Tagged with: , ,

For the first time in three years both the women’s and men’s finals were played outdoors and for all those in attendance they were treated to a pair of good matches that culminated with Stanford winning its 19th NCAA Women’s National Championship while Wake Forest won its first-ever NCAA Men’s National Championship.

For the third time in the last four matches, Stanford spotted its opponent the opening point after Vanderbilt took the doubles point for the 24th time in 31 matches with wins at No. 1 and No. 2. Vandy’s No. 1 team of Astra Sharma and Fernanda Contreras picked up a no-ad break to go ahead 2-1 and then they’d add one more break to close out a 6-3 win over the ITA No. 3 ranked team of Emily Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon.

Stanford’s No. 3 team of Melissa Lord and Janice Shin broke Vandy’s Christina Rosca and Amanda Meyer to start the match and several games later they’d break again to go ahead 5-2. Rosca and Meyer broke back and held for 4-5 but Stanford served it out to win 6-4. 

Seconds later Vanderbilt’s No. 2 team of Emma Kurtz and Emily Smith would close out their match to give VU the doubles point. The match started off with back-to-back breaks and then Caroline Lampl and Kimberly Yee held on the deciding point for 2-1. Lampl and Yee would then get a no-ad break to go up 3-1 but Kurtz and Smith came storming back and took the next four games to go in front 5-3. Lampl and Yee held for 4-5 but Kurtz and Smith served it out from 40/30 to win 6-4. 

Stanford put the doubles point in its rear-view mirror and went to work in singles and would claim five opening sets.

Stanford sophomore Emma Higuchi was the first off the court as she extended her winning streak to 17 with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Summer Dvorak at No. 6. Higuchi actually got off to a slow start and was down 3-1 but she reeled off six games in a row to take the first set 6-3 and go up a break to start the second set. Dvorak broke back on the deciding point for 1-1 but Higuchi followed that up with a no-ad break and a no-ad hold to go up 3-1. Higuchi broke again for 4-1, held for 5-1, and then after Dvorak held serve Higuchi would serve it out to even the match at 1-1. 

Stanford junior Caroline Lampl put the Cardinal ahead 2-1 after winning her 5th straight match with a win at No. 3 singles over Christina Rosca. Lampl started off the match by winning the first three games but Rosca won back-to-back deciding points to put it back on serve at 3-2. Lampl would break to go up 5-3 but Rosca broke back at love to make it 5-4. Lampl returned the favor and broke from 30/40 to close out the set 6-4. The second set stayed on serve until Lampl broke Rosca on the deciding point for 4-2 and then she held for 5-2. Lampl would close out the match with a break from 15/40 to win 6-4, 6-2

Vanderbilt senior Astra Sharma was the only Commodore to take an opening set and she would manage to close it out in straight sets with a win over Michaela Gordon at No. 1. Sharma served for the first set up 5-4 (40/15) but Gordon broke and held for 6-5. After Sharma held to force a tiebreak, she go in front 4-2 at the changeover and win it 7-3. Sharma went up an early break in the second and would extend the lead to 5-2. Gordon fought off a pair of match points to hold for 3-5 and then when Sharma was serving at 30/30 she was forced to take a medical timeout for what appeared to be cramps. After a quick break she came out with some pop in her serve, after serving underhanded in her previous four points, and was able to close it out with a serve and volley winner to take it 7-6, 6-3. The win by Sharma was the 13th in her last 14 matches and it tied the overall match at 2-2.

The match didn’t stay tied for long because Stanford freshman Janice Shin would put the Cardinal back in front with a win over Emma Kurtz at No. 5. Shin jumped out to a 4-1* lead in the opening set and would go on to hold two more times to take it 6-3. Shin broke on the deciding point to go in front 1-0 in the second but Kurtz broke back from 30/40 to make it 1-1. Shin made it three breaks in a row for 2-1 and then he held for 3-1. After Kurtz held for 2-3, Shin came back from 15/40 down to hold for 4-2. Shin broke on the deciding point for 5-2 and then after trailing 15/40 she got it back to the deciding point only to have Kurtz get a net cord winner to break for 3-5. Shin would break back from 30/40 to close out her 11th consecutive win 6-3, 6-3. 

Stanford was just a point away from raising the hardware but both of the other matches were into a third set after Vanderbilt gained splits by taking the second set.  

Vanderbilt freshman Amanda Meyer knotted the match at 3-3 after she pulled away from Emily Arbuthnott in the final set at No. 4. Arbuthnott broke Meyer at love to take the opening set 6-4 but Meyer came back in the second set and broke for 2-1. Meyer made the break lead hold up and would fight off a pair of break points to serve out the set 6-4. The third set stayed on serve through the first four games until Meyer broke on the deciding point for 3-2 and she’d go on to take the next three as well to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The final match left on court was at No. 2 between Stanford junior Melissa Lord, who missed the first half of the season with an injury, and Vandy junior Fernanda Contreras. Lord came back from a break down at *3-2 to take the opening set 6-4 with Contreras taking the second set 6-2. Lord broke for 3-1 in the third but Contreras broke back on the deciding point for 3-2 and then held for 3-3. Lord held on the deciding point for 4-3 and then she broke on the deciding point for 5-3 after Contreras had led the game 40/15. Lord was serving for the championship but she quickly fell behind 15/40. Lord hit back-to-back service winners to bring up the deciding point, which was also match point and break point, but Contreras would get the break after following up an aggressive forehand in the corner with another forehand for a winner. Contreras held from 40/30 to even it at 5-5 and then after Lord went up 40/0 she’d had to fight off a break point on the deciding point to hold for 6-5. Contreras won the first point to go up 15/0 and then it looked like she went up 30/0 but the chair overruled her out call on a shot on the far side (FWIW – I thought it was out as well). Contreras seemed a little rattled and after back-to-back unforced errors she was facing three match points at 15/40. Contreras fought off the first but on the 30/40 point her forehand hit the tape and kicked back and that was all.  


#15 Stanford 4, #1 Vanderbilt 3
Head Coaches: Geoff Macdonald (VANDERBILT) and Lele Forood (STANFORD)
Doubles competition
1. #11 Astra Sharma/Fernanda Contreras (VU) def. #3 Emily Arbuthnott/Michaela Gordon (Stanford) 6-3
2. #69 Emma Kurtz/Emily Smith (VU) def. def. #84 Caroline Lampl/Kimberly Yee (Stanford) 6-4
3. Melissa Lord/Janice Shin (STANFORD) def. Christina Rosca/Amanda Meyer (VU) 6-4
Singles competition
1. #11 Astra Sharma (VANDY) d. #15 Michaela Gordon (STAN) 7-6 (3), 6-3
2. #40 Melissa Lord (STAN) d. #10 Fernanda Contreras (VANDY) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
3. #93 Caroline Lampl (STAN) d. #44 Christina Rosca (VANDY) 6-4, 6-2
4. Amanda Meyer (VANDY) d. #43 Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
5. #96 Janice Shin (STAN) d. Emma Kurtz (VANDY) 6-3, 6-3
6. #102 Emma Higuchi (STAN) d. Summer Dvorak (VANDY) 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6, 3, 1, 5, 4, 2
Match Notes
Stanford 24-3; National ranking #15
Vanderbilt 28-3; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles: (1,3,2) Singles (6,3,1,5,4,2)



Photo By Bill Kallenberg (CapturedInAction) 


In the second championship match of the day, Wake Forest rode the momentum from the doubles to hold off Ohio State 4-2. 

Wake won the doubles point for the 26th time in 33 matches with close wins at both No. 1 and No. 2. Wake’s No. 2 team of Petros Chrysochos and Bar Botzer won their 20th dual-match of the season with a win over John McNally and Mikael Torpegaard. The match stayed on serve through the first 10 games until Chrysochos and Botzer broke McNally on the deciding point after Botzer hit a volley winner off Torpegaard. Chrysochos would serve it out at love to give Wake a 7-5 win. 

It looked like Wake’s Christian Seraphim and Ian Dempster were going to get a win at No. 3 after breaking for 4-3 and holding for 5-3 but Ohio State’s Matt Mendez and Hunter Tubert held, broke, and held to go up 6-5. 

Over at No. 1, Ohio State’s Martin Joyce and JJ Wolf went up an early break at 2-1 however Wake’s Borna Gojo and Skander Mansouri would break back on the deciding point for 2-2. It stayed on serve until Wolf was serving at 5-6. The Buckeye sophomore fell behind 30/40, and managed to fight off one of the break points with a second serve service winner, but on the deciding point his forehand would hit the net and go long to give Wake the 7-5 win. 


Ohio State had overcome of the loss of the doubles point against Mississippi State but this was going to be a tougher mountain to climb with a large partisan crowd cheering on their opponents. 

Ohio State coach Ty Tucker elected to make a change in his lineup and inserted freshman Tim Seibert in at No. 4 singles which moved Kyle Seelig down to No. 5 and Martin Joyce down to No. 6. Seibert was listed at No. 4 in Ohio State’s master lineup which was submitted and approved before the first round began but Seibert hadn’t played since the second round against Kentucky for unknown reasons (either injury or coaches decision). From a strategy standpoint I thought it was the right move to make because it gave Ohio State its best chance to win two of the bottom three which it was going to need after dropping the doubles point for only the sixth time on the season. 

Each team would claim three opening sets in singles with only two of the sets a competitive score. 

Ohio State sophomore Kyle Seelig tied the match at 1-1 after winning his 11th straight match with a quick win over Alan Gadjiev at No. 5. Seelig jumped out to a 2-0 lead to start the match before Gadjiev held and broke to even it at 2-2. Seelig broke back on the deciding point for 3-2 and went on to take the set 6-2. In the second set Seelig broke for 2-1 and then again for 4-1 and would close it out 6-2, 6-2. 

Wake Forest junior Petros Chrysochos put the Deacs back in front 2-1 after winning his 24th consecutive match, 23 of which were in straight sets, with a win over JJ Wolf at No. 2. Chrysochos took the opening set 6-1 and then broke Wolf to start the second set. Wolf broke back for 1-1 but Chrysochos broke, held, and broke again to go up 4-1 and would end up taking it 6-1, 6-3. 

Ohio State junior Martin Joyce tied the match at 2-2 with a straight set win over Christian Seraphim at No. 6. Joyce took the opening set 6-1 and after going up 2-0 in the second he’d never look back in his 6-1, 6-3 win. Joyce finished the season by winning 18 of his last 20 matches. 

Seconds later, Wake Forest senior Skander Mansouri would make it 3-2 after snapping John McNally’s 9-match winning streak with a straight set win at No. 3. Mansouri jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first set en route to taking it 6-2 and in the second set he’d do the same thing and would close it out 6-2, 6-2. 

Wake was just a point away from wrapping it up but Ohio State senior Mikael Torpegaard had the lead at No. 1 and it looked like the Buckeyes were also going to get a split at No. 4 with freshman Tim Seibert leading Wake freshman Bar Botzer 5-2. 

Botzer jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set but Seibert had came back to make it 5-4. Seibert had a break point on the deciding point to even it up but Botzer hit a service winner to take the set 6-4. After Seibert went in front 5-2 in the second, Botzer held for 3-5 and then broke from 30/40 for 4-5. Botzer held from 40/30 for 5-5 and then after Seibert fell behind 15/40 he got it back to 40/40. On the deciding point, Seibert hit a great forehand to pull Botzer off the court but when he came in for the volley he tried to stick it too much and pushed it wide to give Botzer the break. Botzer would serve it out from 40/15 to give Wake its first-ever NCAA National Championship. 

#1 Wake Forest 4, #3 Ohio State 2
May 22, 2018 at Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest Tennis Complex)
Singles competition
1. #6 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU) led #7 Borna Gojo (WF) 6-4, 6-6 (3-3) unf.
2. #4 Petros Chrysochos (WF) def. #41 JJ Wolf (OSU) 6-1, 6-3
3. #38 Skander Mansouri (WF) def. #92 John McNally (OSU) 6-2, 6-2
4. Bar Botzer (WF) def. Tim Seibert (OSU) 6-4, 7-5
5. #96 Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Alan Gadjiev (WF) 6-2, 6-2
6. #112 Martin Joyce (OSU) def. Christian Seraphim (WF) 6-1, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #21 Borna Gojo/Skander Mansouri (WF) def. Martin Joyce/JJ Wolf (OSU) 7-5
2. #38 Petros Chrysochos/Bar Botzer (WF) def. #61 John McNally/Mikael Torpegaard (OSU) 7-5
3. Christian Seraphim/Ian Dempster (WF) vs. Matt Mendez/Hunter Tubert (OSU) *5-6, unf
Match Notes
Wake Forest 31-2; National ranking #1
Ohio State 34-3; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (5,2,6,3,4)