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The opening day of the Men’s National Team Indoor Championships in Chicago was a day of upsets and near-upsets as No. 2 Mississippi State and No. 4 Florida went down while No. 3 Wake Forest and No. 5 Texas survived and held on. The top seed Ohio State had no issues, North Carolina blanked a less than 100% Baylor, UCLA overcame the loss of one of its top players to get past Notre Dame, and Virginia surged past Stanford 4-2. 

The day started off with the biggest upset by seeding as No. 15 TCU defeated No. 2 Mississippi State 4-1. The Horned Frogs overcame the loss of the doubles point after dropping the decider at No. 1 in a tiebreak 7-5 but they rebounded in singles and took all six opening sets. Unlike the match against Florida last Sunday, this time TCU was able to close out its courts in straight sets with Reese Stalder, Bertus Kruger, Luc Fomba, and Sander Jong winning at No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6.  

Head Coach David Roditi
“What a great effort and performance by our whole team. It definitely took every member of our squad to get that win. Mississippi State is so gritty and so competitive and it takes a lot of factors to go your way to beat them. Winning six first sets after losing a tough doubles point showed a lot of maturity and resilience from our guys. I know this was a big match for them so I’m happy for them. They earned it. We were in a similar place against Florida a week ago and based on today, we learned from it and we were able to get that fourth team point that can be so hard to get.

“There is still plenty of room to improve which is nice. Hopefully we can make some small adjustments and continue to play better as the tournament continues. This tournament is so competitive and I’m proud of our guys for competing like they did today.”

“TCU played great,” head coach Matt Roberts said. “We got outplayed in singles today. We were exposed with our service games indoors, and TCU came after us. They served big and transitioned well. We fought well, it’s what we do bestwe battle and we fight. We feel good as a team. We’re a close-knit group and we just have to get cleaner indoors. We have to play bigger and hold serve.” 

“I’m really happy with our doubles,” Roberts said. “I loved how we fought in doubles today. We were down 5-0 on court 2 and cut it to 5-3. Nuno and Strahinja were clutch in closing out the breaker.”

“We’ll get better,” Roberts said. “We need matches indoors, we need these situations and we need to be pushed. Tomorrow’s a great day for us to get better and learn from it.”

#15 TCU 4, #3 Mississippi State 1
Feb 15, 2019 at Chicago, Ill. (Midtown Athletic Club)
Singles Competition
1. #5 Nuno Borges (MS) vs. #8 Alex Rybakov (TCU) 6-7, 6-6, unfinished
2. #66 Giovanni Oradini (MS) vs. #75 Alastair Gray (TCU) 2-6, 6-3, 2-3, unfinished
3. Reese Stalder (TCU) def. Strahinja Rakic (MS) 6-1, 6-4
4. #83 Bertus Kruger (TCU) def. #64 Niclas Braun (MS) 7-5, 6-3
5. Luc Fomba (TCU) def. #98 Trevor Foshey (MS) 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
6. Sander Jong (TCU) def. Florian Broska (MS) 6-1, 6-4
Doubles Competition
1. #34 Nuno Borges/Strahinja Rakic (MS) def. Alex Rybakov/Alastair Gray (TCU) 7-6 (7-5)
2. #48 Reese Stalder/Bertus Kruger (TCU) def. #6 Niclas Braun/Giovanni Oradini (MS) 6-3
3. Trevor Foshey/Gregor Ramskogler (MS) def. Luc Fomba/Sander Jong (TCU) 6-2
Match Notes:
TCU 5-2; National ranking #15
Mississippi State 6-1; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (3,6,4,5)


The night session at the Midtown Athletic Club brought us two action-packed matches that were decided by third set tiebreaks. In the second biggest upset of the day, by seeding, it was the No. 13 seed USC knocking off No. 4 Florida 4-3. The Trojans, who came into the match on a three-match losing streak, struck first by taking the doubles point with a 6-1 win at No. 1 and a 6-4 win at No. 3 and then they added four opening sets in singles.

USC senior Laurens Verboven put the Trojans ahead 2-0 by winning the only match to finish in straight sets with a 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 3. Florida senior Alfredo Perez, who played at No. 1 for most of last year, put the Gators on the board with a 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 win at No. 5 and senior McClain Kessler evened the match at 2-2 with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 6. 

Florida junior Johannes Ingildsen gave the Gators its first lead of the night with a come from behind 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 win at No. 4 but USC sophomore Daniel Cukierman answered with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 win at No. 2. 

USC junior Brandon Holt opened up a 5-2 lead in the third set against Oliver Crawford in the deciding match at No. 1 however Crawford wouldn’t go down quietly. The Gator sophomore held, broke, and held to even it at 5-5 and after an exchange of holds the match went to a tiebreak. Holt rebounded in the tiebreak and pulled it out 7-3 to put USC in the quarterfinals. 

“We lost a tough one tonight. USC came into this match very hungry and they played hard. We put ourselves in positions to win tonight, but we just didn’t sustain our level. We’ll keep learning from these great experiences and we’ll continue to improve. The real test comes tomorrow when we face Illinois who destroyed us one year ago in Seattle. We’ll rest up tonight and get ready to battle again!” Head Coach Bryan Shelton

#5 USC 4, #4 Florida 3
2/15/19 at Chicago, Illinois (Midtown Athletic Center)
Singles Competition
1. #56 Brandon Holt (USC) def. #20 Oliver Crawford (UF) 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3)
2. #4 Daniel Cukierman (USC) def. #67 Sam Riffice (UF) 7-5, 2-6, 6-4
3. #31 Laurens Verboven (USC) def. #27 Andres Andrade (UF) 6-4, 6-3
4. #46 Johannes Ingildsen (UF) def. Riley Smith (USC) 3-6, 7-5, 7-5
5. Alfredo Perez (UF) def. Mor Bulis (USC) 6-4, 0-6, 7-5
6. McClain Kessler (UF) def. Jake Sands (USC) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Doubles Competition
1. Brandon Holt/Riley Smith (USC) def. McClain Kessler/Duarte Vale (UF) 6-1
2. Johannes Ingildsen/Alfredo Perez (UF) def. Laurens Verboven/Jack Jaede (USC) 6-4
3. #21 Daniel Cukierman/Tanner Smith (USC) def. #35 Oliver Crawford/Sam Riffice (UF) 6-4
Match Notes:
University of Florida 5-1; National ranking #4
USC 6-3; National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (3,5,6,4,2,1) 


The other late match in Chicago saw No. 5 Texas hold off a late charge by the tournament host Illinois Fighting Illini. The Longhorns jumped out to a 3-0 lead after taking the doubles point and picking up straight set wins from Yuya Ito and Colin Markes at No. 2 and No. 5 but finding that fourth point proved to be easier said than done. 

Aleks Kovacevic started the Illinois comeback with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win at No. 1 and freshman Keenan Mayo cut the deficit to 3-2 after a 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5) win at No. 4. Fellow freshman Siphosothando Montsi tied it up at 3-3 with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(4) win at No. 6 which meant the match would be decided at No. 3 between Texas senior Leo Telles and Illinois junior Zeke Clark. 

Clark took the opening set 6-4 after trailing 0-3 but Telles rallied from 3-5 down to take the second set 7-5. Clark also would lead 5-3 in the third set but Telles would come back to force a tiebreak. Clark led 3-2 in the tiebreak but Telles took the next four points to go in front 6-3. Clark trimmed it to 6-5 but Telles close it out on the next point to win it 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(5).


“Congrats to Texas, they played a great match,” said head coach Brad Dancer. “Proud of our guys for the toughness they showed. They came back in some matches where we had things going against us.”

“It is difficult to come out on the losing end of that, but there is still a ton of tournament left and we need to respond tomorrow, “noted Dancer. “Florida will be another huge challenge.”

#6 Texas 4, #14 Illinois 3
Feb 15, 2019 at Chicago, Ill. (Midtown Athletic Club)
Singles Competition
1. #24 Aleks Kovacevic (UI) def. #6 Christian Sigsgaard (UT) 6-2, 5-7, 6-2
2. #14 Yuya Ito (UT) def. #23 Alex Brown (UI) 6-1, 6-4
3. Leonardo Telles (UT) def. #30 Zeke Clark (UI) 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5)
4. #125 Keenan Mayo (UI) def. Harrison Scott (UT) 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5)
5. Colin Markes (UT) def. #116 Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) 6-2, 7-5
6. Siphosothando Montsi (UI) def. Chih Chi Huang (UT) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4)
Doubles Competition
1. #13 Harrison Scott/Christian Sigsgaard (UT) def. Alex Brown/Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) 6-3
2. Leonardo Telles/Colin Markes (UT) def. Keenan Mayo/Aleks Kovacevic (UI) 6-4
3. Vuk Budic/Gui Gomes (UI) def. Yuya Ito/Chih Chi Huang (UT) 6-3
Match Notes:
Texas 10-0; National ranking #6
Illinois 4-2; National ranking #14
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,5,1,4,6,3)


The defending National Team Indoor Champions Wake Forest got all they wanted and more from the No. 14 seed Columbia. The Demon Deacons cruised through the doubles point but Columbia roared back in singles with four first sets. (Note: Wake’s Borna Gojo (1) and CU’s Victor Pham (1) both sat out in singles). Wake’s Petros Chrysochos and Bar Botzer won in straight sets at No. 1 and No. 2 to make it 3-0 but Columbia was just a game or two away from winning on each of the other four courts. 

Columbia sophomore Austen Huang put the Lions on the board with a 6-4, 7-6(3) win at No. 5 but neither Jackie Tang or Timothy Wang would be able to convert multiple match points and would see their matches go the distance. Tang led Wake’s Melios Efstathiou 6-3, 5-1 at No. 3 but the Deac freshman came back to claim the set 7-6(1) while fighting off four match points while serving at 4-5, 0/40. Wang served for the match at No. 4 against Wake’s Rrezart Cungu and had three match points at 40/15 but the Wake sophomore fought them all off to break and then took the second set tiebreak 7-1. 

The match at No. 6 also went the distance and even though Columbia sophomore Rian Pandole got a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win by that time the Lions were in huge holes on the two remaining courts. 

Rrezart Cungu would put Wake over the top by pulling away in the final set to clinch with a 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 win with Melios Efstathiou leading 4-2 in the other match that would go unfinished. 

“I thought it was a good match,” said 37th-year head coach Bid Goswami following the contest. “Wake Forest is a good team. They’re ranked third for a reason, but we had a lot of chances. Against a good a team, we have to utilize those chances. If you let them hang around, they become dangerous and that’s what happened, but I thought the boys played well against a very good team.”

#1 Wake Forest 4, #12 Columbia 2
Feb 15, 2019 at Chicago, Ill. (Midtown Athletic Club)
Singles Competition
1. #1 Petros Chrysochos (WF) def. #11 Jack Lin (CU) 6-1, 6-3
2. #21 Bar Botzer (WF) def. #32 Adam Ambrozy (CU) 7-5, 6-2
3. #49 Melios Efstathiou (WF) led #44 Jackie Tang (CU) 3-6, 7-6(1), 4-2, unfinished
4. #88 Rrezart Cungu (WF) def. Timothy Wang (CU) 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-2
5. Austen Huang (CU) def. Yuval Solomon (WF) 6-4, 7-6(3)
6. Rian Pandole (CU) def. Julian Zlobinsky (WF) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
Doubles Competition 
1. Bar Botzer/Petros Chrysochos (WF) led Jack Lin/Jackie Tang (CU) 4-2
2. #54 Alan Gadjiev/Julian Zlobinsky (WF) def. Adam Ambrozy/William Matheson (CU) 6-3
3. Melios Efstathiou/Siddhant Banthia (WF) def. Victor Pham/Rian Pandole (CU) 6-3
Match Notes
Columbia 3-1; National ranking #12
Wake Forest 10-1; National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1,2,5,6,4)


Virginia improved to 5-0 all-time against Stanford after winning the 8 vs 9 match 4-2. The Wahoos overcame the loss of the doubles point by charging back in singles with straight set wins from Carl Soderlund, Brandon Nakashima, Ryan Goetz, and Aswin Lizen while the Cardinal picked up its other point courtesy of Sameer Kumar who won in straight set at No. 3. Soderlund trailed 3-5 in the second set before winning the next four games, including a break of Axel Geller at 4-5 (40/40), to clinch with a 6-4, 7-5 win. 

No. 13 Virginia 4, No. 10 Stanford 2
Feb 15, 2019 at Chicago, Ill. (Midtown Athletic Club)
1) Axel Geller/Alexandre Rotsaert (STAN) d. Carl Soderlund/William Woodall (UVA) 6-1
2) Sameer Kumar/Timothy Sah (STAN) d. Henrik Wiersholm/Brandon Nakashima 6-4
3) Jack Barber/William Genesen (STAN) led Gianni Ross/Ryan Goetz (UVA) 5-4, unfinished
Order of Finish: 1,2
1) No. 119 Carl Soderlund (UVA) d. No. 10 Axel Geller (STAN) 6-4, 7-5
2) No. 61 Alexandre Rotsaert (STAN) vs. Henrik Wiersholm (UVA) 6-4, 4-6, 1-0, unfinished
3) Brandon Nakashima (UVA) d. No. 33 William Genesen (STAN) 6-1, 6-2
4) No. 43 Sameer Kumar (STAN) d. No. 68 Gianni Ross (UVA) 6-2, 6-4
5) No. 72 Ryan Goetz (UVA) d. Michael Genender (STAN) 6-4, 6-0
6) Aswin Lizen (UVA) d. Sangeet Sridhar (STAN) 6-1, 6-4
Order of Finish: 3,6,5,4,1


Top seed Ohio State moved into the quarterfinals with a straight forward 4-0 win over No. 16 seed Tulane. The Buckeyes won the doubles point and then added straight set wins from JJ Wolf, Alex Kobelt, and Hunter Tubert at No. 1, No. 5, and No. 6 with Kobelt getting the clincher. 

#1 Ohio State 4, #19 Tulane 0
Feb 15, 2019 at Chicago, Ill. (Midtown Athletic Club)
Singles competition
1. #2 JJ Wolf (OSU) def. #42 Luis Erlenbusch (TUL) 6-2, 6-1
2. #62 John McNally (OSU) vs. #63 Ewan Moore (TUL) 6-2, 5-6, unfinished
3. #12 Kyle Seelig (OSU) vs. Hamish Stewart (TUL) 5-7, 2-4, unfinished
4. Martin Joyce (OSU) vs. Dane Esses (TUL) 6-2, 5-4, unfinished
5. #86 Alex Kobelt (OSU) def. #76 Tyler Schick (TUL) 7-5, 6-4
6. Hunter Tubert (OSU) def. Tim Ruetzel (TUL) 6-3, 6-1
Doubles competition
1. JJ Wolf/Martin Joyce (OSU) def. Ewan Moore/Akos Kotorman (TUL) 6-4
2. Alex Kobelt/James Trotter (OSU) vs. Tyler Schick/Luis Erlenbusch (TUL) 6-5, unfinished
3. Hunter Tubert/John McNally (OSU) def. Hamish Stewart/Tim Ruetzel (TUL) 6-3
Match Notes:
Tulane 4-4; National ranking #19
Ohio State 10-0; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,6,5)


UCLA won a close double point against No. 11 Notre Dame and then picked up three singles wins despite playing without Keegan Smith who rolled his ankle during doubles (per Cracked Racquets). UCLA freshman Patrick Zahraj won his first-dual match and the 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 3 turned out to be the match clincher. 


North Carolina blanked No. 10 seed Baylor 4-0 in a match at saw the Bears play without its top two players, Roy Smith and Juan Benitez. UNC won a close doubles point that was decided by a tiebreak at No. 2 and then the Heels added straight set wins from Brian Cernoch, Bo Boyden, and Mac Kiger at No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6.


Saturday Schedule (Times ET)

#7 North Carolina vs. #15 TCU (10 am)
#3 Wake Forest vs. #6 UCLA (1 pm)
#1 Ohio State vs. #8 Virginia (4:30 pm)
#5 Texas vs. #13 USC (7:30 pm)

#2 Mississippi State vs. #10 Baylor (10 am)
#14 Columbia vs. #11 Notre Dame (1 pm)
#9 Stanford vs. #16 Tulane (4:30 pm)
#4 Florida vs. #12 Illinois (7:30 pm) 


***All quotes are from the respective school’s recaps