The opening day of play at the beautiful USTA National Campus in Orlando wrapped up late Sunday night with Duke pulling off the one seeding upset of the day in a 4-3 win over UCF.
Duke entered the match, on the home courts of the No. 9 seed UCF, as one of the three unseeded teams but most considered this to be a 50/50 match. UCF got off to a great start in doubles and took early 3-1 leads on all three courts and would eventually close out No. 2 doubles by a 6-3 score. However the Knights wouldn’t be as successful holding on to the lead on the other two courts. Duke’s No. 1 team of Meible Chi and Margaryta Bilokin reeled off five straight games, with none of them reaching the deciding point, to win 6-3. In the last match on court at No. 3, Duke’s Kelly Chen and Georgia Drummy would take five of the next six games to clinch the doubles point with a 6-4 win. The two pivotal games came with Chen serving at 3-4 and UCF’s Evgeniya Levashova serving at 4-5. In the 3-4 game, Chen fought off a pair of break points to hold for 4-4. Then in the 4-5 game, Levashova led 40/30 but double faulted to bring up the deciding point and then an error at the net cost the Knights the match.
UCF fought back in singles and claimed four opening sets but the first two matches to finish would come on courts 2 and 4 where Duke’s Georgia Drummy and Meible Chi posted straight set wins to put the Blue Devils up 3-0. The win by Chi was her 10th straight and Drummy’s win ran her winning streak to 8.
UCF answered with straight set wins from Valeriya Zeleva, her 13th straight, and Nandini Sharma on courts 1 and 6 to pull the Knights to within 3-2. The two remaining matches at 3 and 5 both went to a third set.
UCF’s Jaleesa Leslie evened the match at 3-3 with a three-set win at No. 5 but Duke’s Chloe Beck had opened up a 4-2 lead in the final set at No. 3. Beck would get broken by Evgeniya Levashova from 30/40 to put it back on serve at 4-3 however Beck broke back from 15/40 to make it 5-3. Levashova broke back from 30/40 to make it 5-4 however the break trend would continue with Beck breaking from 30/40 to win it 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in a match that lasted 2 hours and 37 minutes.
#18 Duke 4, #9 UCF 3
5/16/2021 at Orlando, Fla. (USTA National Campus)
1. #22 Valeriya Zeleva (UCF) def. #49 Kelly Chen (DU) 6-4, 6-2
2. #19 Georgia Drummy (DU) def. #38 Rebeka Stolmar (UCF) 6-4, 6-4
3. #39 Chloe Beck (DU) def. Evgeniya Levashova (UCF) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
4. #40 Meible Chi (DU) def. Ksenia Kuznetsova (UCF) 6-2, 6-3
5. Jaleesa Leslie (UCF) def. Margaryta Bilokin (DU) 6-2, 1-6, 6-1
6. Nandini Sharma (UCF) def. Karolina Berankova (DU) 6-1, 7-5
1. #10 Meible Chi/Margaryta Bilokin (DU) def. Marie Mattel/Rebeka Stolmar (UCF) 6-3
2. Ksenia Kuznetsova/Valeriya Zeleva (UCF) def. #9 Chloe Beck/Karolina Berankova (DU) 6-3
3. #41 Kelly Chen/Georgia Drummy (DU) def. Evgeniya Levashova/Nadja Bay Christians (UCF) 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (4,2,1,6,5,3)
The second closest match of the day came in the 7 versus 10 tilt between Florida State and Texas A&M. The Seminoles were able to take the doubles point for the 17th time in 24 matches with wins at both 1 and 3. In the match at No. 1, FSU’s Emmanuelle Salas and Victoria Allen fell behind 4-2 and were staring at 5-2 hole as Texas A&M’s Jayci Goldsmith served up 40/15 however Salas and Allen won the next 3 points to get the break. The FSU duo would break Goldsmith at love to go up 6-5 and then Allen served it out from 40/30 to clinch the match. The unfinished match at No. 2 was about to head to tiebreak with A&M serving up 40/0.
The teams split opening sets in singles but just two of them would finish in straight sets.
Texas A&M’s Jayci Goldsmith rebounded from a tough loss in doubles with a quick 57-minute 6-0, 6-3 win at No. 2 while FSU’s Victoria Allen would put the Noles back in front 2-1 after winning her 9th straight match with a straight forward 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 5.
Texas A&M would even it at 2-2 with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-0 win from Tatiana Makarova at No. 1 but FSU retook the lead with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 win by Nandini Das at No. 3.
FSU’s Petra Hule would send the Seminoles to the quarterfinals for the second time in school history with a clinching 6-7, 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 4 singles. The win by Hule was her 9th straight. The other match at No. 6 went unfinished with Texas A&M’s Riley McQuaid leading 3-2 in the third and having four break point to make it 4-2.
#7 Florida State 4, #10 Texas A&M 2
5/16/2021 at Orlando, Fla. (USTA National Campus)
1. #25 Tatiana Makarova (TAMU) def. #12 Giulia Pairone (FS) 6-3, 2-6, 6-0
2. Jayci Goldsmith (TAMU) def. #44 Emmanuelle Salas (FS) 6-0, 6-3
3. Nandini Das (FS) def. Katya Townsend (TAMU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
4. Petra Hule (FS) def. Dorthea Faa-Hviding (TAMU) 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-1
5. Victoria Allen (FS) def. Renee McBryde (TAMU) 6-2, 6-2
6. Andrea Garcia (FS) vs. Riley McQuaid (TAMU) 7-5, 3-6, *2-3 (0/40), unfinished
1. #30 Emmanuelle Salas/Victoria Allen (FS) def. #20 Jayci Goldsmith/Tatiana Makarova (TAMU) 7-5
2. #8 Nandini Das/Andrea Garcia (FS) vs. Dorthea Faa-Hviding/Renee McBryde (TAMU) 6-5* (40/0), unfinished
3. #89 Giulia Pairone/Petra Hule (FS) def. Katya Townsend/Riley McQuaid (TAMU) 6-2
Texas A&M 21-8; National ranking #10
Florida State University 19-5; National ranking #7
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (2,5,1,3,4)
The second-longest match of the day, at 3 hours and 30 minutes, came in the early slot where No. 3 Georgia got all it wanted from 13th ranked and 14th seeded Virginia.
The doubles matches at 2 and 3 went quickly with Georgia winning 6-2 at 2 and Virginia winning 6-2 at 3. In the match at 1, UVA’s Rosie Johanson and Emma Navarro jumped out to an early 2-0 lead but Georgia’s Katarina Jokic and Ariana Arseneault took the next 4 games to make it 4-2. Johanson came back from 15/40 down to hold for 3-4 but Georgia wouldn’t give UVA a chance to get back in it and closed it out with a comfortable hold by Arseneault from 40/15 to win it 6-4.
Each team took three opening sets in singles but the only two to finish in straight sets came from Georgia’s Meg Kowalski and Marta Gonzalez who were victorious at 3 and 5 to make it 3-0.
Virginia’s Hibah Shaikh put the Hoos on the board with a 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 at No. 4 and Natasha Subhash would have a match point at No. 2 singles on Lea Ma’s 4-5 service game in the final set but she’d be unable to get the break. The match at No. 2 would go to a tiebreak and despite winning the first 2 points Subhash wouldn’t be able to win too many more. Ma would close it out and clinch the Bulldogs spot in the quarterfinals with a 7-4 win in the tiebreak.
In the matches that went unfinished, Georgia’s Katarina Jokic led 5-3* in the third at No. 1 in a match where she served for it twice and was broken both times and Georgia’s Elena Christofi led 5-4* in the third after trailing 4-2.
#3 Georgia 4, #13 Virginia 1
5/16/2021 at Orlando, Fla. (USTA National Campus)
1. #4 Katarina Jokic (UGA) vs. #3 Emma Navarro (VA) 6-4, 5-7, 5-3, unfinished
2. #55 Lea Ma (UGA) def. #9 Natasha Subhash (VA) 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
3. #20 Meg Kowalski (UGA) def. #90 Rosie Johanson (VA) 6-3, 6-3
4. Hibah Shaikh (VA) def. #68 Morgan Coppoc (UGA) 6-4, 0-6, 6-2
5. #52 Marta Gonzalez (UGA) def. Amber O’Dell (VA) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
6. Elena Christofi (UGA) vs. Sofia Munera (VA) 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 5-4, unfinished
1. #6 Katarina Jokic/Ariana Arseneault (UGA) def. #21 Rosie Johanson/Emma Navarro (VA) 6-4
2. Elena Christofi/Morgan Coppoc (UGA) def. #17 Sofia Munera/Natasha Subhash (VA) 6-2
3. Vivian Glozman/Hibah Shaikh (VA) def. Lea Ma/Meg Kowalski (UGA) 6-2
Virginia 16-7; National ranking #13
Georgia 22-1; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (3,5,4,2)
The other five matches of the day weren’t as tense and all finished in under 2 hours and 30 minutes.
NC State advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history with a 4-1 win over No. 35 USC. The Wolfpack breezed through the doubles point with 6-1 wins at 1 and 2. In singles, NCST took five opening sets although Abigail Rencheli was the only one to win in straight set with a 6-1, 6-3 victory at No. 5. While USC would get a straight set win from Salma Ewing at No. 1, the Wolfpack closed it out with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-1 win by Jaeda Daniel at No. 4 and a clinching 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win from Adriana Reami at No. 3. In the match that went unfinished, NC State’s Alana Smith was serving up 7-6, 4-5 at No. 2 while the match at No. 6 had just split sets. NC State will face Georgia in the opening match on Wednesday at 11:00 am ET.
Top-seed North Carolina moved on to a quarterfinal showdown with rival Duke after a 4-0 win over No. 16 California. The Tar Heels won the doubles point going away and then won all but one set in singles with Sara Daavettila, Elizabeth Scotty, and Fiona Crawley winning in straight sets at 1, 4, and 5. At the time of the clinch, UNC’s Reilly Tran was serving for the match on 6 up 40/0. UNC’s quarterfinal match against Duke will be the late match on Wednesday with a start time not before 7:30 pm ET.
Texas advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2005 with a 4-1 win over No. 15 seed Ohio State. The second-seeded Longhorns took the doubles point with a 6-0 win at 1 and a 6-3 win at 3 and then added four lopsided opening sets in singles. UT’s Lulu Sun won her 14th straight match and made it 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 3 but Ohio State would get on the board at No. 1 with a dominating 6-2, 6-0 win from Irina Cantos Siemers. UT’s Charlotte Chavatipon ran her winning streak to 16 with a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 4 and Anna Turati clinched at No. 2 with a 6-1, 7-5 win. The other two matches at 5 and 6 were all square early in the third set. Texas will meet Florida State on Wednesday at 2:00 pm ET.
The third block of the day was the only one to see both matches end in 4-0 shutouts.
Fourth seeded UCLA defeated the No. 13 seed Georgia Tech 4-0. The Bruins blew past Georgia Tech in doubles and then added straight set wins from Abbey Forbes, Elysia Bolton, and Annette Goulak at 1, 3, and 6.
Fifth seeded Pepperdine defeated unseeded and 20th ranked Michigan 4-0. After the Waves won 6-2 at No. 1 doubles, their No. 3 team of Jessica Failla and Anastasia Iamachkine reeled off 5 straight game to come back from 4-1 down to clinch the point with a 6-4 win. The Waves won all but one set in singles and would get straight set wins from Failla, Taisiya Pachkaleva, and Shiori Fakuda and 2, 3, and 4. Michigan’s Alyvia Jones was serving for the match on 5 at the time of the clinch.
UCLA and Pepperdine will meet for a fourth time this season in a match scheduled to begin at 5:30 pm ET on Wednesday.
For box scores, photos, and quotes from all the matches along with a schedule of play make sure you bookmark the USTA’s NCAA Tournament page at this link.
I’ll my Elite 8 previews up either later today or on Tuesday.