Saturday, May 8, 2021

D-I Women's Round of 16 Will Not Include Defending Champion; Unseeded Arizona, Ohio State Men Advance to Lake Nona; Liu and Brengle Meet Sunday for $100K Title in Charleston

The women's Sweet Sixteen in Lake Nona is set, with three unseeded teams advancing, and the shutouts that were the norm in the first round much less frequent in today's competition, with only three of the 16 matches decided by a 4-0 score.

Michigan defeated No. 12 seed LSU 4-3 in Baton Rouge, with the match decided in the third set at line 6. Bella Lorenzini defeated LSU's Nina Geissler who served for the match at 5-4 and was up 30-0, but Lorenzini broke, held and broke for a 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 win. Michigan lost the doubles point, but got a three-set win from freshman Kari Miller at line 1, as well as victories from seniors Chiara Lommer at line 2 and Alyvia Jones at line 5.

Southern California, ranked No. 35 and the third seed in the region, defeated No. 11 seed Florida 4-1 in Gainesville, getting wins from Clare McKee at line 6, Eryn Cayetano at line 2 and Summer Dvorak at line 4.

In the day's final match, Duke defeated No. 8 seed Baylor in Waco 4-3, with Kelly Chen putting the Blue Devils in the final 16 with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Mel Krywoj. After dropping the doubles point in a tiebreaker at 3, Duke got straight-sets wins from Georgia Drummy at line 2, Chloe Beck at line 3 and Meible Chi at line 4 to get to three points, but they needed to turn around one of the remaining three matches to stay alive, and it was Chen who accomplished that, winning the only three-set match of the evening, while all eyes were on her.

The fifth-seeded Waves eliminated unseeded Stanford, the defending champions, 4-2. After winning the doubles point, Stanford took three first sets in singles, with veterans Michaela Gordon at 1 and Emma Higuchi at 6, as well as Sara Choy at 5, giving the Cardinal a path to victory. But only Higuchi could close out her match, and Pepperdine's Ashley Lahey ended up clinching the victory, with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Gordon at line 1. According to @jwilsontennis, this is the first time since 1985 that the Stanford women have not won two rounds in the NCAA tournament.

The ACC has been viewed as the top women's conference in the country for some time now, and nothing that happened today casts any doubt on that, with six teams: North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia, NC State, Florida State and Duke advancing to the final 16. The Pac-12 has three teams: Cal, UCLA and USC; the Big Ten with two: Michigan and Ohio State,  the SEC with two: Georgia and Texas A&M and one each from the Big 12 (Texas), the AAC (UCF) and the West Coast (Pepperdine).

The women's round of 16 matchups:
North Carolina[1] v Cal[16]
Central Florida[9] v Duke
Pepperdine[5] v Michigan
Georgia Tech[13] v UCLA[4]

Georgia[3] v Virginia[14]
Southern California v NC State[6]
Florida State[7] v Texas A&M[10]
Ohio State[15] v Texas[2]

Only six of the men's 16 regionals were decided today, but two unseeded teams have already advanced, although both Ohio State and Arizona were popular picks to take out their seeded hosts.

Arizona had defeated Michigan 4-3 Friday in the toughest regional in either the men's and women's competition, and today they validated that win with a 4-2 victory over No. 14 seed Kentucky in Lexington. Arizona won the doubles point and posted victories by Carlos Hassey at line 6 and  Herman Hoeyeraal at line 4 before Jonas Ziverts completed his comeback at line 2, beating Gabriel Diallo 6-7(8), 6-1, 6-4 to put the Pac-12 Wildcats in the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.

Ohio State, who should have been one of the Top 16 seeds, but was not given that status by the NCAA committee, went to Winston-Salem with a chip on its shoulder and came out with a 4-1 win over No. 10 seed Wake Forest. The Buckeyes took the doubles point and got wins from JJ Tracy at line 6, James Trotter at line 3, and Kyle Seelig at line 5. Seelig, if you recall, was on the wrong end of the final match on last Sunday in the Big Ten conference tournament against Zeke Clark of Illinois, so his 7-5, 7-5 victory over Melios Efstathiou had to be particularly satisfying for the sixth-year senior. From the Ohio State website's coverage:

"For me, I was glad I could finish my match and help the team advance,” [Seelig] continued. “I was the last match on in the Big Ten finals and I didn’t get it done. I let the guys down and I didn’t want to do that again. I had a couple of chances with deuce points in the second set and I didn’t play the first one well. But I attacked a little more on the second one and that was the winning point.”

The seeded men's teams advancing to the round of 16 with wins today are No. 16 Illinois, who beat Notre Dame 4-0, No. 8 Texas A&M, who beat Oklahoma 4-1, No. 12 Southern California, a 4-2 winner over Pepperdine and No. 13 seed South Carolina, who defeated North Carolina State 4-0. 

In men's first round action, three No. 3 regional seeds defeated No. 2 seeds, with unranked Northwestern defeating No. 23 UCLA 4-1, No. 37 Oregon beating No. 26 Alabama 4-3 and No. 38 Memphis defeating No. 30 Georgia Tech 4-2. 

See College Tennis Today for the links to the live scoring and live streaming for the ten men's matches on the schedule for Sunday.

Claire Liu will play for her second consecutive title on Sunday at the $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Charleston South Carolina with top seed Madison Brengle her opponent. The unseeded Liu, who turns 21 later this month, defeated unseeded Harriet Dart of Great Britain 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in today's semifinal for her ninth straight win. Brengle, who defeated unseeded Magdalena Frech of Poland 7-6(6), 6-3, beat Liu the only other time they played, but that was back in 2017. 

Caty McNally and her partner Storm Sanders of Australia, the top seeds, won the doubles title, beating the fourth-seeded Japanese team of Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato 7-5, 4-6, 10-6. 

The run of former Vanderbilt star Fernanda Contreras came to an end today at the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Naples Florida, with the qualifier losing to unseeded Panna Udvardy of Hungary 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Udvardy will face unseeded Irina Fetecau of Romania for the title Sunday.  Catherine Harrison(UCLA) and her partner Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway won the doubles title, with the top seeds defeating the third-seeded Japanese team of Erina Hayashi and Kanako Morisaki 6-2, 3-6, 10-2 in the final.


Cardinal Question said...

@jwilsontennis - great stat re: this is the first time since 1985 that the Stanford women have not won two rounds in the NCAA tournament. Remarkable history. Is there more info on this. Making this more amazing is the tournament was 16 teams up until around 1999, which means they made at least the semis every year between 1986 and around 99. I'd be curious how many times they've not reached at least the quarterfinals since 85???

Go Bucks said...

The USTA poll ranked OSU above Wake. How ridiculous does the NCAA committee look for seeding Ohio St. in the twenties. This is a solid Tucker team who has a chance against anyone. Even the coaches poll recognized that fact. Too bad Wake Forest received the rough side of the computer’s projections.