It’ll be No. 1 vs. No. 3 in the finals of the ITA Men’s National Team Indoor Championships after top seed Ohio State blew past Texas 4-0 while Wake Forest fought its way past North Carolina 4-2. For the third match in a row Wake Forest found itself in a precarious position, after falling behind on several courts, but the defending NCAA and NTI champs found its way through to the finals.
Wake welcomed Borna Gojo back to the doubles lineup and his return helped spark a close win in the deciding court. Wake’s Bar Botzer and Petros Chrysochos were first off the court with a 6-3 win at No 2 but UNC’s Mac Kiger and Simon Soendergaard answered with a tiebreak win at No. 3. The UNC duo trailed 6-4 in the tiebreak but won the final four points to take it 8-6. In the decider at No. 1, Gojo and Alan Gadjiev fought off a pair of break points while serving at 5-5 and then they went on to cruise through the tiebreak winning by a 7-2 score.
Each team would win three opening sets in singles but the first two matches to finish would both go UNC’s way. Tar Heel freshman Brian Cernoch rolled to a 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 4 and senior Bo Boyden came back from 1-4 down in the first to win 7-6, 6-2 at No. 6.
The Tar Heels had the lead at 2-1 plus they had all the momentum on each of the four remaining courts. William Blumberg was up 3-0 in the third on Borna Gojo at No. 1, Ben Sigouin was up 5-2 in the second on Petros Chrysochos at No. 2, Josh Peck was up 6-3, 4-4 on Bar Botzer at No. 3, and Simon Soendergaard was serving for the second set at No. 5. Wake needed to turn three of the four matches back in its favor and slowly over a 10 minute period they’d do just that.
Gojo got his match back on serve after breaking Blumberg on the deciding point but Blumberg broke back from 15/40 to make it 4-2. Gojo returned the favor with a break from 30/40 and then he held from 40/30 to even it at 4-4. After a Blumberg hold, Gojo fought off not one but two match points to hold for 5-5. On the 4-5 (30/40) point, Gojo hit a forehand winner up the line and then on the 40/40 point Blumberg sliced a backhand long. Gojo took his first lead of the set at 6-5 with a break on the deciding point and he served it out with a hold on the deciding point to win 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
After Sigouin earned a split with Chrysochos at No. 2, the Wake senior would jump out to a 3-0 lead in the third set but Sigouin would get it back on serve at 3-4 and have three game points while serving up 40/15. Chrysochos took the next three points to break for 5-3 and then he served it out on the deciding point to win 7-6, 3-6, 6-3.
Botzer forced a third set at No. 3 after breaking Josh Peck on the deciding point and then the sophomore from Tel Aviv would run away in the final set to clinch with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 win. The match at No. 5 went unfinished with UNC’s Soendergaard leading 5-3 in the final set.
DEACS WIN! DEACS WIN! DEACS WIN! Wake Forest is headed to the finals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship, 4-2, over North Carolina! pic.twitter.com/xu3y9VMTbI
Wake Men’s Tennis (@WakeMTennis) February 17, 2019
ITA Tennis (@ITA_Tennis) February 17, 2019
#1 Wake Forest 4, #8 North Carolina 2
2/17/2019 at Chicago, IL (Midtown Athletic Club)
1. Borna Gojo (WAKE) def. #52 William Blumberg (UNC) 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
2. #1 Petros Chrysochos (WAKE) def. Benjamin Sigouin (UNC) 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3
3. #21 Bar Botzer (WAKE) def. #36 Josh Peck (UNC) 3-6, 7-5, 6-1
4. #77 Brian Cernoch (UNC) def. #49 Melios Efstathiou (WAKE) 6-2, 6-4
5. Simon Soendergaard (UNC) led Yuval Solomon (WAKE) 2-6, 6-3, 5-3* (40/30)
6. Blaine Boyden (UNC) def. Sid Banthia (WAKE) 7-6(4), 6-2
1. Alan Gadjiev/Borna Gojo (WAKE) def. Brian Cernoch/Benjamin Sigouin (UNC) 7-6(2)
2. Bar Botzer/Petros Chrysochos (WAKE) def. William Blumberg/Blaine Boyden (UNC) 6-3
3. Mac Kiger/Simon Soendergaard (UNC) def. Siddhant Banthia/Julian Zlobinsky (WAKE) 7-6(6)
North Carolina 7-2; National ranking #8
Wake Forest 12-1; National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (4,6,1,2,3)
The second semifinal didn’t have the same ebbs and flows as the first one with Ohio State winning a close deciding match in doubles and then cutting through Texas in singles. Ohio State’s Alex Kobelt and Kyle Seelig won 6-2 at No. 2 doubles while Texas’s Harrison Scott and Christian Sigsgaard won 6-3 at No. 1. UT’s Yuya Ito and Chih Chi Huang broke for 6-5 at No. 3 but OSU’s Hunter Tubert and John McNally broke back and then ran away in the tiebreak taking it 7-1.
The Buckeyes claimed five opening sets in singles and it’d be junior JJ Wolf that would put the next point on the board with a 6-4, 6-1 win at No. 1. Wolf served for the first set at 5-2 but got broke on the deciding point however he’d win the deciding point while serving at 5-4.
Buckeye senior Hunter Tubert would make it 3-0 with a 6-2, 7-6(3) win at No. 6. Tubert led 6-2, 5-2 but was broke in his 5-3 service game at 30/40. Tubert won the opening two points of the tiebreak, dropped the next three, and then won the final five to close it out.
John McNally and Kyle Seelig were both at the finish line in their respective matches at No. 2 and No. 3 but it’d be the sophomore McNally that would get there first to clinch with a 7-5, 6-3 win. McNally took the first set 7-5 after breaking Yuya Ito’s 5-5 service game on the deciding point and then he served it out from 40/30. In the second set, McNally served for the match at 5-2 and had a pair of match points at 40/30 but Ito broke for 5-3 however McNally would break back to win it.
Seelig’s match went unfinished with the redshirt junior leading 7-5, 5-2* (40/15) while Texas senior Colin Markes had three match points at 7-6, *5-4 (40/15).
Last year was heartbreaking, we came up just short, said McNally. We have worked so hard to get back here to have this opportunity. The match is just another opportunity for us to represent our unbelievable university.
ITA Tennis (@ITA_Tennis) February 18, 2019
Head coach Michael Center after Texas posted a 2-1 record at the @ITA_Tennis National Indoor Championship, including wins over No. 14 Illinois and No. 5 USC in reaching the semifinals. #ITAIndoors #HookEm?? pic.twitter.com/TrmrfUoIF1
Texas Men’s Tennis (@TexasMTN) February 18, 2019
#2 Ohio State 4, #6 Texas 0
2/17/2019 at Chicago, IL (Midtown Athletic Club)
1. #2 JJ Wolf (OSU) def. #6 Christian Sigsgaard (UT) 6-4, 6-1
2. #62 John McNally (OSU) def. #14 Yuya Ito (UT) 7-5, 6-3
3. #12 Kyle Seelig (OSU) vs. #91 Leonardo Telles (UT) 7-5, 5-2* (40/15), unfinished
4. Martin Joyce (OSU) vs. Harrison Scott (UT) 6-4, 3-6, 3-0, unfinished
5. #86 Alex Kobelt (OSU) vs. Colin Markes (UT) 6-7 (6-8), 4-5* (40/15), unfinished
6. Hunter Tubert (OSU) def. Chih Chi Huang (UT) 6-2, 7-6 (7-3)
1. #13 Harrison Scott/Christian Sigsgaard (UT) def. JJ Wolf/Martin Joyce (OSU) 6-3
2. Alex Kobelt/Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Colin Markes/Leonardo Telles (UT) 6-2
3. Hunter Tubert/John McNally (OSU) def. Yuya Ito/Chih Chi Huang (UT) 7-6 (7-1)
Texas 11-1; National ranking #6
Ohio State 12-0; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (1,6,2)
ITA Indoor Team National Championship
#2 Mississippi State def. #11 Notre Dame 4-2
#14 Columbia def. #10 Baylor 4-1
#15 TCU def. #6 UCLA 4-0
#8 Virginia def. #13 USC 4-1
#12 Illinois def. #16 Tulane 4-3
#9 Stanford def. #4 Florida 4-1