Saturday, 19 May 2018 01:00

Men's Elite 8 Is Set After Another Day of Indoor Tennis

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The men's Elite 8 is set with some great matchups in store for Sunday. Another day of rain forced play indoors with all eight matches played under a roof so after two days of play 14 of 16 matches have been played indoors in the national outdoor championship. The tournament host and top seed Wake Forest got some resistance from Ivy League champion Columbia and will now meet Illinois who ran right over TCU. The second seed UCLA got all it wanted and more from Michigan in the day's first match in Chapel Hill but advanced and will play a familiar foe on Sunday in crosstown rival USC who upset North Carolina with some strong, strong play in singles. The Big Ten champions Ohio State will meet the SEC champions Mississippi State after both won 4-1 matches over Minnesota and Texas. The last quarterfinal will be another All-SEC affair with Texas A&M set to meet Florida for the third time this season.

USC was playing three time zones from home in a match that started at 6 a.m. pacific in a venue 90 miles from its opponent but that didn't slow down the Trojans who advanced to the Elite 8 for the first time in three years with a 4-2 win. 

USC claimed the doubles point for the 23rd time in 28 matches with a 6-4 win at No. 2 and a 7-6(3) win at No. 3. UNC came back in singles and took four opening sets, and could have had all six, but the Tar Heels would only be able to close out two of those in straight sets.

UNC sophomore WIll Blumberg tied the match up with a 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 1 and freshman Mac Kiger gave UNC the lead with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 6. 

USC junior Laurens Verboven came back from 3-5 down in the first set against Robert Kelly to take the set 7-5 and then he'd go up an early break in the second and hold on to win 7-5, 6-4. 

USC freshman Daniel Cukierman trailed UNC freshman Benjamin Sigouin 5-2 in the first set but Cukierman won five straight to take the set 7-5 and then he won the second set in a tiebreak to give USC a 3-2 lead. 

USC senior Thibault Forget clinched the match with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Bo Boyden at No. 5. Boyden entered the match with a 23-1 dual-match record. 

USC will now played UCLA for the fourth time this year with the Bruins having won each of the three meetings. 

Post-Match Quotes

USC head coach Peter Smith
[Q] Having to play indoors and at 6 AM your time, were all of the elements against you?
[A] We got here very early and got up at 3:30 AM our time. I’m an early bird and didn’t need my alarm, but the college guys got used to it because we lift weight early in the morning. And one of the reasons we get up early is for this. We need to be
able to get up early and be physical.

[Q] How do you feel about the win?
[A] Well, we feel great. We have had our moments in this tournament the last two years in the round of 16, so to have a senior out there who has watched those very hard losses and to have him come through just makes you feel so great as a coach.

USC, Thibault Forget, senior, #5 singles
[Q] How nerve-racking was it to see all the North Carolina players and all of your teammates watching? You knew this was the clincher, didn’t you?

[A] Well, I’ve been doing this for four years and I have been in this position several times. From now on every match is my last because I am a senior and I just cherish every moment on the court. There are some nerves, but it is excitement. I am just so happy to compete, and to be able to win like this and have my team win is the most important thing.

[Q] Did you know it was the clincher?
[A] I figured it was, but I didn’t care. I don’t really try to look at the score. I do, but I try not to. He gives me serves and there is no thinking for me. Just executing every single play.

[Q] What was different in the second and third sets?
[A] I didn’t start good at all. I got broken in my short game very easily. He was shooting good and had momentum. I returned better in the second set and he started missing more. I had more confidence and started yelling more. He just started
missing and wasn’t the same player at all.

UNC head coach Sam Paul
Opening Statement: “I thought that it was a great match. The doubles came down to a breaker. I think that was a key point, the doubles point.
I’m proud of my team. You have to credit Southern Cal. They just outplayed us in some big points. They have a great team and a great program. I’m proud of our fight. We had our chances. We just didn’t capitalize.”

On Playing Indoors...“You just have to deal with it. It’s an adjustment and credit to Southern Cal for making it. I thought we played pretty well.” 

#10 [10] USC 4, #6 [7] North Carolina 2
Head Coaches: Sam Paul (UNC) and Peter Smith (USC)
Singles competition
1. #3 William Blumberg (UNC) def. #11 Brandon Holt (USC) 6-3, 6-0
2. #74 Daniel Cukierman (USC) def. #32 Benjamin Sigouin (UNC) 7-5, 7-6(2)
3. Simon Soendergaard (UNC) vs. Jack Jaede (USC) 7-6(5), 2-6, 0-2, unf.
4. Laurens Verboven (USC) def. #90 Robert Kelly (UNC) 7-5, 6-4
5. Thibault Forget (USC) def. Bo Boyden (UNC) 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
6. Mac Kiger (UNC) def. #123 Riley Smith (USC) 6-4, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. #2 William Blumberg/Robert Kelly (UNC) vs. #10 Brandon Holt/Riley Smith (USC) 6-6 (3-1), unf.
2. #9 Jack Jaede/Laurens Verboven (USC) def. Bo Boyden/Benjamin Slgouin (UNC) 6-4
3. Daniel Cukierman/Tanner Smith (USC) def. Mac Kiger/Simon Soendergaard (UNC) 7-6 (3)
Match Notes:
USC 20-8; National ranking #10
North Carolina 24-6; National ranking #6
Order of finish: Doubles: (2,3) Singles: (1,6,4,2,5)
Match Played Indoors at Wake Forest 

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UCLA won the doubles point for the 25th time in 31 matches and then fought off a tough Michigan team to win 4-2 in a match that was played in Chapel Hill. 

The Bruins picked up straight set wins from Martin Redlicki and Maxime Cressy at No. 1 and No. 5 to go ahead 3-0 before Michigan got on the board with a 6-2, 6-4 win from Mattias Siimar at No. 4. Michigan's Runhao Hua made it 3-2 with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-1 win at No. 2 but UCLA's Keegan Smith pulled away from Myles Schalet in the third set to clinch the match with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win. 

Post-Match Quotes

UCLA Head Coach Billy Martin
On today’s match...“I was quite apprehensive about this match. We haven’t played much indoor tennis since February. I know this is a good team and a very good indoor court-playing team so I knew we had our work cut out for us and sure enough it was a dog fight. We were fortunate to win the doubles point. It looked good for us at the beginning but they turned it around and fought back. It came down to our two freshmen at No. 3 and No. 6. Keegan Smith was able to pull it out in that No. 3 singles match.

UCLA Martin Redlicki, senior #1 singles and doubles player
On key to victory...“I think it started with doubles. We came out really hot in doubles. Evan (Zhu) and I from the get-go had chances on their serve and we were both serving really well. We didn’t face that much adversity when we were serving. The last game, we played a really good game and got the break for the first win. Both other teams were right there to win it for us. Coach had us ready to come out firing, because of how good of a doubles team Michigan is. We did a really good job of that. Then we got three singles wins. It was tight from start to finish, but we came out really strong.”

Michigan Head Coach Adam Steinberg
On what was the difference in today’s match...“They had the doubles point. You play the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and you have to take that first point. It’s not easy to win four points against a great team like UCLA. That was the difference for us. We got off to some slow starts in the singles. We have to take that doubles point. That’s a strength of our team and I don’t think we played very well. But that happens.”

#2 UCLA 4, #15 Michigan 2
5/18/2018 at Chapel Hill, N.C. (Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #1 Martin Redlicki (UCLA) def. #17 Alex Knight (MICH) 6-4, 6-2
2. #47 Runhao Hua (MICH) def. #81 Evan Zhu (UCLA) 6-1, 2-6, 6-1
3. #56 Keegan Smith (UCLA) def. Myles Schalet (MICH) 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
4. Mattias Siimar (MICH) def. #103 Logan Staggs (UCLA) 6-2, 6-4
5. Maxime Cressy (UCLA) def. Carter Lin (MICH) 6-3, 6-4
6. Connor Hance (UCLA) vs. Davis Crocker (MICH) 6-1, 4-6, 2-3 unfinished
Doubles competition
1. #29 Martin Redlicki/Evan Zhu (UCLA) def. Myles Schalet/Connor Johnston (MICH) 6-4
2. #16 Austin Rapp/Keegan Smith (UCLA) vs. #73 Runhao Hua/Mattias Siimar (MICH) 5-5, unfinished
3. Maxime Cressy/Bryce Pereira (UCLA) def. Alex Knight/Harrison Brown (MICH) 6-4
Match Notes:
Michigan 22-6; National ranking #15
UCLA 29-2; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (1,5,4,2,3)
Match Played Indoors at North Carolina 

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Ohio State advanced to the Elite 8 for the 13th time in school history by defeating Minnesota for the third time this season. The Buckeyes won the doubles point for the 19th time in a row, 30-4 on the year, with wins at No. 1 and No. 3. Ohio State added four first sets in singles and Mikael Torpegaard, Kyle Seelig, and Hunter Tubert would win in straight sets while Minnesota's lone point came from Jackson Allen at No. 5. 

Post-Match Quotes

Ohio State Head Coach Ty Tucker
You’ve beaten Minnesota three times this year. How satisfying is this win today?
“It is a great win. Obviously, we have been very nervous since Saturday when we punched our ticket here. We knew Minnesota is the real deal. They had us on the ropes. We slid by them in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The toughest two teams we played in the Big Ten were the two times we played Minnesota, so we knew that our hands were full.

They are a darn good team, but we’ve had our way with them the past few years. We were hoping that maybe they didn’t believe they could beat the Buckeyes. It was a tight match today and we were able to get through. Minnesota is a great team, hats off to Minnesota. Geoff Young does a great job and his guys fight hard. They deserved to be here. We know that nothing is easy.”

Hunter Tubert at No. 6 hasn’t played much singles but he did a good job today.
“Hunter is a tough kid. He is a guy who has been in an out of the lineup and he’s a guy who can handle that. He doesn’t hang his head when it isn’t his turn to play. He just goes out and competes like an animal. He likes to be a Buckeye. You can give him the ball, it doesn’t matter if he has a warm up, it doesn’t matter if he has food in his stomach, Hunter Tubert is coming to play.”

Ohio State Mikael Torpegaard, Senior #1 singles
You’re down a set point early in the first. At what point did that first set propel you into the second?
“It was huge being down. I lost to that guy last time in the Big Ten Tournament and I wanted revenge. He got up pretty early in the set and he is playing unbelievable. I am not playing bad at all but missed a few key points to go down. But I knew if I kept playing, kept grinding, that he would eventually stop playing at the level he was playing at the beginning which was unbelievably high. So props to him for being able to hold that in the beginning, but when I came back in the match fending off a couple of set points. In the tie breaker I had the margins on my side and after the first set I felt like a little bit of the gas went out of the balloon on his side. I started hitting the ball more freely, started serving a lot better and those were the key factors in the second set. I am very happy with the way it went.”

Minnesota Head Coach Geoff Young
Opening Statement:
“No. 2 doubles was really good for us today. They haven’t been that close in recent matches, so that was good to see. It was a tough start at 1 and 3 (doubles). Otherwise, I think that doubles point might have been different. Ohio State is a really tough team. We knew that. We knew that we would have to use our chances. The guys battled hard. I thought Ohio State played well. This team has a lot to be proud of.”

On Moving Indoors:
“Both teams play a lot indoors and both teams have been practicing a lot outside in the last week, so I don’t think it made a difference.” 

#3 [3] Ohio State 4, #37 Minnesota 1
Head Coaches: Ty Tucker (Ohio State) and Geoff Young (Minnesota)
Singles competition
1. #6 Mikael Torpegaard (Ohio State) def. #53 Felix Corwin (Minnesota) 7-6(5), 6-0
2. #41 JJ Wolf (Ohio State) vs. #85 Matic Spec (Minnesota) 4-6, 5-4, unf.
3. #92 John McNalley (Ohio State) vs. #79 Stefan Milicevic (Minnesota) 6-2, 6-5, unf.
4 #96 Kyle Seelig (Ohio State) def. Josip Krstanovic (Minnesota) 6-3, 7-5
5. Jackson Allen (Minnesota) def. #112 Martin Joyce (Ohio State) 6-3, 6-4
6. Hunter Tubert (Ohio State) vs. Eli Ogilvy (Minnesota) 6-3, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. Martin Joyce/JJ Wolf (Ohio State) def. Felix Corwin/Josip Krstanovic (Minnesota) 6-4
2. #61 Matic Spec/Jystyn Levin (Minnesota) def. Mikael Torpegaard/John McNally (Ohio State) 6-4
3. Matt Mendez/Hunter Tubert (Ohio State) def. Stefan Milicevic/Marino Alpeza (Minnesota) 6-1
Match Notes:
Ohio State 32-2; National ranking #3
Minnesota 17-9; National ranking #37
Order of finish: Doubles: (3,2,1) Singles: (6,4,5,1)
Match Played Indoors at Wake Forest 

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Mississippi State advanced to the Elite 8 for the first time since 1998 with a 4-1 win over Texas. The Bulldogs took the double point and then added five first sets in singles. MSU's Gio Oradini was the Bulldog to finish in straight sets while Texas's Rodrigo Banzer won in straight sets at No. 5. 

MSU's Strahinja Rakic made it 3-1 with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win at No. 3 but Texas would have break leads in the third set in each of the three remaining matches. 

One by one MSU erased the breaks on each court and Trevor Foshey would push State over the top with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win at No. 6.

Post-Match Quotes

Mississippi State Head Coach Matt Roberts
“Give Texas credit for how hard they fought in the second sets. They really made us feel uncomfortable there and into the third sets. We were down in three of those third sets. I am really proud of our guys and how they handled themselves. We used each other to find our strength and we had one guy have a great push at the end to clinch it. I had all the confidence in all three of those guys that they would find a way to get the win.”

Mississippi State Trevor Foshey, No. 6 singles
“The match was definitely a war, but I found a way to get it done. I was down a break, 4-3, in the third, but I was able to play three really good games from 3-4 to 6-4. I guess I play well when I’m under pressure, but it helps when I know that my teammates have my back.”

Texas Head Coach Michael Center
“Mississippi State has a really good team and I thought that they sustained their level better than we did today. We had opportunities in the doubles and early in some of the singles, but we didn’t quite execute. I thought we had some lapses at times that put us behind where we lost five first sets. We were actually up in the third in each of the last three matches and it looked like we had an opportunity, but we just didn’t execute well enough all day long.” 

#7 [6] Mississippi State 4, #12 [11] Texas 1
Head Coaches: Matt Roberts (Mississippi State) and Michael Center (Texas)
Singles competition
1. #2 Nuno Borges (Mississippi State) vs. #110 Christian Sigsgaard (Texas) 7-6(3), 4-6, 5-4, unf.
2. #23 Giovani Oradini (Mississippi State) def. #52 Yuya Ito (Texas) 6-2, 6-3
3. #84 Strahinja Rakic (Mississippi State) vs. #89 Harrison Scott (Texas) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
4. Niclas Braun (Mississippi State) vs. #93 Leonardo Telles (Texas) 6-1, 4-6, 4-4, unf.
5. #104 Rodrigo Banzer (Texas) def. Florida Broska (Mississippi State) 6-4, 6-1
6. Trevor Foshey (Mississippi State) vs. Adrian Ortiz (Texas) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. #1 Nuno Borges/Strahinja Rakic (Mississippi State) def. #39 Harrison Scott/Christian Sigsgaard (Texas) 6-4
2. Leonardo Telles/Adrian Ortiz (Texas) def. #38 Niclas Braun/Giovanni Oradini (Mississippi State) 6-3
3. Florian Broska/Trevor Foshey (Mississippi State) vs. Yuya Ito/Colin Markes (Texas) 6-4
Match Notes:
Mississippi State 23-2; National ranking #7
Texas 19-7; National ranking #12
Order of finish: Doubles: (3,2,1) Singles: (2,5,3,6)
Match Played Indoors at North Carolina

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Illinois advanced to the Elite 8 for the first time since making the finals in 2007 with an impressive 4-0 win over TCU. The Illini won the doubles point for the 20th time in 31 matches after winning a tiebreak at No. 1 doubles in a match where TCU had a match point at 7-6.

Illinois took all six first sets in singles and despite a charge by TCU in the second sets the Illini would collect wins from Aron Hiltzik, Aleks Kovacevic, and Caleb Chakravarthi.

Post-Match Quotes

Illinois Head Coach Brad Dancer
“I’m not sure if we were fortunate to win that doubles point, but it wasn’t very pretty down the stretch of that No. 1 doubles match. I think our guys did a good job of getting through the nerves and playing the next point. In singles, we got off to an unbelievable start by winning all these sets. I just knew that TCU is such a great program that they were going to make a push. They made that push and I was proud of our guys for weathering that storm, battling back and getting the job done. It is great to move on. It has been a while since we have done that.”

Illinois No. 4 sophomore Aleks Kovacevic
“I think the doubles point was very important and it was a very tight match at No. 1. Whichever team won that match was going to have a lot of momentum into singles because of how much energy both teams put into doubles. We put our heads down and went to work in singles. I, personally, got up a set and then lost some focus and lost the second set. I came right back to it and clinched the match.”

TCU Head Coach David Roditi
“I am proud of what our team was able to accomplish this year, considering everything we went through since the start of the season. I think we got better as a team and came together as a team. Today, we didn’t quite play at the level that we needed to play at certain spots. There were some key matches for us and we didn’t win them. Credit to Illinois for beating us at No. 1 doubles. We didn’t do a good job of getting our guys back after losing that point. That doubles point, we had match points, and we let it affect us way too long in singles. We gave them too big of a lead. We didn’t start playing until we had lost six first sets. That is my disappointment as a coach, that we didn’t do a good job of getting them ready for singles. Illinois is a great team and I wish them all the best.”

#9 Illinois 4, #8 TCU 0
May 18, 2018 at Chapel Hill, N.C. (Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #13 Aleks Vukic (ILL) vs. #21 Alex Rybakov (TCU) 6-3, 2-6, 3-3, unfinished
2. #87 Alex Brown (ILL) vs. #65 Trevor Johnson (TCU) 6-4, 6-7, 1-1, unfinished
3. Aron Hiltzik (ILL) def. #114 Guillermo Nuñez (TCU) 6-2, 7-5
4. Aleks Kovacevic (ILL) def. Reese Stalder (TCU) 6-3, 2-6, 6-2
5. Zeke Clark (ILL) vs. Eduardo Roldan (TCU) 6-3, 5-5, unfinished
6. Caleb Chakravarthi (ILL) def. Max Kurzban (TCU) 6-0, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. Alex Brown/Caleb Chakravarthi (ILL) def. #6 Guillermo Nuñez/Alex Rybakov (TCU) 7-6 (9-7)
2. Trevor Johnson/Reese Stalder (TCU) def. Aron Hiltzik/Aleks Kovacevic (ILL) 6-3
3. Aleks Vukic/Vuk Budic (ILL) def. Max Kurzban/Eduardo Roldan (TCU) 6-4
Match Notes:
TCU 20-5; National ranking #8
Illinois 24-7; National ranking #9
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (6,3,4)
Match Played Indoors at North Carolina

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Wake Forest advanced to the Elite 8 for the second year in a row with a 4-1 win over Columbia. Wake took the early momentum by taking the doubles point for the 23rd time in 30 matches with wins at No. 2 and No. 3. Each team took three first sets in singles and Wake would finish all three of its first sets in straight sets with Borna Gojo clinching at No. 1 with a 7-5, 6-3 win. 

Post-Match Quotes

Wake Forest head coach Tony Bresky
On the match:
“We played some good doubles. Obviously, it was nice to get off to a good start. We knew Columbia was a great team. They’re a little more accustomed to playing indoors. It rained, and there’s not much we can do about that. Last week it was 95 and sunny and this week we’re playing indoors. Maybe Sunday we’ll have to play outside in some kind of big wind. If we had our choice, we’d probably prefer to play that match outdoors but Mother Nature didn’t give us that chance. Columbia is a real good team, well-coached, battled hard. It was nice to get the win.”

On freshman Bar Botzer, #5 singles:
“Bar is definitely not your average freshman (after having served in the Israeli Defense Force). He means a ton, from his results to the amount he wins in singles and doubles but just his maturity. He’s just a great kid. He has a really good perspective. He’s so appreciative to be at Wake Forest, to be a part of our program. It’s so much better than he thought he could be. It’s really nice when you get someone
who really appreciates the opportunities that we provide. He’s a pleasure to coach.”

On the atmosphere.
“It was fantastic. Our guys are pretty accustomed to that. Our crowds are so supportive of us. With the NCAAs here, today was even better. The guys knew that. We talked about not getting too emotional, too riled up, just focus on the games. It really helps to have a good crowd and it helped push us forward.”

Wake Forest freshman Bar Botzer, No. 4 Singles
“The doubles points is always a huge boost morally, but as our coach says, ‘It’s just a warm-up.’ And singles, if we play our best in singles I think it’s going to be really hard to beat us. And I wasn’t too focused on other courts. I just saw the two courts next me, so I was doing pretty well throughout the match.”

Columbia Head Coach Bid Goswami:
“I thought we did well. It’s always tougher when you go indoors to someone else’s courts. They’re used to these courts. I thought we played pretty well. We had a chance in the first doubles with an early break, but we didn’t capitalize. When you give too many chances to a good team, they take advantage of them. We didn’t play very well at third doubles. I think they were undefeated at third doubles. Those guys are good. (Christian) Seraphim has a big serve. He’s a very good doubles player. We needed the doubles point on the road to make it a little bit tougher on them. We competed well. Those guys are a very good team, which is why they’re number one. We didn’t go away.”

On Wake Forest’s home crowd:
“It always makes a difference, but I thought we were up for it. These courts are a lot like ours. I felt like we played pretty well at first doubles. We’ll work hard and come back better the next time.

#1 Wake Forest 4, #16 Columbia 1
5/18/ 2018 at Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #7 Borna Gojo (WF) def. #27 Victor Pham (COL) 7-5, 6-3
2. #4 Petros Chrysochos (WF) def. #64 Jackie Tang (COL) 6-3, 6-0
3. #38 Skander Mansouri (WF) vs. Jack Lin (COL) 3-6, 5-5, unfinished
4. Bar Botzer (WF) def. Adam Ambrozy (COL) 6-1, 6-4
5. Austen Huang (COL) def. Christian Seraphim (WF) 6-1, 6-4
6. Julian Zlobinsky (WF) vs. Timothy Wang (COL) 4-6, 6-4, unfinished
Doubles competition
1. #21 Borna Gojo/Skander Mansouri (WF) vs. #41 Victor Pham/Jackie Tang (COL) 5-4, unfinished
2. #35 Bar Botzer/Petros Chrysochos (WF) def. #43 Jack Lin/William Matheson (COL) 6-2
3. #46 Christian Seraphim/Ian Dempster (WF) def. Adam Ambrozy/Michal Rolski (COL) 6-3
Match Notes
Columbia 19-5; National ranking #16
Wake Forest 28-2; National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (2,4,5,1)
Match Played Indoors at Wake Forest 

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Texas A&M advanced to the Elite 8 for the third time in program history with a 4-0 win over Alabama. The Aggies won the doubles point for the 19th time on the year with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 and then they added five first sets in singles. Arthur Rinderknech, Jordi Arconada, and Valentin Vacherot picked up straight set wins at No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 to complete the shutout. 

Post-Match Quotes

Texas A&M Head Coach Steve Denton:
Opening Statement:
“I thought our guys came out and competed well today. The conditions are a lot different, obviously. This has been a difficult tournament for everybody because of all the rain and not getting to practice like we are normally accustomed to. I thought we competed well. I didn’t think we necessarily played that well, but we competed well and it’s great to get through that match and hopefully we will get better as
this tournament goes on.”

On Sunday’s match against Florida or Ole Miss:
“We’ve just got to take care of ourselves and get ourselves ready and play at a high level. If we compete hard and have good energy, if our attitude is right, then we have a great chance. We’re familiar with both teams and we just need to execute and play well.”

On AJ Catanzariti and Arthur Rinderknech’s doubles performance:
“I thought early on, like a lot of teams, they were struggling returning serves. Everything is a little bit quicker. We did a good job holding serve and, as they adjusted to the speed, we put together a pretty good return game and that was the difference.”

On five first-set singles wins:
“You got to stay on these guys. Otherwise, you give them hope and they can get back in the match. We knew that Alabama was going to be real excited. They’ve had a really good run here in the last week or two. They gained a lot of confidence in winning their region. We knew that they were going to come out fired up against us and they were. I was really happy for (Juan) Carlos (Aguilar) to come back and
win that first set. Once we were able to win that first set, everybody relaxed and played a little better tennis.”

On Jordi Arconada’s performance:
“He was really tenacious as always. He’s always going after it. He moves great and competes really, really well. I’m proud of him. He’s been a great asset for us over the past four years and it’s great to see him continue the success that he’s had.”

Valentin Vacherot (Texas A&M clinching player)
On Sending his team to the quarterfinals:
“It feels pretty good. I think we played pretty good in singles. I didn’t see all our guys, Jordi (Arconada). I’m playing some of my best tennis right now. I’m playing with a lot of confidence. I think that’s been good for me. In the first set, I was up, 5-1, then the guy came back to 5-4, but I ended up winning it 6-4. Then, in the second set, I was good on my serve and I broke him once and finished on my serve.

On the next round against either Florida or Ole Miss:
“Florida or Ole Miss. It’s two SEC teams. We’ve played Florida twice already. Once at the National Indoors. I know who I’m probably going to play on both teams. We’re looking forward to Sunday and trying to get to the final four.”

Alabama Head Coach George Husack:
On the team’s postseason run:
“It was definitely exciting and something for us to set as the standard now. This is where we want to be, but tonight we got beat by a better team. The remaining courts were right there, so doubles was important. Overall, I’m really proud of the team and the new standard they have set for our program.”

Takeaways from tonight’s match:
“We just need to be a little bit better. There were a couple of missed opportunities. When they had break opportunities in doubles, they capitalized. We have to be at that level to be able to capitalize. If not, we have three matches here that are level and they were just better on the other three courts. We are right there. We have everyone back next year. We will be locked and loaded and ready to go for next season.”

#5 Texas A&M 4, #42 Alabama 0
5/18/ 2018 at Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #5 Patrick Kypson (TAMU) vs. #10 Mazen Osama (BAMA) 6-3, 3-6, 0-0, unfinished
2. #12 Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. Patrick Kaukovalta (BAMA) 6-4, 6-1
3. #48 Jordi Arconada (TAMU) def. Thibault Cancel (BAMA) 6-3, 6-3
4. #72 Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) def. Edson Ortiz (BAMA) 6-4, 6-4
5. Juan Carlos Aguilar (TAMU) vs. Alexey Nesterov (BAMA) 7-5, 1-2, unfinished
6. Barnaby Smith (TAMU) vs. Zhe Zhou (BAMA) 4-6, 3-3, unfinished
Doubles competition
1. #3 Juan Carlos Aguilar/Jordi Arconada (TAMU) def. #26 Mazen Osama/Edson Ortiz (BAMA) 6-3
2. Arthur Rinderknech/AJ Catanzariti (TAMU) def. Thibault Cancel/Alexey Nesterov (BAMA) 6-3
3. Patrick Kaukovalta/Zhe Zhou (BAMA) def. Patrick Kypson/Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) 5-3
Match Notes:
Alabama 20-13; National ranking #42
Texas A&M 25--5; National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (3,2,4)
Match Played Indoors at Wake Forest

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Florida is back in the Elite 8 for the second time in the last four years after defeating Ole Miss 4-3. The Rebels took the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and No. 3 but Florida regained the edge in singles with four first sets. Oliver Crawford, Alfredo Perez, and Chase Perez-Blanco would win in straight sets for Florida while Grey Hamilton won in straight sets for Ole Miss. 

Ole Miss's Tim Sandkaulen tied the match at 3-3 with a three set win at No. 2 but Florida's McClain Kessler came back from 2-0 down in the third to clinch with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Finn Reynolds. 

Post-Match Quotes

Florida’s Head Coach Bryan Shelton
On the key to winning tonight’s match...
“We had to stay with it. It was one of those nights where Ole Miss just came out and was very resilient in the doubles point. We thought we had it and they battled back. For us, it was a war of attrition in here. It’s humid and hot and the air was not moving. Our guys were sweating profusely but in the end we hung in there long enough to get the job done. I’m proud of our guys.”

Florida’s McClain Kessler, junior, No. 6 singles
On the match coming down to him at No. 6 singles...
“That’s my favorite moment. I feel like nine out of 10 times when I get in that moment, I’m going to come through. I start to play better. Everyone has their eyes on me and I don’t know why it happens but it does. It comes down to who gets the luckier point and Reynolds was playing insane tennis. I got more lucky than he did. It’s awesome. I feel good about it.”

Ole Miss Head Coach Toby Hansson
On today’s match and their road to the Round of 16...
“We’ve been playing well in doubles lately and we knew that might be an important point here today as well. I didn’t feel like it was a necessity to win that point to be in this battle today but we played well again in doubles. The key to getting to this point was that we were able to overcome adversity the whole year. We’ve had some issues with the team as far as health goes but what we’ve been able to do is respond. We’ve handled it the right way and I’m proud of the guys and the way they’ve been competing all year. They left it all out there on the court.”

#13 Florida 4, #38 Ole Miss 3
Head Coaches: Bryan Shelton (Florida) and Toby Hansson (Ole Miss)
Singles competition
1. #49 Oliver Crawford (FLORIDA) def. #45 Gustav Hansson (OLE MISS) 6-1, 6-1
2. #33 Tim Sandkaulen (OLE MISS) def. #28 Johanes Ingildsen (FLORIDA) 2-6, 6-3, 5-3, default
3. #14 Alfredo Perez (FLORIDA) def. #107 Filip Kraljevic (OLE MISS) 6-4, 6-2
4. Grey Hamilton (OLE MISS) def. Andy Andrade (FLORIDA) 6-1, 6-4
5. Chase Perez-Blanco (FLORIDA) def. Fabian Fallert (OLE MISS) 6-3, 6-4
6. McClain Kessler (FLORIDA) vs. Finn Reynolds (OLE MISS) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #5 Oliver Perez/Johanes Ingildsen (FLORIDA) def. #22 Tim Sandkaulen/Grey Hamilton (OLE MISS) 6-2
2. #62 Filip Kraljevic/Zvonimir Babic (OLE MISS) def. #42 Chase Perez-Blanco/Oliver Crawford (FLORIDA) 6-4
3. Fabian Fallert/Finn Reynolds (OLE MISS) def. #36 Duarte Vale/McClain Kessler (FLORIDA) 7-5
Match Notes:
Florida 19-9; National ranking #13
Ole Miss 16-13; National ranking #38
Order of finish: Doubles: (1,2,3) Singles: (1,4,5,3,2,6)
Match Played Indoors at North Carolina

 

Quarterfinals (Sunday)
[1] Wake Forest vs. [8] Illinois
[5] Texas A&M vs. [12] Florida
[3] Ohio State vs. [6] Mississippi State
[2] UCLA vs. [10] USC
Read 1475 times Last modified on Saturday, 19 May 2018 04:28

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