest site last night, so I wasn't sure if Mays was still there or not.

Austin said...

Columbia's resolve really impressed me after dropping doubles against Vandy. Here is how I look at next round:

Will cruise: USC, Virginia, Oklahoma

May have a little fight: Ohio State, UCLA

Dogfights: Texas-Cal, Baylor-Ill, UNC-UGA