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Saturday, February 17, 2024

No Doubles Point, No Problem as Top Seeds Ohio State and TCU Advance to Men's Team Indoor Semifinals Against Virginia and Wake Forest; Fritz and Paul Meet for ATP Delray Beach Title

After twelve matches at the ITA Division I Men's Team Indoor Championships, we still have yet to get a 4-3, last-match-on nail-biter, but three of the top four seeds will play in the semifinals tomorrow, and there is no questioning their credentials. 

Top seed Ohio State will play No. 4 Virginia in a rematch of last year's NCAA team final, although the Buckeyes have already avenged that loss with a 7-0 victory earlier this month in Columbus. No. 2 seeds and two-time defending champions TCU face No. 6 seed Wake Forest in the nightcap after both picked up 4-2 victories today.

Virginia started the day with a 5-1 win over No. 5 seed Tennessee, introducing the day's theme of advancing despite loss of the doubles point. Tennessee won a tiebreaker at line 1 to get the doubles point after the sets at lines 2 and 3 were split, and had a path to a victory with three first sets in singles. But the Volunteers were unable to put up that second point, while Virginia quickly took two of the singles matches to take the lead, with freshman Dylan Dietrich taking line 2 over Shunsuke Mitsui and Inaki Montes beating Filip Pieczonka at line 3. Montes, who has been out with a shoulder injury most of the year, is back in the lineup, but he is unable to hit a normal serve. He is starting points with a what looks like a practice starter forehand, yet neither of his opponents the past two days has been able to take advantage of that and he is now 2-0.

Those were the only two matches that finished in straight sets, with the other four splitting, and Virginia got a victory from Alex Kiefer at line 6 to go up 3-1. Chris Rodesch won over Johannus Monday at line 1 to clinch it; At line 4, Jeffrey von der Schulenburg was playing a match point against Filip Apltauer at when Rodesch clinched, and he won it, making the final score 5-1.

TCU and No. 10 seed Texas A&M were next up, and the Horned Frogs were soundly beaten by the Aggies in doubles, winning at 2 and 3 in half an hour. But TCU won five of six first sets in singles, and didn't let Texas A&M back into four of those matches, taking lines 1, 2, 4 and 6 in straight sets for a 4-2 victory.

For the third match in a row, Ohio State dropped the doubles point, this time to No. 9 Harvard, with the Buckeyes trying yet another combination and still unable to find a way to take more than one doubles set. Harvard drew a big crowd to the Milstein Family Tennis Center at Columbia, and they enjoyed the Crimson's lead, but the Buckeyes quickly silenced them, taking all six first sets in singles and rolling to 4-1 victory in less than two hours. Cannon Kingsley at 1, JJ Tracy at 3, Robert Cash at 5 and Alex Bernard at 6 delivered the points for Ohio State, who lost in the quarterfinals as the No. 1 seed last year.

The doubles point in Wake Forest's 4-2 win over No. 14 seed Arizona took as long as most of the Ohio State singles matches, with both Arizona and Wake Forest having match points in the tiebreaker at No. 1 doubles. But it was Wake who took that tiebreaker, and a second tiebreaker at line 2 for the point, and Arizona was not able to overcome that deficit, as Virginia, TCU and Ohio State had done.

Wake took four first sets in singles, and although Arizona tied the match with Herman Hoeyeraal, the hero of the Wildcats' win over No. 3 Texas Friday, getting a win at line 4. Nick Lagaev, who played at line 4 Friday, was out of the lineup tonight, and Hoeyeraal's replacement at line 5, Inaki Cabrera-Bello lost to Holden Koons 6-2, 6-2 to put Wake Forest back in front. Matthew Thomson made it 3-1 with a routine win over Gustaf Strom at line 3, but Arizona stayed alive when DK Suresh was unable to convert his two match points in the second set tiebreaker in his match with Jay Friend at line 2, and Arizona's Colton Smith closed out Filippo Moroni at line 1 to make it 3-2.

That was as close as Arizona would get, with Wake freshman Luca Pow holding a 3-1 lead in the second set against Casper Christensen as Suresh and Friend entered a third set. Pow went up 4-1, two breaks, so the suspense was muted, but he was unable to serve it out on his first attempt at 5-2. He recovered to break Christensen in the next game however to put Wake Forest, who went 0-3 last year at the Team Indoor Championships, into the semifinals.

The Ohio State - Virginia semifinal is scheduled at noon, with the TCU - Wake Forest semifinal set to start at 3:30 p.m. Both matches will be at Columbia Sunday, with Cracked Racquets providing coverage at their YouTube Channel.

Men's D-I Team Indoor quarterfinals
February 17, 2024
New York, NY

1. Angel Diaz and Johannus Monday(TENN) d. Chris Rodesch and Jeffrey von der Schulenburg(UVA) 7-6(5)
2. Shunsuke Mitsui and Filip Pieczonka(TENN) d. Edoardo Graziani and James Hopper(UVA) 6-1
3. Alexander Kiefer and Dylan Dietrich(UVA) d. Filip Apltauer and Younes Lalami(TENN) 6-1

Order of finish: 2, 3, 1

1. Chris Rodesch(UVA) d. Johannus Monday(TENN) 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4
2. Dylan Dietrich(UVA) d. Shunsuke Mitsui(TENN) 6-3, 6-2
3. Inaki Montes(UVA) d. Filip Pieczonka(TENN) 6-3, 6-3
4. Jeffrey von der Schulenburg(UVA) d. Filip Apltauer(TENN) 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-5
5. Christopher Li(TENN) v Edoardo Graziani(UVA) 6-7(4) 6-0, 5-5, unfinished
6. Alexander Kiefer(UVA) d. Angel Diaz(TENN) 4-6, 7-5, 6-2

Order of finish: 2, 3, 6, 1, 4

1. Giulio Perego and Togan Tokac(TAMU) v Sebastian Gorzny and Pedro Vives(TCU) 4-3, unfinished
2. Luke Casper and JC Roddick(TAMU) d. Jake Fearnley and Jack Pinnington Jones(TCU) 6-1
3. Raphael Perot and Tiago Pires(TAMU) d. Duncan Chan and Lui Maxted(TCU) 6-4

Order of finish: 3, 2

1. Jake Fearnley(TCU) d. Raphael Perot(TAMU) 6-3, 6-2
2. Jack Pinnington Jones(TCU) d. JC Roddick(TAMU) 6-2, 6-4
3. Togan Tokac(TAMU) d. Pedro Vives(TCU) 6-3, 7-6(2)
4. Sebastian Gorzny(TCU) d. Giulio Perego(TAMU) 6-4, 7-6(6)
5. Lui Maxted(TCU) v Tiago Pires(TAMU) 6-1, 2-6, 4-4, unfinished
6. Tomas Jirousek(TCU) d. Luke Casper(TAMU) 6-4, 6-4

Order of finish: 1, 2, 4, 3, 6

1. Cooper Williams and Daniel Milavsky(HAR) d. Andrew Lutschaunig and Justin Boulais(OSU) 6-3 
2. Cannon Kingsley and JJ Tracy(OSU) d. Ronan Jachuck and Masato Peerera(HAR) 6-1
3. Henry von der Schulenburg and David Lins(HAR) d. Robert Cash and Alexander Bernard(OSU) 6-4

Order of finish: 2, 1, 3

1. Cannon Kingsley(OSU) d. Cooper Williams(HAR) 6-1, 6-2 
2. Justin Boulais(OSU) v Henry von der Schulenburg(HAR) 7-6(4), 2-1, unfinished
3. JJ Tracy(OSU) d. Daniel Milavsky(HAR) 6-1, 6-1 
4. Jack Anthrop(OSU) v. Ronan Jachuck(HAR) 6-4, 3-2, unfinished
5. Robert Cash(OSU) d. Melchior Delloye(HAR) 6-3, 6-1 
6. Alexander Bernard(OSU) d. Valdemar Pape(HAR) 6-2, 6-0 

Order of finish: 1, 6, 3, 5

1.  Holden Koons and DK Suresh(WAKE) d. Colton Smith and Jay Friend(AZ) 7-6(9)
2. Filippo Moroni and Matthew Thomson(WAKE) d. Herman Hoeyeraal and Eric Padgham(AZ) 7-6(5) 
3. Alexander Rozin and Gustaf Strom(AZ) d. Luca Pow and Luciano Tacchi(WAKE) 6-1

Order of finish: 3, 2, 1

1. Colton Smith(AZ) d. Filippo Moroni(WAKE) 6-1, 7-6(5)
2. DK Suresh(WAKE) v Jay Friend(AZ) 6-3, 6-7(6), 3-2, unfinished 
3. Matthew Thomson(WAKE) d. Gustaf Strom(AZ) 6-3, 6-1
4. Herman Hoeyeraal(AZ) d. Luciano Tacchi(WAKE) 6-3, 6-2
5. Holden Koons(WAKE) d. Inaki Cabrera-Bello(AZ) 6-2, 6-2 
6. Luca Pow(WAKE) d. Casper Christensen(AZ) 7-6(4), 6-3

Order of finish: 4, 5, 3, 1, 6

Consolation matches:

South Carolina[7] 4, Arizona State[15] 2
Duke[13] 4, USC[[12] 1
Texas[3] 4, Michigan[11] 0
Columbia[8] 4, Alabama[16] 0


Sunday's final at the ATP 250 in Delray Beach is set for Sunday, with No. 1 seed Taylor Fritz, the defending champion, facing No. 3 seed Tommy Paul, who won the title last week at the ATP 250 in Dallas.  Paul rolled past No. 2 seed Frances Tiafoe 6-2, 6-2 in this afternoon's semifinal; Fritz defeated unseeded Marcos Giron(UCLA), 7-6(8), 6-2 in tonight's semifinal. Fritz and Paul split their two meetings on the ITF Junior Circuit back in 2015, with Paul winning the Roland Garros final over Fritz and Fritz winning the US Open final over Paul. 

In professional play, Paul owns a 4-3 edge in matches that date back to a Futures in 2015; Paul won their only meeting last year, in the semifinals of ATP 500 in Acapulco. The final in Delray Beach is scheduled not before 3 p.m. Sunday, after the doubles final between top seeds Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Neal Skupski(LSU) of Great Britain and No. 3 seeds Julian Cash(Mississippi State/Oklahoma State) of Great Britain and Robert Galloway(Wofford).