In the first semifinal of the day North Carolina advanced to its first-ever final at the National Team Indoors after coming from behind to beat UCLA 4-2.
North Carolina didn’t take the easy way though after dropping the doubles point for the second time in three matches this weekend. UCLA’s new #3 team of Maxime Cressy and Karue Sell knocked off Blaine Boyden and Ronnie Schneider 6-3. Cressy/Sell broke UNC on the deciding point to go up 3-1 then held for 4-1. The teams exchanged holds until UCLA held from 40-15 to win 6-3.
North Carolina answered by winning at #2 doubles as Jack Murray and Brayden Schnur defeated Gage Brymer and Austin Rapp 6-4. Murray/Schnur broke UCLA to go up 2-1 and later on Schnur hit a clutch ace on the deciding point to extend the lead to 4-2. Each team held the rest of the way with Schnur serving it out to win 6-4.
UCLA would take the doubles point when Mackenzie McDonald and Martin Redlicki knocked off Brett Clark and Robert Kelly 6-3 at #1. McDonald and Redlicki, who would be my choice for the All-Tournament team at #1 doubles, went 3-0 on the week with wins over the ITA #3 and #13 teams. UCLA broke the Kelly serve to go up 4-2 but UNC broke McDonald to pull within 3-4. UCLA broke Clark on the deciding point to go up 5-3 then Redlicki served it out from 40-15 to win it 6-3. Here is match point courtesy of the ITA:
.@uclatennis takes the doubles point over @carolinatennis in their semifinal contest. #ITAIndoors pic.twitter.com/7aIp3FV4Zj
ITA Tennis (@ITATennis) February 14, 2016
North Carolina lost the doubles point to Texas Tech on Friday but turned it around in singles so they had to have some confidence that they could do it again today.
Each team would claim three opening sets with Mackenzie McDonald, Logan Staggs, and Austin Rapp getting them for UCLA at 1, 5, and 6 while Ronnie Schneider, Brett Clark, and Jack Murray would take sets at 3, 4, and 5 for North Carolina.
Ronnie Schneider would finish first at #2 singles when he rolled over Gage Brymer 6-0, 6-4 in exactly 60 minutes. Schneider broke Brymer three times in the opening set including from 15-40 to take the set in precisely 20 minutes. Schneider broke Brymer to go up 3-1 in the second but Brymer broke back to make it 3-2. Each player held serve the rest of the way until Schneider broke Brymer’s 4-5 service game on the deciding point to win it 6-0, 6-4.
Mackenzie McDonald made it 2-1 UCLA when he beat Brayden Schnur 6-3, 7-6(5) at #1 singles. McDonald won the first three games of the match, which included two breaks, before Schnur got on the board with a break to make it 1-3. Both guys held serve until McDonald broke Schnur from 30-40 to take the opening set 6-3. McDonald held and then broke to go up 2-0 in the second before Schnur broke back and held to make it 2-2. Schnur fought off a pair of break points to hold for 4-4 then they each held two more times to send it to a tiebreak. Schnur got the first mini-break when he went up 3-1* but Mackie took the next two points to even it at 3-3 at the changeover. Schnur dropped the 5-5 point on his serve and then Mackie closed it out on the next point to win it in one hour and twenty minutes.
Even though UCLA had taken the lead, North Carolina had a stranglehold on the other four courts with both Brett Clark and Anu Kodali nearing the finish line at #3 and #6.
Clark got off to a bit of slow start against Martin Redlicki by falling behind 2-0 but Clark broke back and then held on the deciding point to even it at 2-2. Each held serve three more times until Clark broke Redlicki on the deciding point to go up 6-5. Clark faced two break points when he went down 30-40 on his serve but he managed to get the hold to take the opening set 7-5. Clark broke Redlicki to start the second set and then came back from 15-40 down to hold for 2-0. After an exchange of holds, Clark would break again to go up 4-1 and would then hold for 5-1. Redlicki could have packed it in but he kept fighting and held for 2-5, broke on the deciding point to make it 3-5, and then held at love to make it 4-5*. Clark was serving for the match for a second time but he quickly found himself in a 0-30 hole. He got it back to 30-30 but Redlicki took the next point to go up 30-40. Clark managed to take the next two to wrap up the 7-5, 6-4 win in one hour and twenty-two minutes (2 minutes after McDonald’s finish) and North Carolina had now tied it at 2-2.
Over at #6, Anu Kodali was up 4-2 in the third against Austin Rapp and was receiving on the deciding point. Kodali would get the break to go up 5-2 but Rapp would break right back to make it 5-3. Rapp went up 40-30 on his next service game but Kodali took the next two points to clinch the 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win in one hour and thirty-one minutes. Kodali had dropped the opening set 6-4 but turned it around in the second set when he broke Rapp to go up 5-3 and then served it out at love to take the set 6-3. Kodali broke Rapp at love to go up 3-2 in the third and then held for 4-2 – you know the rest.
North Carolina now led 3-2 plus Robert Kelly was up 5-2 in the third at #5 while Jack Murray was serving up 7-6, 4-5 at #4.
UCLA’s Karue Sell would break Jack Murray’s serve from 30-40 to take the second set 6-4 plus Logan Staggs would hold from 2-5 to stay in his match with Robert Kelly at #5. The Bruins were holding on by a thread but Robert Kelly had the scissors and was attempting to cut the cord. Staggs would go up 15-40 on Kelly’s serve but Kelly fought off all three break points to get the hold and send North Carolina to it’s first-ever National Team Indoors final.
Match point is below courtesy of UNC and then there are a number of post-match interviews also courtesy of UNC:
Details not listed above:
UCLA’s Karue Sell served for the first set at #4 up 5-4 but got broke from 30-40 and then fell behind 4-0 in the first set tiebreak and dropped it 7-3.
Billy Martin talked about the match in further detail, “I thought it started out well in singles – we were up on 5 courts as far as break and leads – Martin went up an early break and Karue served for the set and then lost it in a tiebreak. Gage was the only one that didn’t really have a good day. We kind of went south in a couple of matches – Logan had a great first set but Kelly picked it up in the second set and it was somewhat close in the third. I thought Austin had a good chance to win at #6 so that was somewhat disappointing that he lost there.”
Post-Match Comments from UCLA’s recap:
During the 33 minute doubles point both #1 and #3 stayed on serve for several games while Virginia’s Mac Styslinger and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski went up an early break at #2. Virginia’s J.C. Aragone and Collin Altamirano would actually finish first at #3 after getting a late break to go up 5-3. Aragone would hold at love to give Virginia the 6-3 win. Roughly six minutes later Styslinger and Kwiatkowski would break from 30-40 to close out Hudson Blake and Reese Stalder 6-3. The match at #1 went unfinished with Virginia serving at 5-5 though Shane and Corinteli had a match point on Cameron Norrie’s 4-5 service game but couldn’t convert.
TCU needed to find a way to win four of six singles matches but it wasn’t going to be easy after falling behind early at #3 and #6.
|Henrik Wiersholm (Picture Courtesy of UVA)|
Virginia sophomore Henrik Wiersholm, who clinched the team’s quarterfinal win over Wake Forest, came out of the gates on fire and needed just 16 minutes to take a 6-0 first set over TCU’s Trevor Johnson at #6. Wiersholm broke Johnson from 15-40 to start the second set and then held and broke again to go 3-0. Johnson finally showed some life by breaking back and then holding from 40-15 to make it 3-2. Unfortunately for Johnson those two games were the last ones he’d win because Wiersholm took the next three to close it out 6-0, 6-2 in just 49 minutes.
Virginia sophomore Collin Altamirano, who had only dropped eight games in his previous two matches, needed just 23 minutes to take a 6-1 first set over TCU’s Guillermo Nunez at #3. Altamirano opened up the match with a pair of holds and a break before Nunez got on the board with a hold from 40-30 to make it 3-1. Altarmirano held, broke, and held again to close out the set. Nunez showed a little spark in the second set by holding on the deciding point to go up 1-0 and then breaking on the deciding point to go up 2-0. After a hold made it 3-0, Altamirano calmed himself down and proceeded to win the next five games to go up 5-3. Nunez held to stay in the match but Altamirano would hold from 40-30 to close it out 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and seventeen minutes.
So Virginia was now ahead 3-0 but TCU was clinging to life on the other courts. Jerry Lopez was in a first set tiebreak with J.C. Aragone at #5, Cameron Norrie was up a set on Ryan Shane at #1, Alex Rybakov was serving for the first set against Thai-Son Kwiatkowski at #2, while Eduardo Nava had just broken Mac Styslinger who was serving for the first set at #4. TCU had a lot of momentum in its favor but within a few minutes most of it would evaporate.
Virginia senior Mac Styslinger, who just got broke serving at 5-3, would break Eduardo Nava on the deciding point to take the first set 6-4. The deciding point was a short one with Nava sending a forehand long early in the rally.
TCU freshman Alex Rybakov was serving up 5-4 in the first against Thai-Son Kwiatkowski at #2 but would get broke from 30-40 when he put a forehand into the high side of the net. Kwiatkowski then held for 6-5 and broke to take the set 7-5.
TCU junior Jerry Lopez came back from 6-4 down in the first set tiebreak against J.C. Aragone at #5 to go up 7-6 and was serving for the set. Lopez would hit a big forehand but it caught the net cord and kicked wide by a few feet to make it 7-7. Lopez shrugged it off and hit a forehand crosscourt to win the next point to go up 8-7. Aragone’s serve won him the next two points as he hit a service winner and then an ace to make it 9-8. Lopez would then double fault on the next point and the set was Aragone’s 7-6(8).
Despite losing the momentum on 2, 4, and 5, TCU got a little boost when Cameron Norrie knocked off Ryan Shane 7-5, 7-5 at #1. The reigning NCAA singles champion struggled a bit with his serve and that gave Norrie the window he needed to pull it out. Shane went up an early break when he broke Norrie’s 2-2 service game on the deciding point but when Shane served for the set up 5-4 he fell behind 0-40. Shane hit a pair of forehand winners and then banged home an ace to get it to the deciding point but then he overcooked a forehand early in the point to get broke. Norrie quickly held for 6-5 then he’d break Shane again, this time from 15-40, to steal the opening set 7-5. Shane broke to start the second set and held for 2-0 but Norrie would get it back on serve when he broke Shane’s 4-3 service game to make it 4-4. Norrie went up 30-40 on Shane’s 5-6 service and when Shane hit a forehand wide the match was over and Norrie had a 7-5, 7-5 win.
|Mac Styslinger (Pictures Courtesy of UVA)|
TCU was on the board but the euphoria was short-lived because Mac Styslinger broke Eduardo Nava on the deciding point to go up 6-4, 5-3 at #4. Styslinger has had trouble in the past serving out matches and Nava was able to take advantage of that and broke from 15-40 after Styslinger pushed a backhand well wide. Styslinger may have been shaky on his serve but his return would win him the match as he broke from 30-40 when Nava put a backhand into the net.
Final score – Virginia 4, TCU 1
The other two matches were abandoned with both Alex Rybakov and Jerry Lopez serving for the second sets on their respective courts.
Here is a highlight clip courtesy of UVA and then a quick clip from David Roditi
.@RoditiTCUTennis gives his final thoughts on today’s match against Virginia. #TCUTennis #GoFrogshttps://t.co/QdbKF5xOAg
TCU Men’s Tennis (@TCUMensTennis) February 14, 2016
“It is disappointing to put yourself in a spot like this and not play up to your abilities. Some had to do with the way Virginia played and a lot had to do with ourselves. We can play better from top to bottom. Cameron (Norrie) had a huge weekend and a great win today. I am proud of our guys fighting back and we just couldn’t overcome that big of a hole. Our young guys learn every match and today was no different. We will get back to work and continue to get better. The local support from TCU alumni this weekend in Virginia was awesome and much appreciated.
There six consolation matches on the schedule but the highest profile matches were Wake Forest/USC and Ohio State/Texas A&M with each of those four losing close matches the previous day in the quarterfinals.
Wake Forest rebounded from its 4-3 loss to Virginia by shutting out USC 4-0. The Demon Deacons won the doubles point and then picked up singles wins from Skander Mansouri, Petros Chrysochos, and Romain Bogaerts at 1, 2, and 4.
Wake Forest head coach Tony Bresky commented about today’s match with USC and the tough loss to Virginia from the night before:
Match with USC:
“Very tough loss yesterday. We came in very prepared and competed hard. Put ourselves in a position to win but UVA out played us in the end so credit to them. Certainly tough way to finish with the net cord but I still think it’s a good rule, just a little unlucky in that moment. Great learning experience for us though, hopefully will help us improve as the season progresses.”
Oklahoma finished the weekend with a 2-1 record after holding off Illinois 4-2. Oklahoma won a tight doubles point by winning 7-6(1) at #2 and getting a late break to win 7-5 at #3.
OU would take four first sets but they really cleaned up early on at 4, 5, and 6 after taking the first sets by a combined score of 18-1. Illinois’s Julian Childers and Asher Hirsch fought back to take the second sets at 4 and 6 but OU’s Maxime Mora never let up and won 6-0, 6-3 at #5 over Brian Page.
Illinois’s Aleks Vukic actually finished first with a 6-3, 6-0 thrashing of OU’s Axel Alvarez at #1 plus the Hiltzik brothers were looking better but Illinois would need to turn one of the other matches to keep it going.
Julian Childers looked a lot better in the second set but Florin Bragusi was able to hold him off and get the 6-1, 7-6(3) win at #4. Oklahoma led 3-1 plus Andre Biro was closing in on a win at #6.
OU’s Andre Biro served for the match twice in the second set at #6 but Asher Hirsch broke him both times to force a tiebreak. Hirsch came from behind to win the breaker 7-5 to send it to a third set. Hirsch broke Biro to open the third set but Biro broke back and held for 2-1. Biro broke again to go up 3-1 but Hirsch broke back on the deciding point to put it back on serve at 3-2. Hirsch held on the deciding point to make it 3-3 and then Biro held quickly to go up 4-3. Hirsch went up 40-30 on his serve but Biro hit a backhand winner to bring up the deciding point. Hirsch missed his first serve and then he missed his second by a good five feet to double fault and give Biro the break for 5-3. With Biro serving 5-3 (deciding point) he’d come to the net but he didn’t put much on a volley and left it in the middle of the court but Hirsch’s attempt at a lob fell well short and Biro smashed it home at the net to clinch the OU win.
Jared Hiltzik won in two tiebreak sets over Spencer Papa at #2 and Aron Hiltzik was serving for the match at #3 at the time of the clinch.
Post-Match Quote from Illinois’s recap:
“Tonight was frustrating. We played hard in doubles and were maybe a bit unfortunate in spots there,” head coach Brad Dancer said. “Our guys that were down early in singles did a great job of fighting back into their matches to put themselves back into contention.”
While USD’s Filip Vittek would finish out Justin Roberts in straight sets at #3, South Florida would turn both #1 and #2 around and in the end Roberto Cid would end up clinching the win with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Uros Petronijevic at #1.
Texas Tech’s Jolan Cailleau and Alex Sendegeya picked up routine wins at #3 and #4 while Georgia’s Austin Smith won comfortably at #2. The match was tied at 2-2 but Texas Tech was up on each of the remaining courts with Felipe Soares leading Wayne Montgomery 7-6, 5-3 at #1. Montgomery would hold for 4-5 and then break Soares at love to tie it at 5-5. Montgomery would eventually take the second set in a tiebreak to give Georgia a little boost.
Texas Tech’s Bjorn Thomson would put Tech ahead 3-2 when he finished off Nick Wood at #6. Thomson won the first set in a tiebreak and the second set swung back and forth with Thomson going up 3-1 only to see Wood win the next four to go up 5-3. Wood had at least three set points, and it might have been four, but he wasn’t able to serve it out as Thomson broke twice and then held to win it 7-6(7), 7-5.
Texas Tech sophomore Connor Curry would provide the clincher with a win over Emil Reinberg at #5. Curry took the first set in a tiebreak and went up an early break in the second but Reinberg broke back. Reinberg had a set point on Curry’s 4-5 service game but Curry held for 5-5 then broke for 6-5. Curry fell behind 30-40 on his service game but took the next two points to close it out 7-6(6), 7-5.
Post-Match Quotes from Texas Tech’s recap
“I’m proud of our guys and we fought extremely hard, head coach Manuel Diaz said. “It was a tough battle and at moments I thought we were getting ready to win the whole dual match. But then the momentum swung a little bit back and forth and ultimately Texas Tech deserved to win. We just had too many ups and downs and they capitalized on it.
Both Baylor and Columbia came into this match 0-2 on the weekend and it looked like it’d be Baylor leaving winless after Columbia went ahead 3-1. Columbia took the doubles point with wins at #2 and #3 and then Mike Vermeer beat Will Little 6-3, 6-4 at #4 and Timmy Wang beat Tommy Podvinski 6-3, 6-2 at #6. Columbia’s Richard Pham also took the first set at #6 while Baylor’s Julian Lenz, Max Tchoutakian, and Felipe Rios took first sets at #1, #2, and #3.
Baylor’s got a 6-3, 6-3 win from Max Tchoutakian over Victor Pham at #2 and Felipe Rios cut CU’s lead to 3-2 with a 7-6, 7-6 win over Eric Rubin at #3 (TB scores unknown). Julian Lenz tied it at 3-3 with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 win over Shawn Hadavi at #1 so the match would come down to #5 singles.
Columbia’s Richard Pham took the opening set 7-6 but Baylor freshman Jimmy Bendeck rallied to take the second set 6-4. Pham would go up 4-2 in the third but Bendeck held and then Pham double faulted on the deciding point to give Bendeck the break to tie it at 4-4. Bendeck held for 5-4 then Pham double faulted two more times to go down 0-30. Bendeck would break from 15-40 to give Baylor the 4-3 win.
ITA National Indoors Consolation Match
Post-Match Quotes from Baylor’s recap