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.
ITA Indoors Day 2 Recap: Wake Forest Rallies Past UCLA; North Carolina Tops TCU; Ohio State & Texas Post ShutoutsWritten by Bobby Knight
The semifinals are set in Chicago with the early matches providing plenty of excitement while the later matches were a pair of shutouts. It looked like No. 3 Wake Forest, the defending National Team Indoor Champions, were going to make an early exit but thanks to freshman Melios Efstathiou the Deacs lived to fight another day.
Wake found itself down 1-0 after the doubles point with UCLA picking up wins at No. 1 and No. 3 but the Deacs came back in singles with four opening sets (note: UCLA was without its No. 2 player Keegan Smith who injured his ankle the previous day). UCLA junior Ben Goldberg put the Bruins in front 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 5 but Wake senior Petros Chrysochos became the school's all-time wins leader in singles (120) with a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 2. Wake evened it at 2-2 after sophomore Yuval Solomon won 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6 but UCLA senior Maxime Cressy put the Bruins back ahead after a 6-4, 7-5 win at No. 1. Wake sophomore Bar Botzer tied the match at 3-3 with a 6-4, 7-6 win at No. 3 which meant the match would be decided at No. 4.
UCLA freshman Mathew Tsolakyan dropped the opening set 6-3 but then he won 10 of the next 13 games to take a 3-6, 6-3, *4-1 lead against Wake freshman Melios Efstathiou. Tsolakyan had a game point for 5-1 but Efstathiou broke on the deciding point and then reeled off another three games to take a 5-4 lead. Efstathiou had three match points at 15/40 but Tsolakyan came back to hold for 5-5. Efstathiou held on the deciding point for 6-5 and then he broke from 15/40 to close it out 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
ITA Indoors Day 1 Recap: TCU Tops Mississippi State; USC Upsets Florida; Texas Eliminates the Illini, Wake Escapes ColumbiaWritten by Bobby Knight
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.
What To Watch This Weekend - Men's National Team Indoors, ECAC @ Penn, College MatchDay, FSU/Miami WomenWritten by Bobby Knight
The Men's National Team Indoors in Chicago is THE event this weekend with Ohio State the top seed and definite favorite. The top seeded Buckeyes open up with Tulane on Friday and with a win in that match they'd move on to face the winner of the Virginia/Stanford match. Almost all of the round of 16 matches are expected to be highly competitive with many 4-2 and 4-3 scores sure to come. Slam.Tennis will have updated brackets and match times throughout the weekend plus they'll have a running scoreboard in addition to the scoring and video links. I think they'll only be streaming video on 7 of the 12 courts so I guess we'll have to wait until the opening matches gets underway at 9 am central to see what we get.
In other action this weekend, Penn will be hosting the men's ECAC Tournament with Dartmouth the top seed. A bracket and preview of the event are available at this link via Penn.
Air Force and Army will meet on Saturday afternoon at 4 pm in Lake Nona in the latest installment of College MatchDay. Both the men and women will play simultaneously with the matches to be streamed on Tennis Channel Plus with a tape delay broadcast to air on the Tennis Channel on Sunday evening at 6:30. For more details check out the USTA's release on the event.
The only women's matchup between top 25 teams will take place on Saturday in Tallahassee as No. 20 Florida State hosts No. 15 Miami. Some other women's matches to keep an eye on are Tulsa at Kansas (Sat), Cal at Pepperdine (Sat), Boston College at Virginia (Sat), Baylor at Northwestern (Fri), UCF at Alabama (Fri) and Ole Miss (Sun), and Northwestern at Georgia Tech (Sun).
The Men's National Team Indoors is less than 24 hours away from kicking off in Chicago but on Wednesday night at the Midtown Athletic Club the Illinois Fighting Illini and UCLA Bruins squared off in a top 15 dual to let the locals know what was in store for the coming days. UCLA jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after picking up a pair of 6-2 wins at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles but Illinois bounced back in singles by taking four opening sets. Illini freshman Siphosothando Montsi tied the match at 1-1 after winning his first career dual-match with a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 6 singles. Aleks Kovacevic put the Illini in front with a 7-6, 7-5 win over Maxime Cressy at No. 1. Cressy, who won the Cleveland Challenger a few weeks ago, hadn't dropped more than 4 games in a set in his three previous matches. UCLA freshman Govind Nanda tied it back up with a 6-4, 7-5 win at No. 3 but moments later Illinois sophomore Alex Brown put the Illini back ahead with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win at No. 2.
The two remaining matches were both even with No. 4 splitting sets while the match at No. 5 was tied at 3-3 in the third. Illinois sophomore Caleb Chakravarthi would break UCLA freshman Mathew Tsolakyan to go in front 4-3 and then a few games later he served it out to clinch with a 5-7, 6-0, 6-4 win.
Tuesday was a great day for Ohio State with the Buckeyes taking care of business on the court against USC while also being named as the top seed at this weekend's Men's National Team Indoor Championships in Chicago. Ohio State ran its record to 9-0 after posting its sixth shutout of the young season with a 5-0 win over No. 5 USC. It looked like the Buckeyes might start off in a 1-0 hole after going down breaks at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles but they managed to get both back on serve. Alex Kobelt and James Trotter came back from 3-5 down to clinch the doubles point with a 7-6(4) win at No. 2 and Hunter Tubert and John McNally picked up a late break to win 7-5 at No. 3. Ohio State dominated in singles and took five opening sets (only dropped 3 games total at 3, 5, 6) and ended up with four straight set courtesy of JJ Wolf, John McNally, Alex Kobelt, and Hunter Tubert at No. 1, No. 3, No. 5, and No. 6.
The loss was the third straight for USC which is the Trojans longest losing streak since April 2006.