Thursday, 18 May 2017 19:07

NCAA Sweet 16 Recap: Ohio State Outlasts Oklahoma, UGA Upsets USC, Texas Tops Baylor, TCU Gets Tested By Illinois

Written by
Rate this item
(4 votes)

I tell you there is nothing quite like the first two days at the NCAA Championship site because it's action-packed from sunrise to sunset with one good match after another. The day started off with gray skies and temperatures in the 70s but as the day progressed the sun made its way out and the temperatures shot up into the mid-80s (high humidity all day though). The morning slot saw Virginia roll over Florida on the Henry Feild Stadium courts while Texas overcame the loss of the doubles point to defeat Baylor on the McWhorter courts. Then in the noon slot it was Ohio State overcoming the loss of the doubles point to defeat Oklahoma 4-3 while TCU held off a hard charging Illinois 4-1. In the late afternoon window the hometown Georgia Bulldogs upset USC 4-3 while UCLA roughed up Texas A&M 4-1. The day was capped off with the top seed Wake Forest handling Stanford 4-0 while North Carolina defeated California 4-1. The announced crowd of 1,781 hit its peak during the Georgia/USC match with many sitting up high in the grandstand to stay out of the sun.

I'll go back through each match to give you some of the highlights though with two matches going on at the same it was hard to stay on top of both. I stuck with the Texas/Baylor match to start the day, then during the second slot I started with Ohio State/Oklahoma then watched most of singles in the TCU/Illinois match and then finished up back at the OSU/OU match. I watched just about the entire Georgia/USC match since UCLA/Texas A&M wasn't that close and then in the nightcap I spent most of my time watching UNC/Cal since the result of the Wake/Stanford match wasn't ever in doubt.

 

IMG 5044

 

In my opinion the match of the day took place between Ohio State and Oklahoma. Going into the match Ohio State had won the doubles point 31 times in 34 matches, including twice against Oklahoma, but after 52 minutes it was the Sooners that had the early 1-0 lead after a wild finish at No. 3.

Ohio State struck first in doubles when Mikael Torpegaard and Herkko Pollanen beat Spencer Papa and Andrew Harris 6-3 win at No. 1. OSU broke Harris from 15/40 to go up 3-1 and a few games later Torpegaard served it out to make the final 6-3. Less than two minutes later Oklahoma's Alex Ghilea and Florin Bragusi defeated Hugo Di Feo and Martin Joyce 6-4 at No. 2. OU broke for 4-3 and Ghilea served it out for 6-4 to hand Di Feo and Joyce only their second loss of the season.

Down at No. 3, Ohio State's Hunter Tubert and JJ Wolf jumped out to a 4-2 lead on Jochen Bertsch and Adrian Oetzbach however the OU duo broke back and held for 4-4. OU would break Tubert from 30/40, via a double fault, to go up 6-5 and then Bertsch went up 40/0 on his serve. Ohio State came all the way back to break on the no-ad point and then it went up 2-0 in the tiebreak. OU evened it at 2-2 but Ohio State went up 4-2 after a service return winner by Wolf. Ohio State would extend its lead to 6-3 but Oetzbach won both points on his serve to make it 6-5 and then he and Bertsch won both points on Tubert's serve to go up 7-6. Ohio State fought off a match point to even it at 7-7 but OU took the final two to take the tiebreak 9-7.

 

 

Each team would take three opening sets in singles with the biggest surprise coming at No. 1 where Spencer Papa would not only take the first set over Mikael Torpegaard but he'd also go up 3-0 in the second. 

Ohio State's Kyle Seelig tied the match at 1-1 with a quick 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 6 and then Herkko Pollanen gave the Buckeyes its first lead with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 5. 

Oklahoma's Florin Bragusi evened it at 2-2 with a 6-3, 7-6(5) win at No. 4 and then Alex Ghilea put the Sooners up 3-2 with a 6-4, 7-6(3) win at No. 3. 

After trailing 6-2, 3-0 at No. 1, Ohio State's Mikael Torpegaard would come back to take the second set 7-6(1). Torpegaard went up 4-1 to start the third and closed it out 6-3 to tie the match at 3-3.

So it all came down to No. 2 between Oklahoma senior Andrew Harris and Ohio State first-semester freshman JJ Wolf. After Wolf took the first set 7-5, Harris came back and rolled through the second set 6-1. Wolf opened up a 4-1 lead in the third set but Harris would hold, break on the no-ad point, and hold again for 4-4. Harris went up 30/40 on Wolf's serve but the Buckeye freshman came back to hold for 5-4. Harris went up 40/15 but Wolf got it back to the no-ad point which was also match point. Harris had to hit a second serve, which just cleared the net, but Wolf's return sailed long to make it 5-5. Wolf held from 40/15 for 6-5 but Harris held from 40/30 to send it to a winner-take-all tiebreak. The server won the first five points of the tiebreak until Harris netted a forehand to make it 4-2 Wolf. A big Wolf forehand forced a Harris error for 5-2 and then a Wolf service winner made it 6-2. Wolf would close out the tiebreak and match with an ace out wide and to send the Buckeyes back to the quarterfinals. Below the clip of match point is some singles highlights that I shot

 

 

 

#3 OHIO STATE (32-3) 4, #14 OKLAHOMA (17-11) 3
Head Coaches: Ty Tucker (Ohio State) and Nick Crowell (Oklahoma)
Doubles
1. Mikael Torpegaard/ Herkko Pollanen (OHIO STATE) def. #15 Spencer Papa/Andrew Harris (OKLAHOMA), 6-3
2 #63 Alex Ghilea/ Florin Bragusi (OKLAHOMA) def. #30 Hugo Di Feo/Martin Joyce (OHIO STATE), 6-4
3. Jochen Bertsch/ Adrian Oetzbach (OKLAHOMA) def. Hunter Tubert/ JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE), 7-6 (7)
Singles
1. #2 Mikael Torpegaard (OHIO STATE) def. #24 Spencer Papa (OKLAHOMA), 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3
2. #46 JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE) def. #32 Andrew Harris (OKLAHOMA), 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (2)
3. #47 Alex Ghilea (OKLAHOMA) def. #9 Hugo Di Feo (OHIO STATE), 6-4, 7-6 (3)
4. #113 Florin Bragusi (OKLAHOMA) def. Martin Joyce (OHIO STATE), 6-3, 7-6 (5)
5. Herkko Pollanen (OHIO STATE) def. Jochen Bertsch (OKLAHOMA), 6-4, 6-4
6. Kyle Seelig (OHIO STATE) def. Adrian Oetzbach (OKLAHOMA), 6-1, 6-2
Doubles (1,2,3) Singles (6,5,4,3,1,2)

 

 

OHIO STATE HEAD COACH TY TUCKER
On advancing to the quarterfinals...“Obviously we got very lucky today. We lost a few match points in doubles and we lost the team match point, so you start thinking it’s not your day and then all of a sudden a senior in high school steps up and won a match against a senior in college, which usually doesn’t happen. That’s not the match-up coaches usually look for, a senior on a freshman. Hats off to Oklahoma.”

 

 

FRESHMAN JJ WOLF
On clinching the match...“It’s all just a blur right now. I was just trying to get the next point for my team. It obviously could have gone either way, Andrew Harris is a great player. So I was trying to throw my energy into the next point and do my best and it worked out. I couldn’t ask for a better opening round than that. We like to be tested early, battle ready.”

OKLAHOMA HEAD COACH NICK CROWELL
On today’s match...“It was an unbelievable fight. I mean, just super proud of our guys. No one expected to win that match except us, and that’s why we’re disappointed. We thought we could win the match, and I’m just really proud of how our guys competed today, handled themselves. The fight was unbelievable.”

 

 

The other 4-3 match of the day took place between No. 12 Georgia and No. 4 USC. Georgia's Wayne Montgomery and Walker Duncan went to 15-2 on the year with a come from behind 6-4 win at No. 3. USC's Jack Jaede and Rob Bellamy broke for 4-3 but Montgomery and Duncan broke Jaede at love to even it at 4-4. Georgia held for 5-4 and then they broke on the no-ad point for 6-4. USC's Nick Crystal and Laurens Verboven countered with a 6-3 win at No. 2. The match started off with four consecutive breaks until Verboven held for 3-2. USC broke Georgia for 4-2 and a few games later Verboven served it out to win 6-3. There were no breaks of serve in the match at No. 1 doubles though there were a few games that came down to a no-ad point. Georgia's Jan Zielinski came back from 15/40 down to hold and force a tiebreak but USC's Brandon Holt and Riley Smith cruised to a 7-1 win. Below are some highlights that I shot during doubles (most are game points/break points).

 

 

Georgia fought back in singles and claimed four opening sets including Wayne Montgomery coming back from 2-5 down to take the set 7-5 at No. 2.

Georgia's Walker Duncan tied the match at 1-1 with a 6-4, 6-1 at No. 5 but USC's Brandon Holt would put the Trojans back in front with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 1. In the second set of Holt's match he went up 2-0, dropped four straight games to fall behind 2-4, and then won the last four to get the win.

Georgia's Emil Reinberg tied the match at 2-2 with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Logan Smith at No. 3 but USC retook the lead when Riley Smith broke Robert Loeb on the no-ad point to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 at No. 6. 

USC had the lead but Georgia's Wayne Montgomery and Jan Zielinski were both up 5-2 in the third on each of their respective courts. Jack Jaede broke Zielinski from 15/40 to pull within 3-5 but Zielinski broke back from 15/40 to win 7-6, 3-6, 6-3. Less than 30 seconds later the match would be over because Montgomery would break Nick Crystal on the no-ad point to win 7-5, 6-7, 6-2. Below are some video clips I shot during singles - starts with a tweener by Jack Jaede to win the first set. 

 

 

 

#12 GEORGIA (21-7) 4, #4 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (27-6) 3
Head Coaches: Peter Smith (Southern California) and Manuel Diaz (Georgia)
Doubles
1. #14 Brandon Holt/ Riley Smith (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. #1 Jan Zielinski/Robert Loeb (GEORGIA), 7-6(1)
2.Nick Crystal/ Laurens Verboven (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. Emil Reinberg/ Nathan Ponwith (GEORGIA), 6-3
3.Wayne Montgomery/ Walker Duncan (GEORGIA) def. Rob Bellamy/ Jack Jaede (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 6-4
Singles
1. #19 Brandon Holt (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. #56 Nathan Ponwith (GEORGIA), 6-4, 6-4
2. #33 Wayne Montgomery (GEORGIA) def. Nick Crystal (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA),7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-2
3. #59 Emil Reinberg (GEORGIA) def. #88 Logan Smith (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 6-2, 7-5
4. Jan Zielinski (GEORGIA) def. Jack Jaede (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3
5. Walker Duncan (GEORGIA) def. Thibault Forget (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 6-4, 6-1
6. Riley Smith (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. Robert Loeb (GEORGIA), 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
Doubles (3,2,1) Singles (5,1,3,6,4,2)

 

 

GEORGIA HEAD COACH MANUEL DIAZ
On today’s match...“We have a very young team. We have a lot to learn and we have a lot of improving that we are capable of doing. Coming in #12 and playing the #4, we were not the favorite. Ranking wise, we knew we were the underdog but I believe we are capable of beating anyone in the tournament. Our mindset is to take it one at a time, put one foot in front of the other. We have a huge challenge facing UCLA next. They are a great team and they already beat us this year. We have to get our rest and try to do it again. I am con dent our guys have learned and matured as the season has progressed and I know what we are capable of.”


WAYNE MONTGOMERY
On clinching today’s match..“It is a great and wonderful opportunity to win in front of such a crowd, the greatest crowd in college tennis. It always has been and always will be so that gave me a lot of energy and confidence at some points when I felt vulnerable. It was great match. All the credit to Nick Crystal. He is a great competitor and he makes people frustrated and lose their minds. Like I said before I am not entirely happy with my performance, but playing against that guy is tough and a whole different game. I am happy with the outcome.”

JAN ZIELINSKI
On advancing to the quarterfinals...“It means a lot. Especially here and during NCAA. It was a very special moment for us today coming back af- ter losing that doubles point. They are the #4 team in the country and they are great in every spot. It was really tough but I am proud of everyone on the team for getting the job done. I can’t say enough about our guys and how they performed. I can’t wait for Saturday’s match.”

 

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HEAD COACH PETER SMITH
On today’s match...“It’s an incredible environment that was out there, it’s often playing in that environment you really actually feel like they’re cheering for you a lot of times. They got us in a couple third sets. They played great, and they were tough down the stretch, and they get to move on, and we don’t.”

On playing the NCAA Championships in Athens...“No matter what ever happens here, there are amazing memories here, and that will never be taken away. This is an amazing place. It should be here more often than not. If it’s not here every other year, every year. It’s a special place. This is our place. Hats off to UGA, Dan Magill, Manny Diaz, and Matt Brachowski for doing such a great job. It’s an amazing place. The town’s amazing. The atmosphere’s amazing. The history’s amazing.”

 

 

During the regular season Baylor beat Texas 4-1 but on Thursday morning it was Texas flipping the script and moving on to the quarterfinals with a 4-1 win of their own. Texas got a quick 6-1 win at No. 2 but Baylor won 6-3 at No. 3 after breaking from 30/40 to go up 5-3. Baylor went up 3-2 at No. 1 after getting a no-ad break and the Bears would make it hold up and win 6-4.

 

 

Texas really came back strong in singles and claimed five opening sets with Baylor's only first set coming from Jimmy Bendeck at No. 6.

George Goldhoff was off the court in 50 minutes with a 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 4 and Leo Telles followed shortly thereafter with a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 5. Harrison Scott made it 3-1 Texas after he broke Max Tchoutakian from 15/40, in a match with plenty of breaks, to win 6-3, 7-5 at No. 2. Texas freshman Christian Sigsgaard clinched the match with a 7-6, 6-3 win over Juan Benitez at No. 1.

 

 

#11 TEXAS (22-8) 4, #7 BAYLOR (23-8) 1
Head Coaches: Matt Knoll (Baylor) and Michael Center (Texas)
Doubles
1. #22 Juan Benitez/ Will Little (BAY) def #76 George Goldhoff/Leonardo Telles(TEX), 6-4
2.Christian Sigsgaard/Colin Markes (TEX) def. #84 Johannes Schretter/Jimmy Bendeck (BAY), 6-1
3.Max Tchoutakian/ Bjoern Petersen (BAY) def. Yuya Ito/ Harrison Scott (TEX), 6-3
Singles
1. #25 Christian Sigsgaard (TEXAS) def. #15 Juan Benitez (BAYLOR), 7-6 (4), 6-3
2. #36 Harrison Scott (TEXAS) def. #50 Max Tchoutakian (BAYLOR), 6-3, 7-5
3. #63 Johannes Schretter (BAYLOR) vs. #55 Yuya Ito (TEXAS), 6-3, 6-7, 1-1, uf
4. George Goldhoff (TEXAS) def. Bjoern Petersen (BAYLOR), 6-0, 6-2
5. Leonardo Telles (TEXAS) def. Will Little (BAYLOR), 6-1, 6-4
6. Jimmy Bendeck (BAYLOR) vs. Rodrigo Banzer (TEXAS), 7-5, 5-5, uf
Doubles: (2,3,1) Singles: (4,5,2,1)

TEXAS HEAD COACH MICHAEL CENTER
On advancing to the quarterfinals...“When you play a team that you know well there weren’t a lot of secrets going into that match. They beat us at home and I feel like the first 15 to 20 minutes of that match we were on our heels and we never got back. Today, even though we lost the doubles point I feel like we really bounced back and overall probably played our best match of the year.”

FRESHMAN CHRISTIAN SIGSGAARD
On clinching the match...“I actually didn’t know I was clinching it because my coach just kept saying let’s win this last court but I had no idea which one it was. But when I won and everyone was running to me it was an amazing feeling, I had never clinched before. I think not knowing I was going to clinch really helped me and kept me calm.”

BAYLOR HEAD COACH MATT KNOLL
On today’s match...“Proud of our doubles. We may have been a little bit over-juiced after our doubles. We didn’t get off to a great start in singles, but their guys are good. We knew that coming in. It is kind of hard to calm down between the singles and the doubles and I think we were just over anxious. I think in a lot of areas we weren’t very poised, but that is part of going through the process.
I am really proud of the guys and the great season we had. We started off ranked pretty low, worked our way up, and got better and better. I think it sets a really good foundation for us next year with all these guys coming back and we are going to try to do better.”

 

 

TCU won the doubles point for the 21st time in 26 matches with wins at No. 2 and No. 3 and then the teams split first sets in singles. TCU senior Jerry Lopez won his first set 6-0 but then in the second set he had to come back from a 5-2 deficit to win 6-0, 7-5. Illinois freshman Zeke Clark put the Illini on the board with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 6 but TCU's Cameron Norrie and Alex Rybakov each won in straight sets with Rybakov clinching at No. 2. 

 

 

 

#6 TCU (22-4) 4, #25 ILLINOIS (18-12) 1
Head Coaches: David Roditi (TCU) and Brad Dancer (Illinois)
Doubles
1. #25 Jerry Lopez/ Reese Stalder (TCU) vs. #71 Vuk Budic/ Aleks Vukic (ILLINOIS), 5-4, uf
2.#57 Alex Rybakov/Guillermo Nuñez (TCU) def. Zeke Clark/Aleks Kovacevic (ILLINOIS), 6-3
3.Cameron Norrie/ Trevor Johnson (TCU) def. Gui Gomes/ Aron Hiltzik (ILLINOIS), 6-4
Singles
1. #1 Cameron Norrie (TCU) def. #3 Aleks Vukic (ILLINOIS), 6-3, 6-4
2. #20 Alex Rybakov (TCU) def. #41 Aron Hiltzik (ILLINOIS), 6-2, 7-6 (5)
3. Gui Gomes (ILLINOIS) vs. #83 Guillermo Nuñez (TCU), 6-4, 3-6, 3-2, uf
4. #114 Jerry Lopez (TCU) def. Aleks Kovacevic (ILLINOIS), 6-0, 7-5
5. Reese Stalder (TCU) vs. Noe Khlif (ILLINOIS), 7-5, 2-6, 2-2, uf
6. Zeke Clark (ILLINOIS) def. Trevor Johnson (TCU), 6-4, 6-4
Doubles (2,3) Singles (4,6,1,2)

 

 

TCU HEAD COACH DAVID RODITI
On advancing to the quarterfinals...“It was a full team effort. It took a long time to get here. You only have five days, but I feel like it has been a month since we qualified for the Round of 16. This is where everybody wants to be, in the quarterfinals. It is like a thanksgiving meal, this is all gravy from here. We will take it.”

On what he expects from his players going forward...“I would like to see the same energy and focus in the doubles point and come out the same way. Not everything is going to go your way, but at the end of the day I am happy they get to experience NCAAs in Athens. I think every student-athlete who plays tennis should experience the NCAAs in Athens.”

ALEX RYBAKOV
On today’s match...“It feels great. We have worked really hard for this, the whole team and I just feel happy for the guys that I got through it. I am happy that I was able to get it done in two sets. It was a battle and Aron (Hiltzik) is a very good player. I battled to the end and thankfully I got it done.”

ILLINOIS HEAD COACH BRAD DANCER
On today’s match...“I thought we had really good energy and spirit in doubles and we did a lot of things well in the doubles. TCU came out with some big shots at number one doubles and Jerry Lopez played great there so that’s how they got that win. I think we’ve made progress through the stretch of the season so I’m really excited for that in terms of where we’re going, but we’ve had warts all season long and I think they showed up again today. We didn’t play with enough courage in some spots and we weren’t ready to play in some other spots. If you’re not ready to play and you don’t play with enough courage in other spots, it’s hard to keep advancing to the quarterfinals and the semifinals without doing most of the things right. You can have faults, but we just had one or two too many today and TCU is so good that they are going to expose you on that every time.”

 

 

North Carolina won a close doubles point and then found the three singles wins it needed to defeat Cal 4-1. North Carolina won easily at No. 3 doubles taking it 6-1 but Cal got a late break to win 6-3 at No. 2. North Carolina forced a tiebreak at No. 1 after Robert Kelly held on the no-ad point and then Kelly and William Blumberg pulled away from Filip Bergevi and Florian Lakat and took the tiebreak 7-2. 

North Carolina dominated Cal early on in singles by taking all six first sets but Cal came back and claimed five second sets. The only court where Cal couldn't get a split was at No. 5 where Jack Murray closed out JT Nishimura 6-4, 6-3.

William Blumberg made it 3-0 after he came back from an early break down in the third set to defeat Andre Goransson 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.  

Bjorn Hoffmann put Cal on the board after he won the final 11 games of the match to defeat Bo Boyden 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 at No. 6. 

North Carolina was in position to win on each of the three remaining courts but Cal fought off match points on all three to extend the match. Robert Kelly served for the match at No. 3 up 5-4 in the third but Filip Bergevi broke from 30/40 to even it at 5-5. Simon Soendergaard had two match points on Billy Griffth's 1-5 service game but Griffith came back to hold and then he broke at love for 3-5. Ronnie Schneider served for the match at No. 1 up 5-3 in the third and he had two match points at 40/30 but Florian Lakat managed to break for 5-4. Schneider came back on the next game and broke Lakat from 30/40 to close it out. 

 

 

 

#9 NORTH CAROLINA (27-4) 4, #8 CALIFORNIA (20-8) 1
Head Coaches: Peter Wright (California) and Sam Paul (North Carolina)
Doubles
1. #12 William Blumberg/ Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #5 Filip Bergevi/Florian Lakat (CALIFORNIA), 7-6 (2)
2.#74 Andre Goransson/ Billy Griffith (CALIFORNIA) def. #82 Jack Murray/Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-3
3.Anu Kodali/ Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Bjorn Hoffmann/J.T. Nishimura (CALIFORNIA), 6-1
Singles
1. #22 Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #12 Florian Lakat (CALIFORNIA), 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
2. #16 William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #61 Andre Goransson (CALIFORNIA), 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
3. Filip Bergevi (CALIFORNIA) vs. #116 Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA), 4-6, 6-2, 6-6, uf
4. Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA) vs. #81 Billy Griffith (CALIFORNIA), 6-3, 4-6, 5-3, uf
5. Jack Murray (NORTH CAROLINA) def. J.T. Nishimura (CALIFORNIA), 6-4, 6-3
6. Bjorn Hoffmann (CALIFORNIA) def. Bo Boyden (NORTH CAROLINA), 3-6, 6-3, 6-0
Doubles (3,2,1) Singles (5,2,6,1)

NORTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH SAM PAUL
On today’s match...“First of all California has a great team. It is weird that we played fantastic for the rst hour and then things sort of turned around, just to credit them, they have a great team. We came back and then closed out some third sets. We played well all the way up and down the line, so I am really happy about the performance today. We knew they weren’t quitting and we stepped up and got a great win. I am just really happy to be moving on. We get a day off and I think it will help us.”

RONNIE SCHNEIDER
On today’s match..“It is really unbelievable. We have worked so hard this year, especially these last few weeks. After the ACC tournament we put in the hard yards to be able to go deep in these matches and obviously that was the case here. We give Cal credit. We won doubles and six of the rst sets and Cal fought all the way back and split on every court, but one which is pretty amazing. We just stuck in there and knew if we played our game we were one of the toughest teams in the country. I am just so proud of everyone.”

CALIFORNIA HEAD COACH PETER WRIGHT
On the hard fought battle...“We’ve had some great battles with North Carolina, they are a really strong team. It was a great college match. We had some match points in the doubles that might have made a whole difference in the match. We got behind early, but this team has a tremendous heart and we just never went away and that is all that I ask every time out. North Carolina went out ahead today, but it wasn’t because of a lack of effort on our part.”

On playing in the Round of 16...“We love the competition and we love the battle. You learn from this every time out and it’s a great experience. Athens is the home of college tennis so for our guys to play here is an incredible experience. Maybe Athens isn’t going to be in the picture for a little bit, which is disappointing, but this facility has some tremendous memories for me and for our team. We are just excited and happy to be able to compete at such a high level here at the NCAA Championships.”

 

 

UCLA advanced to the quarterfinals for the sixth straight year with an impressive 4-1 win over Texas A&M. UCLA won the doubles point when Martin Redlicki and Evan Zhu broke AJ Catanzarti's serve on the no-ad point to take it 7-5 at No. 1.  

In singles play, each team took three first sets but UCLA really pressed forward in the second set as Evan Zhu, Maxime Cressy, and Joseph DiGiulio each finished in straight sets with Cressy clinching the match at No. 4. 

Zhu won for the seventh time in his last eight matches with an impressive 6-4, 6-3 win over Jordi Arconada at No. 2. Arconada came into the match having won 19 of his last 20 but Zhu jumped out to early break leads in both set and never let Arconada into the match. 

DiGiulio missed over two and a half months in the spring with an arm injury but that didn't stop him from getting past Aleksandre Bakshi 7-5, 6-1 at No. 6. DiGiulio jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the first set but Bakshi rallied to even it at 5-5. DiGiulio then reeled off seven straight games to go up 7-5, 5-0 and two games later he'd serve it out for the win. 

Texas A&M's Arthur Rinderknech put the Aggies on the board with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Martin Redlicki at No. 1. Rinderknech broke Redlicki to go up 5-4 in the first and then he served out the set to take it 6-4. In the second set, Rinderknech went up 4-0 and cruised to the finish line. 

Both of the matches at No. 3 and No. 5 had split sets and were hitting the midway point of the third set but UCLA's Maxime Cressy had opened up a pretty large lead in the second set at No. 4. The first set between Cressy and Valentin Vacherot went back and forth with Vacherot going up 2-0 before Cressy came back to tie it at 3-3. Cressy broke for 5-4 and and then he won the next five games to go up 6-4, 4-0. Vacherot fought off two match points to hold for 2-5 and then he broke Cressy for 3-5. Vacherot fought off another two match point to hold for 4-5 but this time Cressy would serve it out from 40/15 to give UCLA the win. 

 

 

#5 UCLA (22-5) 4, #13 TEXAS A&M (21-7) 1
Head Coaches: Billy Martin (UCLA) and Steve Denton (Texas A&M)
Doubles
1. #3 Martin Redlicki/ Evan Zhu (UCLA) def. #9 AJ Catanzariti/ Arthur Rinderknech (TEXAS A&M), 7-5
2.Austin Rapp/Joseph Di Giullo (UCLA) def. Hady Habib/Jordi Arconada (TEXAS A&M), 6-1
3.Aleksandre Bakshi/ Maxim Lunkin (TEXAS A&M) def. Maxime Cressy/ Ben Goldberg (UCLA), 6-4
Singles
1. #6 Arthur Rinderknech (TEXAS A&M) def. #60 Martin Redlicki (UCLA), 6-4, 6-2
2. Evan Zhu (UCLA) def. #48 Jordi Arconada (TEXAS A&M), 6-4, 6-3
3. AJ Catanzariti (TEXAS A&M) vs. Logan Staggs (UCLA), 6-2, 4-6, 2-3, uf
4. Maxime Cressy (UCLA) def. Valentin Vacherot (TEXAS A&M), 6-4, 6-4
5. Austin Rapp (UCLA) vs. Hady Habib (TEXAS A&M) 3-6, 6-3, 4-4, uf
6. Joseph DiGiulio (UCLA) def. Aleksandre Bakshi (TEXAS A&M), 7-5, 6-1
Doubles: (2,3,1) Singles (2,6,1,4)

UCLA HEAD COACH BILLY MARTIN
On today’s match...“I thought we came out and played good doubles. One was certainly tight, two really led us, winning that getting us on the board. Three was a little bit struggling, went down a break, broke back, got themselves in it. That’s the team at one, that’s really been so strong for us the whole year. Winning big matches. I think they’ve only lost a couple matches all year. I think from a coaching standpoint to have them playing the last match here at this big venue, big ending tournament is what you want, and they came through.”

On advancing to the quarterfinals...“I’m shocked we’re where we are. Very honestly. We lose our number one player a week be- fore the tournament. It’s been a weird set of events. We’ve been a pretty tight group this week and a half. We don't feel like we should be here. And we feel like no one thinks we should be here. We’re just fighting, and trying to find a way. To say we’re in the quarterfinals is great.”

MAXIME CRESSY
On today’s match...“I strive to focus point by point, it’s easier said than done. I was not very distracted with the scoreboard I just played my match. I served very well, my first serve percentage was very high. In the last game, I did only two second serves. Something I need to work on is increasing my points on the baseline, raising my level on baseline game. I played very well with my strengths. We’re not the favorites, but I still believe anything is possible. We’re three matches away from the NCAA championship.”

TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH STEVE DENTON
On today’s match...“Doubles is really important and we came up a little short there. UCLA did a good job of staying on top in the singles matches and kept the momentum on their side. That is what this game is about, momentum, and they were able to do that better than we were.”

 

 

The two-time defending national champion Virginia Cavaliers strolled into the quarterfinals for the 13th straight year with a pretty thorough 4-0 win over No. 15 Florida. Virginia went up early breaks at both No. 2 and No. 3 doubles and held on from there to win 6-4 at No. 2 and 6-2 at No. 3.  

Virginia took all six first sets in singles and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, Carl Soderlund, and JC Aragone would each win in straight sets with Aragone clinching at No. 5. Florida's Alfredo Perez served for the match twice at No. 1 but UVA's Alex Ritschard broke both times. 

 

 

#2 VIRGINA (31-1) 4, #15 FLORIDA (19-10) 0
Head Coaches: Brian Boland (Virginia) and Bryan Shelton (Florida)
Doubles
1.#2 Alfredo Perez/Johannes Ingildsen (FLA) vs. #17 Luca Corinteli/Carl Söderlund (UVA), 5-4*, uf
2.Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (UVA) def Maxx Lipman/Elliott Orkin (FLA), 6-4
3.Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (UVA) def. Joshua Wardell/Chace Perez-Blanco (FLA), 6-2
Singles
1. #8 Alfredo Perez (FLORIDA) vs. #91 Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA), 6-3, 6-6, uf
2. #14 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA) def. #85 Elliott Orkin (FLORIDA), 6-3, 6-2
3. Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA) def. Chase Perez-Blanco (FLORIDA), 6-1, 6-4
4. #40 Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA) vs. Maxx Lipman (FLORIDA), 6-3, 3-6, 1-1, uf
5. #109 J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. #123 Johannes Ingildsen (FLORIDA), 6-4, 6-4
6. #102 Henrik Wiersholm (VIRGINIA) vs. McClain Kessler (FLORIDA), 6-2, 6-5, uf
Order of Finish: Doubles: (3,2) Singles (2,3,5)
T-2:08

 

 

VIRGINIA HEAD COACH BRIAN BOLAND
On advancing to the quarterfinals...“It was great to come down to Athens and play the first round and get through it against an outstanding Florida team. I believe we came out with a lot of energy, executed and played well. We’re going to have to continue to get better with each match, but congratulations to Florida on a great season.”

J.C. ARAGONE
On advancing to the quarterfinals...“We came out with a lot of energy in doubles and I thought it was really impressive especial- ly against these guys who are really good in doubles. We really carried the momentum into singles, obviously it’s a tennis match and there’s a lot of momentum shifts. They were really good at the big moments and took their chances and played really well, but I thought we were in control for a lot of the match. It got a little tight at the end but we were lucky to close it out.”

FLORIDA HEAD COACH BRYAN SHELTON
On concluding the season...“Getting here is an accomplishment in itself. When you start the year, you look at it and you want to be in that nal 16 sight with a chance. I’m really proud of our guys, how hard they’ve worked, how they’ve lost this year and how they’ve won, and doing it the right way with character and class. Those are the things you want to see from your team and I feel like we got better as the season went along, so a couple real positives that we can build on. The culture’s right in our program, and I think the future is bright as well. “

On the incoming recruiting class...“We will have a new energy that will be great. Obviously, those guys are established players that have played around the world, so they won’t come in as the typical freshmen. I feel like these guys will come in and be impact players right away. The guys that we have returning will continue to get better and better, so looking forward to working with that group but certainly appreciate what our seniors brought to our program and how much they gave us during their four years with us.”

 

 

The top seed Wake Forest was pushed in a few spots but the match was never doubt as the Demon Deacons defeated Stanford 4-0. After splitting No. 2 and No. 3 doubles the point would be decided at No. 1. There were no breaks of serve until Wake broke Stanford's Yale Goldberg at love, via a double fault, to win 7-5. 

Wake carried the momentum from doubles into singles and took five opening. Petros Chrysochos blew past Tom Fawcett at No. 1 winning 6-2, 6-0 and Christian Seraphim wasn't far behind as he defeated Michael Genender 6-2, 6-2. Skander Mansouri would clinch the shutout with a 6-4, 6-2 win over David Wilczynski at No. 3 and after 2 hours and 2 minutes Wake Forest was moving on to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history. 

 

#1 WAKE FOREST (30-2) 4, #16 STANFORD (18-9) 0
Head Coaches: Tony Bresky (Wake Forest) and Paul Goldstein (Stanford)
Doubles
1. #4 Skander Mansouri/Christian Seraphim (WAKE FOREST) def. #54 Tom Fawcett/Yale Goldberg (STANFORD), 7-5
2.Michael Genender/Sameer Kumar (STANFORD) def. Borna Gojo/ Alan Gadjiev (WAKE FOREST), 6-4
3.Petros Chrysochos/Dennis Uspensky (WAKE FOREST) def. David Wilczynski/Bradnon Sutter (STANFORD), 6-3
Singles
1. #5 Petros Chrysochos (WAKE FOREST) def. #11 Tom Fawcett (STANFORD), 6-2, 6-0
2. #45 Borna Gojo (WAKE FOREST) vs. Sameer Kumar (STANFORD), 6-4, 2-5, uf
3. #13 Skander Mansouri (WAKE FOREST) def. David Wilczynski (STANFORD), 6-4, 6-2
4. #84 Christian Seraphim (WAKE FOREST) def. Michael Genender (STANFORD), 6-2, 6-2
5. Dennis Uspensky (WAKE FOREST) vs. Brandon Sutter (STANFORD), 3-6, 5-4, uf
6. Alan Gadjiev (WAKE FOREST) vs. William Genesen (STANFORD), 6-4, 2-4, uf
Doubles (2,3,1) Singles (1,4,3)

WAKE FOREST HEAD COACH TONY BRESKY
On today’s match...“Doubles we got off to a great start at court three. I think we struggled a little bit at court one, court two doubles we struggled a little bit, so it was really nice to get the doubles point at court one. They played a really good last game to break, I think that really built a lot of momentum for us. I felt like we were a little nervous to start, but once we got the nerves out, I think we played really well in singles. I think always the first round, the round of 16, we’ve never passed that, so I think the guys kind of knew that a little bit. I think they felt a little bit of the jitters, but they were excited to go, so I think once we got doubles out of the way, and singles, I think it helped. And I think it will help with our next match too.”

SKANDER MANSOURI
On today’s match...“This win was as good as every other win, and we want more. I think the doubles point is very important, but obviously it can go either way. We try our best to take that point, but it doesn’t really matter. Even if we are a point down, we can win every singles match. I think serving those two break points at 3-2, and earning the break at 3-0 was big because losing that game at 3-2 could have been a momentum changer. But I won that game and we can never know what would have happened if I had lost.”

STANFORD HEAD COACH PAUL GOLDSTEIN
On today’s match...“First, congrats to Wake Forest, that is a heck of a club there. In terms of positive takes, this is the most resilient bunch that I have been around and it has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with them throughout the year. They have dealt with some incredible adversity, not only with some injuries, but also with some off court stuff. I feel very proud of this team and how they have stayed the course throughout the year despite a lot of adversity. As a program we play for more than just ourselves and we made a stride as a program in this season in terms of hosting the NCAA’s at home for the first time in five years, and getting to this place. I am really happy for this group to be able to play at such an iconic tennis venue, so I am very happy for them. As a program, we are not at all where we need to be and where I want us to be, but man, did we take a step this year.”

Read 1470 times Last modified on Friday, 19 May 2017 13:32

1 comment

  • Comment Link Conway Friday, 19 May 2017 06:32 posted by Conway

    I agree with some of the coaches....the environment in Athens is amazing. I played there a few times in the 90's and the energy was always incredible. I personally think they should host it at least every other year. If you've never been to Athens for the tourney, treat yourself and go. The tennis, the tailgating, the town....it's a great experience. My semi picks are: Wake, UGA, TCU and Virg.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.