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Sunday, May 21, 2023

Virginia Men Win Back-to-Back Titles with Shutout of Ohio State; Sharda Claims D-III Singles Title; NCAA Singles Championships Begin Monday; Junior Slam Champions Hovde, Montgomery Capture Pro Titles

The narrative that enveloped the North Carolina women in the past few years has also surrounded the Ohio State men, as both programs, among the nation's most consistently successful over the past 15 years, still without an NCAA team title. That frustration ended for the Tar Heels last night, with their 4-1 win over NC State, but the quest for the elusive NCAA title will continue for Ohio State, after the Buckeyes fell to defending champion Virginia 4-0 this afternoon in Lake Nona Florida.

Ohio State had won their previous two meetings with the Cavaliers this season, both indoors, but, Virginia, as they had done last year, hit their stride after the ITA Team Indoor Championships in Februrary and finished the season on 22 match winning streak.

After an extremely complicated 4-2 quarterfinal win over No. 4 Kentucky, Virginia defeated No. 1 Texas 4-1 in the semifinals Saturday and No. 3 Ohio State today, an impressive progression of better performances as the stakes got higher.

Virginia won the doubles point today against Ohio State, with Chris Rodesch and Jeffrey von der Schulenberg taking No. 2 doubles over Andrew Lutschaunig and James Trotter 6-2 and taking a 5-2 lead at No. 1 doubles, where Inaki Montes and William Woodall were facing Ohio State's Robert Cash and Justin Boulais. While Ohio State's JJ Tracy and Cannon Kingsley closed out line 3 doubles 6-3 over Ryan Goetz and Alexander Kiefer, Montes and Woodall were serving for the match at 5-3 on 1. Woodall double faulted to make it 30-all, and the Buckeye fans began to sense they might get back into the match and salvage the doubles point, but Woodall hit two excellent first serves and Virginia had the lead.

Ohio State needed to do what Texas did Saturday, which was come out strong in singles and a get a quick point on the board, but it was Virginia who established themselves early and the Cavaliers went on to take four first sets, to Ohio State's two. Virginia didn't let up, getting early breaks at lines 3 and 1, and  Rodesch and von der Schulenburg were racing to see who could get the second point. Von der Schulenburg won, and the junior from Switzerland proved that his quick loss to Texas's Micah Braswell in the semifinals was a fluke, beating Tracy 6-2, 6-1 at line 3 to make it 2-0 Virginia.

Rodesch, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, closed out Boulais at line 1 6-4, 6-2 to make it 3-0 and now just needed one more. 

Although Ohio State's Jack Anthrop had taken a grueling first set tiebreaker from Mans Dahlberg at line 6, it was too late to have an impact, with Kiefer taking a second set from Ohio State's Alexander Bernard at line 5 in the only other match where Ohio State had earned a first set. 

Montes was up a break on Kingsley at line 2, and he refused to let it go, with the junior from Spain clinching the second straight title for Virginia.

The Cavaliers now have six NCAA titles, all since 2013, winning each time they have appeared in a final since that first one. They are now tied with Georgia in number of team titles; Southern California, Stanford and UCLA all have many more, although their numbers include titles dating back to the 1950s, long before the current team format was established. See this article from Randy Walker's World Tennis Magazine for an up-to-date accounting of the number of titles since the method of determining the team champion was changed.

For more on the Virginia title, see this article from virginiasports.com.

Virginia[5] 4 Ohio State[3] 0

1. Inaki Montes/William Woodall(UVA) d. Robert Cash/Justin Boulais(OSU) 6-3
2. Chris Rodesch/Jeffrey von der Schulenburg(UVA) d. Andrew Lutschaunig/James Trotter(OSU) 6-2
3. Cannon Kingsley/JJ Tracy(OSU) d. Ryan Goetz/Alexander Kiefer(UVA) 6-3 

Order of finish: 3,2,1

1. Chris Rodesch(UVA) d. Justin Boulais(OSU) 6-4, 6-2
2. Inaki Montes(UVA) d. Cannon Kingsley(OSU) 6-4, 6-2
3. Jeffrey von der Schulenburg(UVA) d. JJ Tracy(OSU) 6-2, 6-1
4. Ryan Goetz(UVA) v James Trotter(OSU) 6-4, 3-6 unf.
5. Alexander Kiefer(UVA) v Alexander Bernard(OSU) 2-6, 6-3, 2-0 unf.
6. Jack Anthrop(OSU) v Mans Dahlberg(UVA) 7-6(4), 1-0 unf.

Order of finish: 3,1,2


The Division III men's singles and doubles champions were decided today, with Rishabh Sharda of Tufts and James Hopper and Vishwa Aduru of Case Western taking the titles.

Sharda, the No. 6 seed, defeated unseeded Matthew Kandel of Williams 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 to become the first player from Tufts to claim the men's singles title. For more on his championship, see this article from the Tufts website.

Top seeds Hopper and Aduru defeated unseeded Michael Melnikov and Utham Kordui Swarthmore 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(5) in the doubles final, with Hopper defending his 2022 title, won with Jonathan Powell. For more on their championship, see this article from the Case Western website.

The women's D-III finals are Monday, with Olivia Soffer of Babson going for the sweep. Top seed Soffer defeated No. 4 seed Eleni Lazaridou of Kenyon 6-2, 6-1 and will play No. 2 seed Angie Zhou of Pomona-Pitzer. Zhou outlasted No. 3 seed Nika Vesely of Wesleyan 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in the semifinals.

Soffer and partner Matia Cristiani, who are unseeded, face Katherine Petty and Brooke Despriet of Suwanee, also unseeded, in the doubles final. 

Coverage is available at ncaa.com beginning with the singles final at 10 a.m.

The NCAA singles championships begin Monday at 9 a.m., with the draws revealed today. 

As of the draw publication, none of the seeds, which were determined early this month, had withdrawn. Top seed Eliot Spizzirri of Texas plays Tyler Stice of Auburn at 4:30 p.m., while No. 2 seed Ethan Quinn of Georgia kicks off the tournament with a match against TCU's Luc Fomba at 9 a.m. 

Two alternates did get in, with Joshua Lapadat of Kentucky and Micah Braswell of Texas receiving entry from the alternate list, after Max Basing of Stanford and Stijn Slump of Middle Tennessee withdrew.

In the women's singles draw, top seed Fiona Crawley of North Carolina plays Sara Dahlstrom of Florida at 11 a.m. and Mary Stoiana of Texas A&M takes on Georgia Drummy of Duke at 3:30 p.m.

Diana Schnaider of NC State, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, is in the draw, even though she has direct entry into Roland Garros, which begins a week from today in Paris. The No. 7 seed faces 2022 singles finalist Connie Ma of Stanford in the first round at 9 a.m.

Coverage of the individual tournament will be available at the Cracked Racquets YouTube channel.

Reigning Wimbledon girls champion Liv Hovde won her third USTA Pro Circuit title today at the $25,000 tournament in Bethany Beach Delaware. The 17-year-old from Texas, seeded No. 2, defeated No. 5 seed Ravenna Kingsley 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2 for her second $25K title, with the first coming last October. 

In the doubles final, Alexa Glatch and Ganna Poznikhirenko of Ukraine defeated teens Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa and Victoria Osuigwe 7-5, 7-5. Both teams were unseeded. Broadfoot is joining the NC State Wolfpack this fall.

Aidan Kim's pursuit of a first USTA Pro Circuit title will continue, after he fell in the singles final of the $25,000 tournament in Pensacola today. The 18-year-old University of Florida recruit lost to No. 4 seed Dmitry Popko of Kazakhstan 6-1, 6-4. No. 3 seeds Vasil Kirkov and Canada's Benjamin Sigouin(UNC) took the doubles title, beating No. 4 seeds Sekou Bangoura(Florida) and Roy Stepanov(Southeastern) 6-4, 4-6, 10-8 in the final. 

Veronika Miroshnichenko(Loyola Marymount) won by far the biggest title of her career today at the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Pelham Alabama. The unseeded 25-year-old Russian took out top seed Renata Zarazua of Mexico 7-6(5), 6-2 to win her first title since she claimed two $10Ks in 2016. 

Top seeds Jamie Loeb and Makenna Jones(both UNC) won the doubles title in Pelham, beating unseeded Robin Anderson and Australia's Elysia Bolton(both UCLA) 6-4, 7-5 in the final. 

2021 US Open girls champion Robin Montgomery earned her second $60,000 ITF World Tennis Tour title today in France. The 18-year-old left-hander, who was seeded No. 9 after a late withdrawal, defeated unseeded Alice Robbe of France 7-5, 6-4 in the final. Montgomery now travels to Paris as one of ten US women in the Roland Garros qualifying draw. 

The others are Taylor Townsend, Caroline Dolehide[5], Ashlyn Krueger, Elli Mandlik[10], Coco Vandeweghe, Sofia Kenin[23], Katrina Scott, Kayla Day and Sachia Vickery. The women's qualifying draw is here.

The US men in qualifying are Nicolas Moreno de Alboran(UC-Santa Barbara), Zachary Svajda, Emilio Nava, Denis Kudla, Steve Johnson(USC) and Brandon Holt(USC). The men's qualifying draw is here

The schedule of play for Monday is here.