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What a match it was!! The final of the 2017 Men’s ITA National Team Indoor Championships had it all from a controversial ending to the doubles point, to someone getting a game penalty for a racquet smash, to guys coming back from multiple breaks down, and to finally having JC Aragone fight off a match point to clinch the championship in a third set tiebreak. So let’s start with the doubles point which was expected to be highly competitive and it was on a few courts but most definitely was not at No. 1. Virginia’s Luca Corinteli and Carl Soderlund had yet to pick up a win during the tournament, because Virginia had already clinched elsewhere, but they made sure to get one today and it would only take 20 minutes to blank Mikael Torpegaard and Herkko Pollanen 6-0. 

Ohio State’s No. 2 team of Martin Joyce and Hugo Di Feo broke Alex Ritschard’s 1-1 service game but Ritschard and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski broke back from 30/40 when a Joyce backhand volley sailed wide. Joyce and Di Feo had a pair of break points on Kwiatkowski’s 2-2 service game but two well placed serves by Kwiatkowski resulted in Ritschard finishing both points at the net with an overhead winner to get the hold for 3-2. After a couple of quick holds, Di Feo went up 40/0 on his 3-4 service game but Virginia took the next three points to bring up the no-ad point. Ohio State got the hold for 4-4 when Joyce hit an overhead winner and then the Buckeyes duo broke Kwiatkowski’s serve from 15/40 to go up 5-4. Virginia broke Joyce from 15/40 to even at 5-all but Ohio State broke right back when Ritschard double faulted from 30/40 so now Hugo Di Feo would try to serve it out. 

Meanwhile over at No. 3 things were heating up between Virginia’s Collin Altamirano and JC Aragone and Ohio State’s Matt Mendez and Hunter Tubert. Mendez and Tubert took an early break lead at 3-2 when they broke the Aragone serve at love but Aragone and Altamirano would break Tubert on the no-ad point, when a Tubert volley hit the tape and kicked back, to even it at 3-all. Altamirano fought off a pair of break points with a service winner at 30/40 and then an ace on the no-ad point to hold for 4-3. After love holds by Mendez and Aragone, Tubert held from 40/30 for 5-all and then Altamirano had an easy hold from 40/15 to go up 6-5. Mendez would fall behind 15/40 which gave Virginia three match points but back-to-back service winners brought up the no-ad point. This is when things got really interesting – Mendez was serving into the ad-court and Altamirano returned his second serve right at Tubert who was at the net. Tubert made a stab volley and initially the ball looked like it would sail wide but it caught the line and as Altamirano hit it Tubert put his hand in the air because of someone(s) in the crowd yelling out thinking it had missed wide. Mendez kept playing and hit a backhand winner up the line but the chair said the point went to Virginia because Tubert stopped playing. Tubert was saying the point should have been theirs due to a noise hindrance but the official rule says that play can only be stopped if the hindrance is caused by a match contributor i.e a coach, player, or trainer.  

Here was an official statement from head referee Anthony Montero 

“While the point was in play, Virginia hit a shot that some in the crowd must have thought was a winner. Someone in the crowd (seated above the players) applauded/made a noise. One of the Ohio State players stopped play, claiming a hindrance and thinking Ohio State won the point. Unfortunately, noise from the crowd (as opposed to the Virginia team that was playing or some bench players on the adjacent court) can never cause a hindrance. Since the Ohio State player stopped playing the ball and spoke out while the point was in play, Ohio State in fact created the hindrance and lost the point.”

Ohio State came out extremely focused in singles, probably playing with some aggression after the way the double point ended, and Hugo Di Feo, Herkko Pollanen, and Kyle Seelig would jump out to early break leads at No. 2, No. 4, No. 6 while Carl Soderlund and JJ Wolf exchange breaks at No. 3. Di Feo, Pollanen, and Torpegaard would take opening sets for Ohio State while Soderlund, Ritschard, and Wiersholm would claim them for Virginia. 

The match at No. 6 between Virginia junior Henrik Wiersholm and Ohio State redshirt freshman Kyle Seelig was the last one to finish its first set but it’d be the first one to become final. Seelig broke Wiersholm to start the match but Wiersholm broke back on the no-ad point to even it at 1-all. There would then be 10 consecutive holds though each had some close calls with the closest coming when Wiersholm held on the no-ad point while serving at 4-5. In the tiebreak Wiersholm won the first three points and led 4-2 at the changeover and then he won the last three to close it out 7-2. On the 6-2* point, Wiersholm came forward and a Seelig forehand caught the net cord and kicked up but Wiersholm stayed with it to hit a volley winner. Wiersholm went up an early break at 2-0 in the second after breaking Seelig on the no-ad point but Seelig would break back on a no-ad point, via a Wiersholm double fault, to make it 2-1. Wiersholm broke back from 30/40 and then held from 40/30 to make it 4-1. Seelig held for 2-4 and then he had two break points to put it back on serve but Wiersholm held on the no-ad point for 5-2. Wiersholm would break Seelig on the no-ad point with a forehand winner in the corner to close out the 7-6(2), 6-2 win which put Virginia ahead 2-0.

Just three minutes later Ohio State junior Mikael Torpeggard would put the Buckeyes on the board with a straight set win over Collin Altamirano at No. 1.  The first set stayed on serve until Torpegaard broke Altamirano from 30/40 to go up 5-3, via an Altamirano backhand error, and just as Altamirano’s shot sailed into the alley he launched his racquet and was subsequently given a game penalty to give Torpegaard a 6-3 set. In the second set Altamirano would hold on the no-ad point in his 0-0, 1-1, 3-3, and 4-4 service games while Torpegaard held each time without facing a break point. In the second set tiebreak Torpegaard went up 2-0 and led 4-2 at the changeover and he’d eventually close it out 7-3 after an Altamirano forehand sailed long.  

Virginia’s lead was now 2-1 but all the remaining matches were still too close to call. Both the matches at No. 2 and No. 4 were on serve early in the third set while Ohio State’s JJ Wolf had just earned a split at No. 3 and Martin Joyce was serving up 2-0 in the third at No. 5. 

The match at No. 2 between Virginia senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Ohio State junior Hugo Di Feo started off with four consecutive breaks but then Di Feo would hold, break, and hold again to go up 5-2. After a Kwiatkowski hold, Di Feo would serve out the opening set at love to take it 6-3. There were no breaks of serve in the second set and in fact there were only two break opportunities which came when Di Feo served at 2-3 (40/40) and when Kwiatkowski served at 5-5 (40/40). In the tiebreak, Kwiatkowski went up 2-0 and led 4-2 at the changeover but Di Feo won both points on Kwiatkowski’s serve to make it 5-4. Di Feo missed a forehand down the line to make it 6-4 and then Kwiatkowski closed it out on the next point when Di Feo was a step late to the net and his backhand volley came up just short from clearing the net. In the third set Di Feo fought off two break points to hold for 2-1 but that’d be the last game he’d win. Kwiatkowski reeled off five straight games, including a no-ad break at 2-2 and a 15/40 break at 4-2, to close out the match with an ace from 40/15 to win it 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2. 

Virginia’s lead was 3-1 but Ohio State was ahead in each of the three remaining matches with JJ Wolf up a break at 2-1 in the third at No. 3, Herkko Pollanen receiving up 5-4 in the third at No. 4, and Martin Joyce serving up 4-2 in the third at No. 5.

The match at No. 3 between Ohio State first-semester freshman JJ Wolf and Virginia freshman Carl Soderlund was a good back and forth battle. Soderlund jumped out to 2-0 first set lead but Wolf broke back and held for 2-2. Wolf was serving at 3-4 (40/15) when Soderlund came back to break on the no-ad point and then Soderlund closed out the first set by holding on the no-ad point when a Wolf forehand sailed just long. Wolf jumped out a 5-0 lead in the second set but Soderlund reeled off five straight games to even it at 5-5. It would go to a tiebreak and after leading 4-2 at the changeover Wolf would close it out 7-3. In the third set Wolf broke on the no-ad point for 2-1 and then he broke again at love for 4-1. Wolf held at love for 5-1 but then Soderlund kept Ohio State from gaining any momentum by holding for 2-5 and breaking for 3-5. 

Joyce trailed Virginia junior Alexander Ritschard for most of the match, and in fact Ritschard was just five points away from locking up a straight set win with Joyce serving at 3-6, 2-4 (15/40), but Joyce managed to hold on the no-ad point, break on the no-ad point, and then he held at love for 5-4. Ritschard fought off a set point and held on the no-ad point for 5-5 but Joyce quickly held for 6-5. Joyce then broke Ritschard on the no-ad point to take the second set 7-5. On that no-ad point, Joyce was no more than five feet from the service line when he returned Ritschard’s second serve and he would hit a forehand in the corner and come to the net and slam home an overhead winner. Joyce broke Ritschard to go up 2-0 in the third and he’d have another break opportunity when Ritschard served at 1-4 (40-all) but Ritschard came forward and Joyce missed a forehand pass to make it 2-4. Ritschard broke from 15/40 to put it back on serve at 3-4 and then he’d hold for 4-4. 

Now that Ritschard had stemmed the tide some Virginia was able to breathe a little easier however JC Aragone was facing a match point on the no-ad point on his 4-5 service game. There had been numerous breaks throughout the match between Aragone and Herkko Pollanen and in fact Pollanen broke Aragone to go up 4-2 in the third but Aragone broke back from 30/40, via a double fault, to put it back on serve. After each held fairly comfortably that brought us to Aragone’s 4-5 no-ad point. Aragone missed his first serve but he hit a solid second serve with Pollanen’s return hitting right off the service line and then Aragone hit a forehand that clipped the net cord enough to slow down it down and change the angle with Pollanen unable to reach it. Pollanen held from 40/30 for 6-5 and then Aragone held at love to send it to a tiebreak. The server won the first four points until Aragone hit a crosscourt forehand return winner to go up 3-2 but then he’d net a forehand on the next point to even it at 3-all. Aragone would go up 4-3 after hitting a great serve down the T that he followed up with a forehand winner but Pollanen came back with a service winner for 4-all. Aragone went up 5-4 with a nice backhand volley winner and then a service winner would make it 6-4. It looked like Pollanen would get it back on serve when he nailed a forehand in the corner but Aragone hitting a running one-handed backhand winner up the line to close it out. 



#1 Virginia 4, #3 Ohio State 1
Feb 20, 2017 at Charlottesville, VA (The Boar’s Head Sports Club)
Singles competition
1. #2 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU 15.21) def. Collin Altamirano (UVA 14.33) 6-3, 7-6(3)
2. #28 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (UVA 14.87) def. #8 Hugo Di Feo (OSU 14.02) 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2
3. JJ Wolf (OSU 14.43) vs. Carl Soderlund (UVA 14.61) 3-6, 7-6(3), 5-3*
4. #64 JC Aragone (UVA 14.43) def. #47 Herkko Pollanen (OSU 13.96) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4)
5. #77 Martin Joyce (OSU 13.63) vs. Alex Ritschard (UVA 14.53) 3-6, 7-5, 6-5* (15/30)
6. Henrik Wiersholm (UVA 14.32) def. Kyle Seelig (OSU 13.94) 7-6(2), 6-2
Doubles competition

1. #55 Luca Corinteli/Carl Soderlund (UVA) def. #38 Mikael Torpegaard/Herkko Pollanen (OSU) 6-0
2. #25 Martin Joyce/Hugo Di Feo (OSU) vs. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alex Ritschard (UVA) *6-5
3. Collin Altamirano/JC Aragone (UVA) def. Matt Mendez/Hunter Tubert (OSU) 7-5

Match Notes:

Virginia 9-0; National ranking #1
Ohio State 12-1; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (6,1,2,4)
ITA National Team Indoors Finals
Post-Match Quotes from UVA’s recap
“It is enjoyable to see a bunch of young men who work really hard come together as a team to celebrate a great victory,” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. “We have had a lot of success in the National Team Indoor Championship over the years, but it has been a little bit of a dry spell since 2013. We had a tough loss last year in the final against North Carolina where they ended our 140-match winning streak against ACC teams, so it was nice to be back in the final and come through today against a really good Ohio State team. We have a lot of respect for the teams here. This was not an easy tournament to get through. I don’t think the scores were a reflection of how many challenges we had.”

“I am a huge fan of indoor tennis, so for me this has always been a goal,” Aragone said. “You don’t think about the previous years when you come in here. You can’t put that much pressure on yourself. We played our cards today and luckily that ball [his last shot] went in. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow that wouldn’t have gone in. As I clinched it, I did think ‘thank God, this is over’ a little bit. I was so tired, I did not want to keep playing. I was just trying to get out of there and save my team, because you never know. [Ritschard] was in a tight match situation. So I was just trying to focus, look ahead and get the point.”



Wilson Camp 728X90  


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