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I tell you if you are a fan of college tennis today was as good at gets with one close match after another as all 15 Men’s KOW regionals were in full swing. There were two regional hosts that got knocked out in the first round which is something that doesn’t happen very often. Another thing that doesn’t happen very often is Iowa winning a match during an ITA Kick-Off Weekend because this was the first time since 2010 that the Hawkeyes had a high enough previous year-ending ranking to be selected to participate. 

Iowa rolled into Lubbock on a cool and windy day and jumped on Texas Tech early by going up breaks on all three courts and would eventually pick up a 6-4 win at No. 1 and a 6-3 win at No. 3 to claim the doubles point. Each team claimed three opening sets in singles with Iowa taking the lead at the top three spots while Texas Tech went ahead at the bottom three. Only three of the six matches would finish in straight sets with Texas Tech picking up wins from Bjorn Thomson and Ronit Bisht at No. 4 and No. 5 while Iowa’s Kareem Allaf defeated a less than 100% Connor Curry at No. 3 (dislocated toe).

Iowa’s Lefteris Theodorou and Texas Tech’s Alex Sendegeya were all even at 2-2 in the third but Lefty would win the final four games of the match to put Iowa back in front at 3-2. Both of the remaining courts were into a third set and it looked like Texas Tech was going to come back and pull it out because Carlos DiLaura had gone ahead of Jake Jacoby 4-1 at No. 6 while Jolan Cailleau had built a 4-0 lead against Josh Silverstein at No. 1. However neither Hawkeye was ready to quit because Jacoby would take the next four games to go ahead 5-4 while Silverstein took one of his breaks back from Cailleau. Despite the late charge by Jacoby he’d be unable to close it out as DiLaura would win the final three games to even the overall score at 3-3. 

All eyes were now at No. 1 singles as Silverstein served to stay in the match down 5-2 in the third. Silverstein would manage to hold for 3-5, then he broke for 4-5, and then he held from 40/30 to even it 5-5. Silverstein would then have two break point at 30/40 to go up 6-5 but Cailleau fought them both off to get the hold. Silverstein held to force a third set tiebreak and after being tied 3-3 at the changeover the Iowa lefty would win the final four to close it out 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3). Silverstein did a great job of keeping the ball in play down the stretch with him mainly blocking back Cailleau’s serve and eventually Cailleau would misfire to end the point. Also I want to give a huge shoutout to Iowa’s SID for doing a periscope feed of several of the key games down the stretch including the full third set tiebreak – aces in my book!!   

Iowa will be back it on Sunday in the region final against Mississippi State after the Bulldogs outlasted Florida State 4-3.  
Post-Match Quotes from Texas Tech’s recap
“It was a team loss today,” Texas Tech head coach Brett Masi said. “Give credit to Iowa, they came into our house and beat us. Tomorrow, we’ll need to be a lot tougher.”

“Connor went down with an injury, but he bounced back,” Masi said. “He dislocated his toe, and they were able to get it back into place. Then, he battled there in singles. I commended him in the locker room for fighting through that.” 

Post-Match Audio from Iowa’s recap


Iowa 4, Texas Tech 3
01/28/17 at Lubbock, Texas (McLeod Tennis Center)
Singles Results
1. Josh Silverstein (IOWA 13.07) def. #25 Jolan Cailleau (TT 14.08) 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3)
2. Lefteris Theodorou (IOWA 13.14) def. Alex Sendegeya (TT 13.71) 6-4, 1-6, 6-2
3. Kareem Allaf (IOWA 13.01) def. #104 Connor Curry (TT 13.94) 7-5, 6-3
4. Bjorn Thomson (TT 13.79) def. Robin Haden (IOWA 12.43) 6-4, 6-2
5. #120 Ronit Bisht (TT 12.70) def. Jonas Larsen (IOWA 12.75) 6-0, 7-5
6. Carlos DiLaura (TT 12.60) def. Jake Jacoby (IOWA 12.68) 6-2, 2-6, 7-5
Doubles Results
1. Josh Silverstein/Lefteris Theodorou (IOWA) def. #60 Alex Sendegeya/Bjorn Thomson (TT) 6-4
2. Connor Curry/Carlos DiLaura (TT) vs. Kareem Allaf/Jonas Larsen (IOWA) 3-4, unfinished
3. Robin Haden/Jake Jacoby (IOWA) def. Ronit Bisht/Pyry Hyrkkonen (TT) 6-3
Match Notes:
Iowa 3-0
Texas Tech 2-2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (5,4,3,2,6,1) T-2:55 A-125
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Roughly 425 miles away in College Station the locals were treated to not one but two 4-3 thrillers as SMU outlasted Ole Miss and Baylor held off the hosts Texas A&M.  It appeared that Ole Miss was going to take the early 1-0 lead when the Rebels won at No. 3 doubles and had a 5-3 lead at No. 1 but SMU’s Johnson Brothers would hold for 4-5 and then break on the no-ad point to even it at 5-5. The Johnsons would hold again for 6-5 and would then break to take it 7-5 which along with a 6-4 win at No. 2 gave the Mustangs the 1-0 lead.
Each team took three first sets in singles and SMU’s doubles heroes, Hunter and Yates Johnson, would each win their respective matches in straight sets to put SMU in front 3-0. Getting the fourth point wouldn’t be easy because Ole Miss fought back and picked up wins from Gustav Hansson and Zvonimir Babic at No. 1 and No. 6 to make it 3-2. Ole Miss’s Ricardo Jorge would break Samm Butler to go up 4-3 in the third and after two more holds he’d have the win to tie the match at 3-3. 
The deciding match came at No. 4 singles between SMU senior Markus Kerner and Ole Miss sophomore Fabian Fallert. After splitting the first two sets, Kerner went up an early break in the third but Fallert would get the match back on serve at 4-4 after breaking on the no-ad point. Kerner would break back and would serve for the match up 5-4 but Fallert broke back and held to take a 6-5 lead. Kerner held to send the match to a tiebreak and then after an exchange of mini-breaks they’d change sides all even at 3-3. Kerner went up *5-4 after Fallert missed a forehand wide but Fallert would even it at 5-5 with an excellent service return that Kerner couldn’t scoop up. Kerner went up 6-5 with a volley winner and then Fallert doubles faulted the match away to fall 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(5). 
Props to Texas A&M for having the third set tiebreak on periscope so if you want to watch it you have until 3:30 p.m ET on Sunday before the video expires. 
Post-Match Quote from SMU’s recap
“It was a great win,” head coach Carl Neufeld said. “I’m so proud of these guys, especially Markus. It’s Markus’ first match winning defeat. I’m so proud of him to come from behind. Ole Miss is a great team. They’re always on top of the SEC. It was an exceptional team win.”
Post-Match Quotes from head coach Toby Hansson via Ole Miss’s recap – “This was a tough loss no doubt about it, but I am really proud of the way we battled out there. I said before the match that it will come down to one point and that is exactly what happened. We lost a tough doubles point and got down early in singles but kept fighting. In the end it was so close. We have to put this one behind us and get ready for another tough opponent tomorrow.”
#23 SMU 4, Ole Miss 3
Jan 28, 2017 at College Station, TX (George P. Mitchell Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #14 Gustav Hansson (OM 14.26) def. Ronald Slobodchikov (SMU 13.90) 6-1, 5-7, 6-2
2. Hunter Johnson (SMU 13.65) def. #57 Tim Sandkaulen (OM 13.50) 6-3, 6-3
3. Ricardo Jorge (OM 13.00) def. Samm Butler (SMU 14.16) 7-5, 3-6, 6-4
4. Markus Kerner (SMU 12.86) def. Fabian Fallert (OM 13.23) 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
5. Yates Johnson (SMU 12.85) def. Filip Kraljevic (OM 13.02) 6-3, 6-4
6. Zvonimir Babic (OM 13.00) def. Arkadijs Slobodkins (SMU 12.51) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
Doubles competition
1. Hunter Johnson/Yates Johnson (SMU) def. #13 Fabian Fallert/Grey Hamilton (OM) 7-5
2. Samm Butler/Ronald Slobodchikov (SMU) def. #40 Zvonimir Babic/Filip Kraljevic (OM) 6-4
3. #57 Gustav Hansson/Tim Sandkaulen (OM) def. Markus Kerner/Arkadijs Slobodkins (SMU) 6-4
Match Notes
Ole Miss 1-1
SMU 3-1; National ranking #23
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (5,2,6,1,3,4)
The second match of the day in College Station had just as much intensity as the first with former Big 12 rivals Texas and Baylor going back and forth for just over three hours. Baylor jumped out to a 4-1 lead on all three doubles courts but Texas A&M managed to claw its way back in at both No. 1 and No. 2. Texas A&M’s Rinderknech and Lunkin fought off a match point to hold for 5-5 at No. 1 but they wouldn’t get a chance to finish because Baylor’s Benitez and Frantzen would break Bakshi and Catanzariti to win it 7-5. 
Baylor’s Johannes Schretter would extend the lead to 2-0 with a straight set win at No. 3 but all other singles matches would end up going the full three sets. Texas A&M sophomore Aleksandre Bakshi put the Aggies on the board by coming back from a break down in the third set to defeat Jimmy Bendeck 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 at No. 4. Arthur Rinderknech evened the match at 2-2 with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 win over Juan Benitez at No. 1 but Baylor regained the lead when Max Tchoutakian won the final three games of the match to defeat AJ Catanzariti 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 at No. 2. Texas A&M sophomore Jordi Arconada had a 5-2 lead in the third against Bjoern Peterson but after failing to serve it out he’d break to win it 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. The match was now tied at 3-3 but Baylor freshman Constantin Frantzen had four match points on Texas A&M freshman Valentin Vacherot’s 3-5 service game. Vacherot fought off a couple of them but he couldn’t fight them all off and Frantzen closed it out 7-6, 3-6, 6-3.
Post-Match Quotes from Texas A&M’s recap
“We just got off to a really bad start in the doubles and didn’t hold serve. Give Baylor credit they jumped on us in the early parts of doubles,” Texas A&M men’s tennis head coach Steve Denton said. “On court one we gave ourselves a chance to get back in it, but you can’t afford to give a good team that kind of lead and we did in the doubles. We were fighting an uphill battle all-day and you saw all the matches were going to be close all day, just a couple points here and there and they were able to hold on and get three singles wins.”
“Jordy did a good job there in the second set coming back late and winning and then got up petty big in the third and was able to hold on.” Denton added “Obviously Arthur’s match was up and down a little bit, but he came through and played well for us. I was really proud of Alex [Bakshi]. He split his first two sets and early in the third he was down a break. He came out of that and was able to pull that match out against a really feisty positive player. I think Alex showed a lot of resilience being able to come back and win that match. We were pleased with his performance in that situation.”
#21 Baylor 4, #15 Texas A&M 3
Jan 28, 2017 at College Station, TX (George P Mitchell Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #16 Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU 14.63) def. Juan Benitez (BU 14.56) 6-2, 2-6, 6-3
2. #44 Max Tchoutakian (BU 13.84) def. AJ Catanzariti (TAMU 13.69) 5-7, 6-2, 6-4
3. Johannes Schretter (BU 13.16) def. Max Lunkin (TAMU 13.81) 6-3, 6-4
4. Aleksandre Bakshi (TAMU 13.44) def. #81 Jimmy Bendeck (BU 13.68) 6-1, 3-6, 6-4
5. Jordi Arconada (TAMU 13.47) def. Bjoern Petersen (BU 13.59) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4
6. Constantin Frantzen (BU 13.09) def. Valentin Vacherot (TAMU 13.95) 7-6 (7-1), 3-6, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #7 Max Lunkin/Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) vs. Max Tchoutakian/Bjoern Petersen (BU) 5-5, unfinished
2. Juan Benitez/Constantin Frantzen (BU) def. Aleksandre Bakshi/AJ Catanzariti (TAMU) 7-5
3. Johannes Schretter/Jimmy Bendeck (BU) def. Jordi Arconada/James Martell (TAMU) 6-1
Match Notes
Baylor 3-0; National ranking #21
Texas A&M 1-1; National ranking #15
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (3,4,1,2,5,6)
ITA Kick-Off Weekend
Stanford had a successful trip to Evanston just nine months ago when it won the Northwestern Regional to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 but today against Georgia Tech its good fortunes ran out. Georgia Tech took the doubles point with a 7-6(1) win in the deciding match at No. 2 doubles and then the teams proceeded to split the six opening sets in singles. Stanford looked like it was on the verge of turning a few of the courts around because Sameer Kumar led Andrew Li 4-0 in the second set at No. 2 while Brandon Sutter led Cole Fiegel 4-1 in the second set at No. 6. However Fiegel would take six of the next seven games to win at No. 6 and Li would win the last six games at No. 2 and just like that Georgia Tech was up 3-0. Stanford’s David Wilczynski won in straight sets at No. 5 but Georgia Tech freshman Carlos Divar would clinch the match with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Jack Barber at No. 4.
Georgia Tech will play Northwestern in the region final after the Wildcats defeated Memphis 4-0. 
Post-Match Quotes from Georgia Tech’s recap
Head coach Kenny Thorne says: “Good win for the guys today over a very good team. Stanford has an incredible tennis tradition and we had a tough battle with them. Our guys stayed strong at the key moments and that was the different. We will enjoy this win for a short time and start preparing for the Northwestern/Memphis winner.”
Georgia Tech 4, #18 Stanford 1
Jan 28, 2017 at Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #8 Tom Fawcett (STAN 14.24) vs. #9 Christopher Eubanks (GT 14.48) 6-2, 5-7, 3-2, unfinished
2. #61 Andrew Li (GT 13.72) def. Sameer Kumar (STAN 14.22) 6-4, 6-4
3. #68 Michael Genender (STAN 13.55) vs. Carlos Benito (GT 13.40) 7-5, 5-4, unfinished
4. Carlos Divar (GT 13.81) def. Jack Barber (STAN 13.54) 6-2, 7-5
5. David Wilczynski (STAN 13.24) def. Chris Yun (GT 13.04) 6-3, 7-5
6. Cole Fiegel (GT 13.34) def. Brandon Sutter (STAN 13.40) 6-3, 7-5
Doubles competition
1. #15 Sameer Kumar/Yale Goldberg (STAN) def. Christopher Eubanks/Phillip Gresk (GT) 6-4
2. Carlos Benito/Carlos Divar (GT) def. #55 Tom Fawcett/David Wilczynski (STAN) 7-6 (7-1)
3. Andrew Li/Cole Fiegel (GT) def. Jack Barber/Michael Genender (STAN) 6-4
Match Notes
Georgia Tech 1-1
Stanford 2-0; National ranking #18
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (6,2,5,4)
Official: John Coleman T-2:30 A-143


Other Saturday Opening Round Results: 

  • Florida defeated UNC Wilmington 4-0 win in a match that took less 90 minutes – the Gators will face LSU in the region finals after the Bayou Bengals came back from the losing the doubles point and four first sets to defeat South Florida 4-3. 
  • Illinois dropped the doubles point to the Arkansas, who was playing without its top player Mike Redlicki (illness), but the Illini rallied to win 4-2 with freshman Noe Khlif getting the clincher in his dual-match debut at No. 6. Illinois will play Oklahoma in the region final after the Sooners fought off a late charge from Michigan to win 4-1. Spencer Papa got the clinch at No. 2 winning 7-6(5) in the third.
  • Texas faced some resistance from Drake but the Horns got the 4-1 win with Harrison Scott clinching at No. 3 (Center Comments). Texas will meet Oregon in the region finals after the Ducks overcame the loss of the doubles point to defeat Rice 4-2. Oregon took five first sets in singles and Jayson Amos provided the clincher at No. 3 with a 7-6, 7-6 win over Eric Rutledge. 
  • USC advanced to the region finals with a surprisingly routine 4-0 win over East Tennessee State. USC only lost 5 games during the doubles point and it won all nine completed sets in singles with senior Nick Crystal clinching at No. 3. USC will face San Diego on Sunday after the Toreros defeated Virginia Tech 4-2 with Filip Vittek clinching 6-2 in the third at No. 1. 
  • UCLA and Lamar will play in the region final after UCLA blanked New Mexico 4-0 and Lamar ousted Boise State 4-2. 
  • TCU and Utah State will play in the region final after TCU defeated Pacific 4-0 and Utah State beat Wichita State 4-1. 


Region Final Results

  • Oklahoma State advanced to the National Team Indoors for the first time since 2008 with a dominating 4-0 win over Kentucky. Oklahoma State won eight of nine sets in singles with Tristan Meraut clinching at No. 6.
  • Ohio State will be heading to the National Team Indoors for the ninth straight year after defeating Old Dominion 4-0; Herkko Pollanen clinched the win at No. 4 with a 6-4, 6-4 win – ODU was up a set at 1, 2, and 5 at the time of the clinch. 
  • Cal is heading back to the NTIs after a one year absence after pulling out a close 4-2 win over Tulane. Filip Bergevi clinched the match with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 3 while the other remaining match was just starting the third set. 
  • Wake Forest defeated Georgia State 4-0 with Skander Mansouri clinching at No. 2 – GSU took a set at No. 6 and was closing to get a split at No. 3.
  • North Carolina will have a chance to defend its title after defeating Vanderbilt 4-1. Ronnie Schneider clinched at No. 1 while the other two remaining matches were in third sets. 


Region Consolation Matches

  • Columbia really dominated Tulsa in a 4-0 win in the Oklahoma State Regional – Lions won eight of nine sets in singles.
  • Alabama won a long 4-3 match over Purdue in the Georgia Regional – Edson Ortiz won the decider 7-5 in the third.  
  • Notre Dame defeated Penn State 4-1 in the North Carolina Regional with Matthew Gamble clinching in straight sets at No. 4
  • Auburn blanked Nebraska 4-0 at the Wake Forest Regional – Edward Nguyen clinched with a 7-6, 6-1 win at No. 4 – Nebraska won three sets in singles
  • Cal Poly held off a late charge from Pepperdine to win 4-3 in the Cal Regional – Poly led 3-0 before Pepperdine tied it at 3-3 but Axel Damiens would win the decider 7-6(5) in the third at No. 6


All the women’s results are available at the ITA’s site 


Sunday Schedule

Men’s Kick-Off Weekend (Region Finals):

LSU at #11 Florida (11 a.m. ET) 
Washington at #5 Georgia (1 p.m. ET) 
#20 Mississippi State vs. Iowa (@TXT – 1 p.m. ET)
Utah State at #12 TCU (1 p.m. ET)
Oregon at #9 Texas (2 p.m. ET) 
Georgia Tech at #10 Northwestern (3 p.m. ET) 
#17 Illinois at #16 Oklahoma (3 p.m. ET) 
#23 SMU vs. #21 Baylor (@TAMU 
San Diego at #8 USC (4 p.m. ET) 
Lamar at #6 UCLA (5 p.m. ET) 
MKO Consolation:
Denver vs. Utah (@OhioSt – 9 a.m. ET) 
#24 South Florida vs. UNC Wilmington (@FLA 9 a.m. ET) 
Rice vs. Drake (@TX – 11 a.m. ET) 
#19 Michigan vs. #25 Arkansas (@OU – 11 a.m. ET) 
#18 Stanford vs. Memphis (@Nwestern – 11 a.m. ET) 
Ole Miss at #15 Texas A&M (12 p.m. ET)
Boise State vs. New Mexico (@UCLA – 1 p.m. ET) 
Virginia Tech vs. East Tennessee State (@USC – 1 p.m. ET) 
Florida State at Texas Tech (1 p.m. ET) 
Wichita State vs. Pacific (@TCU – 1 p.m. ET) 
Women’s Kick-Off Weekend (Opening Round)
Xavier at #8 California (1 p.m. ET) 
Missouri vs. Old Dominion (@Cal 4 p.m. ET) 
WKO (Region Finals):
Alabama at #7 Ohio State (12 p.m. ET) 
#24 UCLA at #11 Georgia Tech (1 p.m. ET) 
#22 Texas A&M at #12 Miami (1 p.m. ET) 
#17 Texas at #2 North Carolina (1 p.m. ET) 
Ole Miss vs. #19 LSU (@UVA 1:30 p.m. ET)
#23 Mississippi State at #14 Michigan (2 p.m. ET)
#18 USC at #15 Auburn (2 p.m. ET) 
TCU at #5 Oklahoma State (2 p.m. ET)
#25 Northwestern at #10 Duke (2 p.m. ET) 
Florida International at #1 Florida (2 p.m. ET) 
NC State at #3 Pepperdine (4 p.m. ET) 
#21 Arizona State at #13 Texas Tech (4 p.m. ET) 
Illinois at #6 Georgia (5 p.m. ET) 
WKO Consolation:
Georgia State vs. New Mexico (@UGA 9 a.m. ET) 
Oregon vs. Columbia (@UNC 9:30 a.m. ET)
Tulsa vs. William & Mary (@Duke 10 a.m. ET) 
#20 Kentucky vs. Penn (@GT 10 a.m. ET) 
Syracuse vs. Denver (@Mich 10 a.m. ET)
Wake Forest at Virginia (10 a.m. ET) 
South Alabama vs. Brown (@Miami 11 a.m. ET) 
Wichita State vs. Cornell (@Okla St 11 a.m. ET) 
Rice vs. Fresno State (@Aub 11 a.m. ET) 
South Florida vs. DePaul (@FLA 12 p.m. ET)
Arkansas vs. UNLV (@Pepp 1 p.m. ET) 
Harvard vs. Florida State (@OhioSt 4 p.m. ET)
#16 South Carolina vs. UC Santa Barbara (4 p.m. ET) 
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