The second day of the 2017 Men's ITA National Team Indoor Championships brought us two thrilling main draw matches and two that were over shortly after they started. All four semifinalists were top five seeds with three hailing from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the fourth comes from the Big Ten.

We'll start off with one of the two thrillers as the No. 4 seed California took on the No. 5 seed North Carolina. At last year's NTIs, North Carolina made a habit of winning matches after dropping the doubles point and it seems like that tradition has continued this year. Cal jumped out to early break leads on all three courts with Andre Goransson and Billy Griffith breaking on the no-ad point to go up 3-1 at No. 2, Bjorn Hoffmann and JT Nishimura breaking at love to go up 3-2 at No. 3, and Filip Bergevi and Florian Lakat breaking to go up 4-2 at No. 1.

Bergevi and Lakat would finish first at No. 1 with Lakat hitting an ace down the T on the 40/30 point to win it 6-4. North Carolina actually called the serve out but when Cal appealed the call the chair overturned it to make the result official. North Carolina's Blaine Boyden and Simon Soendergaard got their match at No. 3 back on serve at 4-4 however Cal would break back to go up 5-4. Cal's Goransson and Griffith would maintain their early break lead at No. 2 and Griffith would serve it out from 40/30 with a service winner to give Cal the doubles point with a 6-3 win.

The match at No. 3 went unfinished with Cal's Bjorn Hoffmann serving 5-4 (40/40) - Hoffmann and Nishimura thought they won it on the 40/30 point but their out call on a shot on the baseline was overruled by the chair. Hoffmann missed his first serve on the 40/40 point and before he could serve up his second serve Cal clinched. 

The opening day of the 2017 Men's National Team Indoor Championships is in the books and it was an action packed day that saw one exciting dual-match after another. Each of the four time slots had at least one close match and the 3:30 time slot had two close ones. The top two seeds, Virginia and Wake Forest, faced the least resistance while the No. 3 seed Ohio State faced some resistance but managed to close out enough courts before Oklahoma could get on the board. The UCLA/USC match was the only one to finish with a 4-3 score while four matches finished 4-2.

Tulane went 12 years without beating LSU but now the Green Wave have done it two years in a row after they defeated LSU on Thursday night by a 4-2 score. LSU took the doubles point with quick wins at No. 1 and No. 2 but Tulane rebounded in singles by taking four opening sets. Constantin Schmitz, Ewan Moore, and Tim Ruetzel won in straight sets for Tulane while Gabor Csonka won in straight sets for LSU. Tulane sophomore Tyler Schick clinched the victory with a come from behind 1-6, 7-5, 6-0 win at No. 4 while the match at No. 2 was abandoned with Sebastian Rey up a set.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 23:20

Men's National Team Indoor Round of 16 Preview

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It's preview time!! The 2017 Men's National Team Indoor Championships get underway on Friday morning at 9 a.m. ET at the Boar's Head Sport Club in Charlottesville, Virginia. The top seeded Virginia Cavaliers were the only team that didn't have to qualify since they got an automatic berth as the host while each of the other 15 participants had to win a Kick-Off Weekend regional three weeks ago. Each team is guaranteed three matches with consolation matches played on Saturday and Sunday for teams that lost on Friday and Saturday. Nine schools in the draw have won an NTI Championship and five of them have won more than one. UCLA leads the way with seven titles (2001), Virginia has five (2013), USC has three (2012), and Georgia (2007) and Cal (1989) have two - number in parenthesis is the year each school last won one. There has been a different winner in each of the last five years with Virginia winning in 2013, Ohio State in 2014, Oklahoma in 2015, and North Carolina in 2016.

I have previews of each round of 16 match with the following information listed: approved master lineups, each player's current Universal Tennis Rating as of 2/16, team doubles records, notable wins/losses, interesting facts/tidbits, and lastly my predictions. 

Wednesday was ranking release day with the USTA releasing its second top 25 while the ITA released just the women's team rankings (no men's team rankings this week due to the NTIs). I'll start with the ITA rankings which kept Florida at No. 1 after the Gators won their first National Team Indoor Championship since 1999. North Carolina stayed at No. 2 after a runner-up finish at the NTIs while the two semifinalists, Georgia and Ohio State, each moved up three spots to No. 3 and No. 4 respectively. Texas Tech made the biggest jump going from No. 12 to No. 7 after the Red Raiders defeated Vanderbilt and Pepperdine. Michigan and Auburn each moved up three spots to No. 10 and No. 11 after the Wolverines defeated Vanderbilt and Texas A&M while the Tigers defeated Georgia Tech and Yale.

Pepperdine and Duke each fell five spots with the Waves falling to No. 8 after dropping matches to Georgia and Texas Tech while the Blue Devils fell to No. 15 after losing to Georgia, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt. Miami, which didn't participate in the NTIs after losing to Texas A&M in its KOW regional final, dropped four spots to No. 21 after losing at Texas. Vanderbilt dropped three spots to No. 12 after losing to Texas Tech and Michigan. No teams dropped out of this week's rankings.  

Virginia got a last minute warmup for the National Team Indoors by welcoming in No. 17 Illinois for a somewhat rare mid-week match in Charlottesville. Virginia claimed a quick 6-2 win from Luca Corinteli and Carl Soderlund at No. 1 doubles and it looked like Illinois would get a quick win at No. 3 when Zeke Clark and Gui Gomes led 5-2* but Virginia's Collin Altamirano and JC Aragone came roaring back to win 7-6(4). The match at No. 2 doubles was halted just as the tiebreak was ready to get started. 

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