Sunday, 28 May 2017 19:47

NCAA Singles/Doubles Semifinal Recap - Blumberg/Kwiatkowski To Meet Again, Routliffe Chasing History

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Virginia senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and North Carolina freshman William Blumberg will meet for the fourth time this season after each advanced to the finals of the NCAA Singles Championship with straight set wins. Kwiatkowski defeated Stanford junior Tom Fawcett 6-3, 6-2 while Blumberg knocked off the SEC Player of the Year in Mississippi State sophomore Nuno Borges 6-2, 7-6(1).

Kwiatkowski will attempt to become Virginia's third NCAA singles champion with Ryan Shane winning in 2015 and Somdev Devvarman winning in 2007 and 2008. North Carolina has never had a male singles champion though Jamie Loeb won the women's title in 2015.

Blumberg won the most recent meeting last Tuesday in the team finals 6-3, 6-2 and he also won 7-5, 6-4 during the ACC Tournament. The first meeting occurred during the National Team Indoors when Blumberg led 4-2 in the third set in a match that went unfinished. 

The last time two players met in the final with neither playing at No. 1 singles during the team event was in 2009 when Ole Miss freshman Devin Britton defeated Ohio State senior Steven Moneke - both played at No. 2 for their respective teams. 

Thai-Son Kwiatkowski on today’s match...“This many matches in the tournament, you’re feeling pretty good. It’s just about going out there and trying to put the nerves aside and playing as hard as you can. Every match I step out here, it could be my last one because I’m a senior and my time’s running out. Tomorrow for sure is going to be my last match, so I’m just going to go out and enjoy the best I can.”

On facing Fawcett...“Fawcett’s a really strong guy and has a really good serve. Very good game. I just have to do my best to play very good defense and when my opportunities are there, try to take it. Fawcett can control the court very well and if I get on the defense, it’s going to be a tough match for me.”

William Blumberg on making it to the finals as a freshman...“It’s incredible. I honestly couldn’t have even dreamed of something like this. My game has just been clicking at the right time. I worked hard before this to get in shape and I’ve been feeling pretty good and doing pretty well. I’m honestly just really happy.”

Men's Semifinals (Sunday)
#14 [9-16] Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA) def#11 [8] Tom Fawcett (STANFORD) 6-3, 6-2
#16 [9-16] William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #4 [2] Nuno Borges (MISSISSIPPI STATE) 6-2, 7-6(1)
Men's Final (Monday)
#14 [9-16] Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA) vs. #16 [9-16] William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) - 11 a.m. ET
Michigan sophomore Brienne Minor advanced to the final with a three-set win over Vanderbilt senior Sydney Campbell. After dropping the first set in a tiebreak, Minor broke a 5-5 tie in the second set and won the final eight games of the match to take it 6-7, 7-5, 6-0. 

Brienne Minor on outlasting Campbell in the end...“Going into the third set, I knew she would come out swinging -- she always does-- so I knew I had to be ready for those deep balls. I did my best to defend against her hard balls and tried to just step up and play my game. I think that is what I do best, when I step up on the baseline and play my game. Luckily that worked.”

On what went well for her...“I think that my serve worked well, especially at the end of the match. I tried to mix it up on her and keep her guessing. I thought that was a huge help.”

On mindset going into the final...“I’m just getting excited for it. I want to go out there and try to have fun and relax. Try not to get too nervous.”

Florida senior Belinda Woolcock booked her spot in the final with a three-set win over Miami freshman Estela Perez-Somarriba in a match that looked like it'd finish about an hour before it did. Woolcock had a 6-1, 5-1 lead but Perez-Somarriba won the next six games, which included fighting off three match points, to take the set 7-5. Woolcock righted the ship in the third set and jumped out to a 4-1 and would break Perez-Somarriba to win it 6-1, 5-7, 6-3. 
Belinda Woolcock on today’s match...“Yeah, I am super happy to finish the match strong. She is a tough opponent. She fought really well, and didn’t give anything away at the end so I had to really stick to my game plan, and stay positive. She fought really well, so for me, I was really happy, even though I lost the chance to close out the match on the second set, I didn’t dwell on the negative, and I just finished off super strong in the third.”


On mindset of going into the final...“I don’t know her too well, but I focused on trying to keep the same mindset and play the way I have been playing all tournament. I am just going to go out there and keep on doing what I have been doing because it has been working.

On what went well for her...“My aggressive game, playing my game style, playing my game and moving very well, and using my athleticism. Yeah, I think that is what I’m going to do tomorrow.”

Michigan has never had a singles or doubles champion and Florida's last singles champion was Jill Craybas in 1996. 
Women's Semifinals (Sunday)
#24 Brienne Minor (MICHIGAN) def. #15 [9-16] Sydney Campbell (VANDERBILT) 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-0
#6 [6] Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. #40 Estela Perez-Somarriba (MIAMI) 6-1, 5-7, 6-3
Women's Final (Monday) 
#6 [6] Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) vs. #24 Brienne Minor (MICHIGAN) - 11 a.m. ET
The top seeds from Georgia, sophomore Jan Zielinski and freshman Robert Loeb, advanced to the finals with a 6-3, 7-6(4) win over TCU senior Jerry Lopez and sophomore Reese Stalder. There was only break of serve in the match and it came when Zielinski and Loeb broke for 4-2 in the first set.
The last time Georgia won the NCAA Doubles Championship was in 2005 when John Isner and Antonio Ruiz defeated LSU's Mark Growcott and Ken Skupski 7-6, 7-5. 
Georgia's recap has some highlights and an interview with Zielinski and Loeb. 
TCU’s Jerry Lopez on today’s match...“It was a great experience. All of the credit to the Georgia boys--they have all of the pressure to play well since they are playing at home. They came out and played better than us and took the win.” 
Lopez on playing with Stalder...“It has been great. Since the first tournament we have played together, his freshman year and my junior year, I could not have chosen a better partner or a better person to share this experience with.”

Georgia’s Robert Loeb on advancing...“We are super excited. It was a tough end to the season for the team, but I think we bounced back really well. We are super excited.”

Loeb on today’s match...“We thought they were a pretty good team, so I knew we needed to be on top of our game. The first set we played really, really well. They didn’t really miss anything in the second set, they started playing a little bit better. Our level may have dropped a little bit, but in the tiebreaker, we started playing a lot better again and started making more returns.”

Jan Zielinski on today’s match...“The break in the first set was a big game. We broke them then we held for the set, and that was a good game. The break was the biggest shift in momentum.”



Oklahoma senior Andrew Harris and junior Spencer Papa advanced to the final with a 4-6, 6-3, 12-10 win over the No. 4 seed Wake Forest's Christian Seraphim and Skander Mansouri. Wake broke for 2-1 in the first and took the set 6-4 but in the second OU broke for 3-1 and took the set 6-3. In the third set supertiebreak, OU jumped out to a 5-2 lead but Wake won four straight to go up a mini-break at 6-5. After an exchange of mini-breaks, OU fought off a match point when serving at 8-9 and then they fought off another match point at 9-10 when Mansouri went long on a forehand. OU won the next two points to close it out 12-10.
Oklahoma has never had a NCAA singles or doubles champion. 
OU's recap has some highlights courtesy of the Playsight feed. 

Wake Forest’s Christian Seraphim on playing with his partner Mansouri...“It is just fun being out there. We trust each other and communicate well. We also have a great friendship, so it has always been fun playing out there with him (Mansouri).

Seraphim on the success of this season and bringing it into next season...“We want to try to keep up the good work. We were very close to achieving what we wanted, so maybe another year of hard work we will be able to reach our goal.”

Oklahoma’s Spencer Papa on the match today...“Just being able to pull through. It is not every day you get to play for a NCAA Championship, so it just feels good.”

Papa on playing doubles with Harris...“Every match could be his last, so it is fun to play for him. We have a good connection on the court, so we always have a lot of fun.”

Oklahoma’s Andrew Harris on playing in the NCAA Championship his senior year...“I am enjoying every moment of this. This is my last college match ever. I am just trying to enjoy this time with my team and Spencer (Papa). I am having a blast and trying to ride this fun momentum wave to a championship.”

Men's Doubles Semifinals (Sunday)
#1 [1] Robert Loeb/Jan Zielinski (UGA) def. #25 Jerry Lopez/Reese Stadler (TCU) 6-3, 7-6(4)
#15 Andrew Harris/Spencer Papa (OKLA) def. #4 [4] Skander Mansouri/Christian Seraphim (WAKE) 4-6, 6-3, 12-10
Men's Doubles Final
#1 [1] Robert Loeb/Jan Zielinski (UGA) vs. #15 Andrew Harris/Spencer Papa (OKLA) - 1 p.m. ET



Alabama senior Erin Routliffe and freshman Maddie Pothoff cruised past LSU's Foster and Valle Costa 6-1, 6-1 which means Routliffe will have a chance to win a third NCAA Doubles Championship on Monday. Routliffe teamed with Maya Jansen to win titles in 2014 and 2015 but Jansen transferred to Cal this year and almost set up an interesting final but she and Maegan Manasse fell to Ohio State's Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase 6-2, 6-3. Ohio State has never had a women's singles or doubles champion. 

There has only been one other three time NCAA Women's Doubles Champion and that came when Cal's Amy Jensen won three straight from 1998-2000. 

Ohio State’s Di Lorenzo on today’s match...“I think we started off a little slow. Maybe we were a bit distracted or maybe because we were not moving our feet as fast as we should, but we started getting our foot work down and Miho (Kowase) began making her great plays. Once we got into the game completely and into our game plan mentally, we made it our game and came out with the victory.”

Di Lorenzo on tomorrow’s championship match...“We want to just keep doing what we have been doing. Whoever we play is going to be a really tough team, but we have to come out and play as well as we can. We need to come out aggressive and make sure we stick to our game plan.”

California’s Manasse on the tournament as a whole...“We had a lot of fun here but this was not the way we wanted to go out. They (Ohio State) played great. I had so much fun playing with Maya (Jansen) this season and I could not have asked for a better season.”

California’s Jansen on playing with Manasse...“We have a lot of fun playing together. We are roommates so it has been more than fun playing our last season together.”

Alabama’s Routliffe on the quick win...“We played them earlier in the season and we knew they were a really good team. Being a senior and facing them at least four times, I knew how good they were. I told Maddie (Pothoff) before the match to just focus on our strengths and play as aggressive as we could. I think we did that from the very beginning and we played well overall.”

Routliffe on playing for her third national championship...
“I try not to think about it--it is a lot of pressure, but pressure is a privilege. But we are just focused on our game plan and fighting our butts off and competing for Alabama as best as we can.”

LSU’s Valle Costa on reaching the Final Four...“This was my senior so I am really happy that we finished this way. I have never made it this far in my four years, so I am really proud and proud of this team. Even though it was not the outcome we wanted, I am beyond proud of our effort and our team play overall.”

Valle Costa on the tournament environment...“It is definitely great. I could not be more proud to say good-bye this way. It is always a pleasure playing for LSU and having success for this team.”

Women's Doubles Semifinals
#18 Francesca Di Lorenzo/Miho Kowase (OHIO STATE) vs. #34 Maya Jansen/Maegan Manasse (CALIFORNIA) 6-2, 6-3
#5 [5] Maddie Pothoff/Erin Routliffe (ALABAMA) vs. #16 Ryann Foster/Joana Valle Costa (LSU) 6-1, 6-1
Women's Doubles Final
#5 [5] Maddie Pothoff/Erin Routliffe (ALABAMA) vs. #18 Francesca Di Lorenzo/Miho Kowase (OHIO STATE) - 1 p.m. ET
As a reminder all the finals will be broadcast live on tomorrow so make sure you tune in to hear the broadcast. 
Read 1236 times Last modified on Monday, 29 May 2017 10:30

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