Notre Dame, ranked No. 11, went into Wednesday’s night home clash against No. 14 Illinois with an undefeated record and seeking a fourth win over a top 15 opponent but despite a great start in singles they’d be unable to hang on as Illinois came storming back from a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3. Illinois, which was playing just its second match of the season after getting an automatic berth into the National Indoors due to being the host, jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after claiming doubles wins at No. 1 and No. 2. Notre Dame came back in singles and won all six opening sets and would finish three out in straight sets with Alex Lebedev, Tristan McCormick, and Guillermo Cabrera winning at No. 1, No. 4, and No. 6.
Illinois managed to get splits on the other three courts and one by one they’d all fall the way of the Illini. Zeke Clark cut the deficit to 3-2 with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 3 and Caleb Chakravarthi tied it at 3-3 with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 5. The deciding match at No. 2 would be a back and forth affair with Illinois junior Aleks Kovacevic coming out on top over Notre Dame sophomore Richard Ciamarra 6-7, 6-2, 6-4. Ciamarra went up a break at 4-3 in the third but Kovacevic broke back, held, and broke again to close it out.
The CLOSER or the CLINCHER?? ?
Illinois M Tennis (@IlliniMTennis) February 7, 2019
“Incredibly proud of our guys,” said head coach Brad Dancer. They lost six first sets and just got gritty and dug down. “This crew has to put a stamp on what their identity is and evidently, it has some grit in it. I love this type of match in that I know we can play better, but we showed toughness.”
“Marcos (Asse) as always did a great job with Kova down the stretch, but this one is really about the guys that fought back for the win,” noted Dancer.
“A huge thank you to the greatest and nuttiest student section in the country,” said Dancer. “The Net Nuts are THE BEST!”
brad dancer (@dancerbrad) February 7, 2019
Next up for Illinois will be weekend matches at home against Kentucky and No. 8 North Carolina while Notre Dame welcomes in Boston College and Ball State this Saturday
#14 Illinois 4, #11 Notre Dame 3
Feb 06, 2019 at Notre Dame, Ind. (Eck Tennis Pavilion)
1. #18 Alex Lebedev (ND) def. #23 Alex Brown (UI) 6-3, 7-5
2. #24 Aleks Kovacevic (UI) def. #74 Richard Ciamarra (ND) 6-7, 6-2, 6-4
3. #30 Zeke Clark (UI) def. #123 Axel Nefve (ND) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
4. Tristan McCormick (ND) def. #125 Keenan Mayo (UI) 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)
5. #116 Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) def. #60 William Howells (ND) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
6. Guillermo Cabrera (ND) def. Noe Khlif (UI) 6-2, 6-1
1. Alex Brown/Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) def. Richard Ciamarra/Tristan McCormick (ND) 6-3
2. Keenan Mayo/Aleks Kovacevic (UI) def. Alex Lebedev/Axel Nefve (ND) 6-4
3. Grayson Broadus/Matt Gamble (ND) def. Zeke Clark/Vuk Budic (UI) 6-4
Order of Finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,1,4,3,5,2)
Illinois 2-0; National ranking #14
Notre Dame 6-1; National ranking #11
Rice defeated TCU for the first time in six years after scoring a 6-0 win on Wednesday afternoon in Houston. The Owls, who were coming off a loss to LSU, won a tight doubles point which was decided by a tiebreak at No. 1 and then rode the momentum in singles by taking five opening sets. Rice closed out four of them in straight sets while winning a third set supertiebreak at No. 6. The match was No. 4 went unfinished.
Elizabeth Schmidt: “You learn your most from your losses in how you respond to them and I was really pleased the way they came back to practice on Monday and Tuesday with an attitude that we wanted to be better than we were on Sunday in some areas. We talked about using today as an opportunity to work on those things and I thought out team did a really nice job. The conditions were tough, but we were gritty and tough and played solid tennis with a really good attitude and took it to them. If there were little ebbs in our momentum on a court, the rest of the team was able to squash those lulls and get us back on track. It was a total team effort where everyone was picking each other up. The momentum on your court can carry over to the others. Our team did a nice job of staying with the task at hand and staying committed and confident and playing the games they are capable of.”
Rice 6, TCU 0
2/6/2019 at Houston, TX (George R. Brown Tennis Center)
1. #74 Michaela Haet (RICE) def. #90 Ellie Douglas (TCU) 7-5, 4-2, retired
2. Victoria Smirnova (RICE) def. Aleksa Cveticanin (TCU) 6-4, 6-0
3. Anastasia Smirnova (RICE) def. Mercedes Aristegui (TCU) 6-2, 6-3
4. Kate Paulus (TCU) vs. Anna Bowtell (RICE) 6-3, 3-6
5. Linda Huang (RICE) def. Stevie Kennedy (TCU) 6-4, 6-4
6. Priya Niezgoda (RICE) def. Chloe Hule (TCU) 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 1-0 (10-6)
1. Michaela Haet/Linda Huang (RICE) def. Ellie Douglas/Aleksa Cveticanin (TCU) 7-6 (7-5)
2. Kate Paulus/Mercedes Aristegui (TCU) def. #35 Anastasia Smirnova/Priya Niezgoda (RICE) 6-4
3. #51 Victoria Smirnova/Anna Bowtell (RICE) def. Chloe Hule/Stevie Kennedy (TCU) 6-2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,3,1,4,5,6)
The draws for this weekend’s Women’s National Team Indoors in Seattle were released on Wednesday. The top seeded Stanford Cardinal drew LSU while ACC rivals North Carolina and Duke could potentially meet in the semifinals. The ITA released singles and doubles rankings along with men’s team rankings however they did not release the women’s team rankings this week as has been common practice in the past. From looking at the seeds versus last week’s rankings we can tell that North Carolina jumped Vanderbilt, which was to be expected after winning the head-to-head on Saturday, while Duke also moved ahead of Vanderbilt. Texas, which was ranked No. 6, came in as the No. 8 seed after losing to Michigan so Pepperdine and UCLA moved up one spot each to become the No. 6 and No. 7 seeds. The non-seeded teams were placed at random which explains why the lowest ranked team, Washington, wasn’t slotted to play No. 1 Stanford
The matches will be played at two locations with live scoring available at both though streaming video will only be available for the matches at the University of Washington’s Nordstrom Tennis Center. The schedule for Friday is listed below with match times listed in eastern time. I have live scoring/video links on my live scoring page plus Slam.Tennis will also have a running scoreboard as well as updated brackets and schedules.
All teams are guaranteed three matches with consolation matches being played on Saturday and Sunday while the championship match will be held on Monday at 3 p.m eastern.
#6 Pepperdine vs. Syracuse (Seattle Tennis Club 11 am)
#2 North Carolina vs. Oklahoma State (Nordstrom 1 pm)
#7 UCLA vs. South Carolina (STC 1 pm)
#4 Vanderbilt at Washington (Nordstrom 3 pm)
#5 Georgia vs. NC State (STC 3 pm)
#8 Texas vs. Northwestern (STC 5 pm)
Gonzaga senior Sophie Whittle moved up to No. 1 in the women’s singles rankings replacing Georgia’s Katarina Jokic who fell one spot to No. 2. Pepperdine’s Ashley Lahey and Evgeniya Levashova remain at No. 1 in the doubles rankings while Clemson’s Fernanda Navarro and Marie Leduc moved up from No. 3 to No. 2. The women’s singles and doubles rankings are available at this link.
Wake Forest senior Petros Chrysochos remained at the top of the men’s singles rankings with Ohio State junior JJ Wolf moving up to No. 2. UNC Asheville’s Henry Patten and Oli Nolan moved up from No. 2 to No. 1 in the doubles rankings while Baylor’s Jimmy Bendeck and Sven Lah moved up from No. 3 to No. 2. The men’s singles, doubles, and team rankings are available at this link.
In the men’s team rankings, the top five remained unchanged while Texas and North Carolina swapped spots at No. 6 and No. 8 after the Longhorns got the head-to-head win on Saturday. Minnesota was the only team to enter the top 25 after road wins over Alabama and Auburn while Oklahoma State was the only team to fall out after dropping matches against Wake Forest and Ole Miss.
The second Tennis Channel/USTA Top 25 was released on Wednesday with Wake Forest and Ohio State remaining at No. 1 and No. 2 on the men’s side while Stanford and Duke remained at No. 1 and No. 2 on the women’s side. Check out the full release and list at this link.