Semifinal Saturday was good as expected in the ACC with an almost three rain delay adding to the suspense. North Carolina was looking for its third of the season over No. 1 Virginia and for the better part of four plus hours it looked like they’d get it.
In the high-profile doubles matchup at No. 1 it was the ITA No. 3 team of Brett Clark and Robert Kelly rolling over the ITA No. 2 team of Ryan Shane and Luca Corinteli. Clark and Kelly broke UVA to start the match and then broke again to go up 5-2. Robert Kelly would serve it out to give UNC the 6-2.
UVA’s Collin Altamirano and J.C. Aragone jumped out to an early 4-1 lead at No. 3 but UNC’s Ronnie Schneider and Anu Kodali would take the next three to even it up at 4-4.
Over at No. 2, UNC’s Brayden Schnur and Jack Murray broke Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Mac Styslinger on the deciding point to go up 2-1 and then Murray held for 3-1. After three straight holds, UVA would break Murray to even it up at 4-4. UNC broke back and then Schnur served it out at love to win it 6-4.
Each took would take three opening sets in singles with UNC grabbing them at 1, 2, and 5 while UVA took them at 3, 4, and 6.
UNC’s Brayden Schnur beat Ryan Shane for the third time this season with a win at No. 1. Schnur won the first eight games of the match before Shane finally got on the board in the third game of the second set. Schnur maintained his break lead and served it out to take it 6-0, 6-4.
After play finally resumed, UNC’s Ronnie Schneider was able to to close out Collin Altamirano on the deciding point, on a service overrule of all things, to win it 6-2, 6-4. North Carolina’s lead was now 3-0 but getting the fourth point would prove to be too difficult.
UVA’s Luca Corinteli would start the comeback with a win over Anu Kodali at No. 6. Corinteli took the first set 6-2 and then led 4-2 in the second. Kodali broke for 3-4 and then held for 4-4 and then the rain started. After the delay Kodali would break Corinteli but he’d be unable to serve out the set as Corinteli broke back to even it at 5-5. Corinteli held for 6-5 and then broke Kodali on the deciding point to win it 6-2, 7-5.
UVA’s Thai-Son Kwiatkowski would trim UNC’s lead to 3-2 with a win over Brett Clark at No. 3. Kwiatkowski took the opening set 6-3 but Clark took the second 6-2. Kwiatkowski would break Clark to go up 5-3 and then he’d serve it out to win it 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
UNC’s best chance of closing it out came at No. 4 where Robert Kelly had gone ahead 3-1 in the third set against J.C. Aragone. The UVA junior would hold for 2-3 and then break on the deciding point to even it at 3-3. It was all holds until the tiebreak when Aragone would go up 5-0. Kelly would come storming back to tie it at 5-5 but then he overcooked a forehand on a point he was seemingly in control of to go down *6-5. Aragone would close it out on the next point when Kelly sliced a backhand into the net and just like that the match was even at 3-3.
Henrik Wiersholm dropped the opening set at No. 5 but he didn’t drop much the rest of the way and would nonchalantly clinch the match with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Jack Murray at No. 5
It’s tough to say whether the rain really had that big of an impact because it’s not like any of the individual courts really changed direction after the stoppage.
“Congratulations to North Carolina for a great run so far and I know they are going to be a great team in the NCAA Tournament,” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. “I am proud of my guys for coming back from down 3-0. That shows a lot of toughness. I am really pleased with how they managed the weather delay we had in the middle of the match. They got themselves mentally and physically ready to go and came out and won all four matches that we needed. I am really proud of the overall effort and I am looking forward to playing for an ACC Championship tomorrow.”
“Congratulations to Virginia, UNC coach Sam Paul said. “They came out and played well.
“Doubles was definitely a huge positive, Murray said. “We’ve put a lot of emphasis on that in practice.
“Robert Kelly fought his tail off I’m really proud of his effort, said Paul, who was situated at the even-numbered courts and thus saw Kelly’s match at No. 4 but not the other two three-set matches. “I’m proud of the whole team it’s been a good week for us. We’ll look at today and then get ready for the NCAA Tournament. Virginia was just a better team today. We’re just going to go to work.
The other ACC semifinal between Wake Forest and Virginia Tech would also live up to its advance billing. Wake Forest won the regular season meeting 4-3 with four of six singles matches going the distance so I figured this one would probably be close as well.
Virginia Tech looked like it’d secure the doubles point after winning 6-0 at No. 2 and opening up a 5-3 lead at No. 1. However Wake’s Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim would hold for 4-5 and then break to even it at 5-5. Wake’s Romain Bogarets and Dennis Uspensky would break VT to go up 5-4 at No. 3 and then they’d serve it out to win it 6-4. Back at No. 1, Mansouri and Seraphim would hold for 6-5 and then break VT to win it 7-5.
Each team took three first sets in singles and just as Petros Chrysochos was closing in on the finish line at No. 2 the rain started coming down. Below were the scores at the time of the stoppage:
Once play resumed VT’s Andreas Bjerrehus won two straight at No. 2 but Chrysochos closed it out on the next game to win it 6-2, 6-3.
Wake Forest senior Romain Bogaerts extended the Demon Deacons lead to 3-0 with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Edoardo Tessaro at No. 4. Seconds later Virginia Tech freshman Mitch Harper would the Hokies on the board with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Christian Seraphim at No. 5.
VT senior Joao Monteiro narrowed the Wake lead to 3-2 with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over Skander Mansouri at No. 1 but Wake was starting to pull away on the other two courts.
Jon Ho had opened up a 4-1 lead in the third at No. 3 but Dennis Uspensky would get the clinch at No. 6 with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Jai Corbett.
Virginia Tech 17-8 (7-5 ACC); National ranking #36
Wake Forest 28-5 (10-2 ACC); National ranking #7
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (2,4,5,1,6)
Play was suspended due to rain at 3:47 p.m.; play continued at 6:30 p.m. ________________________________________________________
Georgia is back in the finals of the SEC Tournament after defeating Mississippi State 4-1. The Red & Black Bulldogs jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after winning at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles and then the lead was quickly extended to 2-0 when Austin Smith won 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1 singles.
Georgia freshman Emil Reinberg would make it 3-0 with a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 6 but Mississippi State would start to claw its way back into the match.
MSU freshman Nuno Borges would get a late break to defeat Paul Oosterbaan 6-4, 7-5 at No. 3 plus MSU’s Niclas Braun would go up 3-0 in the third against Walker Duncan at No. 3.
Georgia’s Wayne Montgomery came back from 5-2 down in the first set to take it in a tiebreak and then he led 4-1 in the second set before Rishab Agarwal closed to win 4-3. Montgomery would serve it out from 5-4 and clinch the match with a 7-6(1), 6-4 win.
6 (1) Georgia 4, #25 (4) Mississippi State 1
4/23/2016 at Columbia, S.C. (Carolina Tennis Center)
“I thought we came out well prepared today,” head coach Manuel Diaz said. “We played exceptionally well in doubles and we came out ready to fight in singles. I take my hat off to Mississippi State. They were tenacious, gritty and tough at all positions. We had Emil come in at six and do a tremendous job there. Austin Smith was clicking on all cylinders. I’m just proud of this team for fighting and for giving us a win today.”
“We have to give credit to Georgia, as they have proven themselves to be an NCAA Championship contending team with the resume they’ve built this year,” head coach Matt Roberts said. “To beat a team like that you have to be ready to compete extremely well at every position and we lacked in a few spots today.”
“Our guys battled hard and gave us a chance to do something special, we just came up a little short,” Roberts said. “All in all, I am very proud of what this group continues to do and we will learn from this as we prepare for the NCAA Tournament.” ____________________________________________________________
Florida advanced to the finals of the SEC Tournament for the second time in three years by avenging an earlier loss to Texas A&M. Florida took the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3 but Texas A&M battled back in singles and took four opening sets.
Florida’s Alfredo Perez and Elliott Orkin were the the Gators to claim opening sets but they also managed to finish in straight sets with Perez winning 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2 while Orkin won 7-6, 6-1 at No. 3.
Florida’s Chase Perez-Blanco would clinch the shutout with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over AJ Catanzariti at No. 4. The other matches were abandoned with Texas A&M up a double break on 1, Florida up a break on 5, and on-serve in the third at No. 6.
#11 Florida 4, #13 Texas A&M 0
4/23/2016 at Columbia, S.C. (Carolina Tennis Center)
1. No. 18 Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) vs. No. 11 Diego Hidalgo (UF) 6-2, 2-6, 5-1, unf.
On the win over Texas A&M: “I’m really proud of our guys. I thought they showed up and came ready to play. We’re really excited about the opportunity to compete in the Championship tomorrow.
“Credit to Texas A&M, they’ve got a great program and a great team. They beat us in the regular season and I think our guys were looking forward to the opportunity to play them again knowing we’d be pushed to the limit — and we responded with that. I’m really proud of the way we fought back in both doubles and singles play. It says a lot about our resilience, toughness, and physical fitness.
On the opportunity to play Georgia tomorrow in the Tournament Championship:
“It’s a great opportunity for us. We get a chance to play in the conference championship in one of the best conferences in collegiate tennis. I’m really proud of our guys for creating this opportunity with the effort and work they’ve put in this season.
“A lot has gone into this to get us to this point and the guys are hungry for it. They’re certainly not satisfied. The loss we took in Athens a few weeks ago still sits right in our chests — and we haven’t forgotten about it. I know our guys will be motivated. And not only motivated to play in the match, but to go out and compete like champions.
On Rinderknech’s tournament “One of the things we learned this weekend is that Arthur is one of the best players in the country and he showed that again today. How he has been playing in singles especially, after winning that emotional match yesterday and then turning around and playing well again today against another highly ranked singles player shows that he is playing at a really high level right now. It shows that he is playing with a lot of confidence and that is the biggest positive out of this tournament.”
On bouncing back from dropping doubles point…“Our guys did a good job coming back and winning those first sets. Now what we as a coaching staff need to work on is getting the guys to press the issue and play aggressive in those situations. Give Florida a lot of credit, they came back and won all those second sets and put some scoreboard pressure on us. After we win a first set, let’s apply pressure and not allow them to get back into the match.”
On the break before the NCAA Tournament starts
“First we need to get the guys a couple days rest and get home, but then we have a chance to work really hard for a couple weeks and prep for the tournament. It is both a positive and negative, we have to wait three weeks to play again, but we get three weeks to put in a training block and work with the guys and get better. It can propel us into something special and let us get ready to play our best tennis heading into the NCAA Tournament.” ________________________________________________________________
Oklahoma won the Bedlam Rivalry over Oklahoma State despite playing without Florin Bragusi (unknown). The Sooners took the doubles point when Maxime Mora and Andre Biro came back from 4-2 down in the tiebreak to win it 7-5.
Andrew Harris, Axel Alvarez, and Alex Ghilea won in straight sets to give OU’s its four points.
10 Oklahoma def. 12 Oklahoma State, 4-0
April 23, 2016 | Greenwood Tennis Center | Stillwater, Oklahoma
“We played a good match today,” head coach John Roddick said. “Our intensity is getting better, but we still need more. We’ll work on that this week. We are looking forward to the Big 12 Championship.”
“Axel has been a tremendous player on some great teams,” Roddick said. “His record shows that and we are happy for him. He deserves to go out with the records.”
“Anytime you play Oklahoma it’s going to be a big match for us,” coach Jay Udwadia said. “We had match point in doubles and didn’t capitalize on that and we also had some key opportunities in singles that (Oklahoma) came up with, which happened to be the difference.”
“It was a close match,” Cash said. “I feel like we could have won all three doubles matches and taken the point, but in the end we just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities today.”
“Big 12 Championships are coming around and we’ve seen every team,” coach Udwadia said. “We are going to work are butts off to get ready for that tournament and hopefully do something special at home.”