The Buckeyes, who were 1-1 when losing the doubles point (win vs. Michigan/loss vs. Texas), bounced back in singles and claimed four opening sets but they'd quickly find themselves in an even bigger hole after a couple of dominating wins by UNC at No. 4 and No. 5.
UNC freshman Brian Cernoch, who clinched the Round of 16 win over USC, made it 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-0 win over OSU senior Martin Joyce at No. 4 singles. Shortly thereafter UNC senior Bo Boyden would make it 3-0 with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Ohio State redshirt junior Alex Kobelt at No. 5 singles. Kobelt entered the match with a 20-2 dual-match record while Boyden was an equally as impressive 20-3.
Despite trailing 3-0, Ohio State was in good shape on the other four courts with JJ Wolf, John McNally, Kyle Seelig, and Hunter Tubert each up a set and a break.
Ohio State redshirt junior Kyle Seelig would put the Buckeyes on the board with a 6-3, 6-4 win over UNC junior Josh Peck at No. 3. Seelig broke Peck to go up 5-3 in the first and then served it out to take it 6-3. In the second set, Seelig broke Peck on the deciding point for 3-2 and then a few games later he served it out from 40/30.
Ohio State junior JJ Wolf would trim the UNC lead to 3-2 with a straight set win over UNC junior Will Blumberg at No. 1. Wolf jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first set but Blumberg took the next four games to go up 4-2. Wolf evened it up at 4-4 and then Blumberg held from 40/30 for 5-4. Blumberg appeared to injure his groin or pull a hamstring on the 30-all point and despite getting the hold he wouldn't be the same afterwards. Blumberg took a medical timeout in Wolf's next service game and then after Wolf held he'd break Blumberg from 15/40 to go up 6-5. Wolf served out the set at love to take it 7-5 and then in the second set he'd get the lone break to go up 3-2 before serving it out at love to win 7-5, 6-4.
Ohio State senior Hunter Tubert had a commanding 6-4, 4-0 lead at No. 6 against UNC junior Simon Soendergaard however in a blink of an eye the lead would vanish. Soendergaard fought off a break point to hold on the deciding point for 1-4 and then he'd add another 5 games to take the set 6-4.
While Soendergaard was rallying at No. 6, sophomore Ben Sigouin was doing the same at No. 2 against Ohio State sophomore John McNally.
McNally seemed to have Sigouin on the ropes after taking the opening set 6-3 and then going up 2-0 in the second (won eight of the first nine points of the second set) but Sigouin started turning things around with a love hold for 1-2. McNally went up 40/15 on his next service game but Sigouin took the next three points to break for 2-2 and then Sigouin held at love again to go up 3-2. After an exchange of holds, Sigouin broke from 15/40 to go up 5-3 and then he served out the set from 40/15 to take it 6-3.
Sigouin took the opening three games of the third set to go up a double break at 3-0, and he'd have three game points for 4-0, however McNally would battle back to break for 3-1. McNally then held, broke on the deciding point after Sigouin led 40/30, and held at love to go up 4-3. Just when it looked like McNally might complete the comeback Sigouin rattled off the final three games of the match with a love hold, a break from 15/40 and a hold from 40/30 to clinch the upset with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.
The match at No. 6 went unfinished with Soendergaard leading 6-5* in the third.
Ground level view of Sigouin’s 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 clincher; #9 UNC 4 #1 Ohio St. 2 pic.twitter.com/sEaSGLsjBy— UNC Men's Tennis (@carolinatennis) May 17, 2019
Final UNC stuns #1 Ohio St. 4-2 w/Ben Sigouin clinching over John McNally pic.twitter.com/pmIYkAwU0W— UNC Men's Tennis (@carolinatennis) May 16, 2019
#9 North Carolina 4, #1 Ohio State 2
May 16, 2019 at Orlando, FL (USTA National Campus)
1. #2 JJ Wolf (OSU) def. #19 William Blumberg (UNC) 7-5, 6-4
2. #39 Benjamin Sigouin (UNC) def. #26 John McNally (OSU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
3. #60 Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. #110 Josh Peck (UNC) 6-3, 6-4
4. #116 Brian Cernoch (UNC) def. #111 Martin Joyce (OSU) 6-2, 6-0
5. Bo Boyden (UNC) def. Alex Kobelt (OSU) 6-1, 6-3
6. Simon Soendergaard (UNC) vs. Hunter Tubert (OSU) 4-6, 6-4, 6-5* (15/0), unfinished
1. #23 JJ Wolf/Martin Joyce (OSU) def. #13 William Blumberg/Bo Boyden (UNC) 6-1
2. #90 Brian Cernoch/Ben Sigouin (UNC) def. #51 Alex Kobelt/Kyle Seelig (OSU) 6-2
3. Mac Kiger/Simon Soendergaard (UNC) def. Hunter Tubert/John McNally (OSU) 6-2
North Carolina 22-6; National ranking #10
Ohio State 32-3; National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (4,5,3,1,2)
It will be all-ACC semifinal after an all-ACC quarterfinal because the defending champs No. 4 Wake Forest ousted the 2017 champs No. 5 Virginia 4-2 in a 3 hour and 18 minute tilt under the hot Florida sun.
Virginia was able to jump out to the early 1-0 lead after claiming the doubles point with a dominating win at No. 1 and a come from behind win at No. 3.
Brandon Nakashima and Henrik Wiersholm rolled to a 6-2 win at No. 1 over Alan Gadjiev and Borna Gojo while Wake's Bar Botzer and Petros Chrysochos won 6-4 at No. 2 doubles over Matthew Lord and Carl Soderlund.
The match at No. 3 went back and forth with Wake's Siddhant Banthia and Melios Efstathiou breaking on the deciding point to go up 5-4 however UVA's Gianni Ross and William Woodall would break back to even it at 5-5. Woodall would come back from 15/40 down to hold for 6-5 and then Banthia held to send it to a tiebreak. Banthia and Efstathiou took a 5-2 lead in the tiebreak however Ross and Woodall would take the next five points to close it out 7-5.
It was the third match in a row that Wake had dropped the doubles point, 12th time on the year, so while on the surface it wasn't great to go down 1-0 Wake had been there before and knew how to bounce back in singles.
Virginia made a change in its singles lineup and removed Gianni Ross at No. 4 which meant Ryan Goetz moved up from No. 5 to No. 4, Aswin Lizen moved up from No. 6 to No. 5, and Matthew Lord, who hadn't played a match in a month and hadn't won a match in almost two months, moved up from No. 7 to No. 6.
Wake would take four opening sets in singles, none closer than 6-3, and the first match to finish would be at No. 6 as Sid Banthia routed Lord 6-3, 6-0.
Goetz put the Hoos back in front with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Rrezart Cungu at No. 4 but a short while later Wake's Bar Botzer would even it at 2-2 with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Henrik Wiersholm at No. 3 (Botzer's third win of the year over Wiersholm).
Wake freshman Melios Efstathiou gave the Deacs its first lead of the match with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Aswin Lizen at No. 5 while Petros Chrysochos was getting close to the clinching win at No. 2.
Chrysochos had a pair of match points in the second set tiebreak at 6-4 however UVA freshman Brandon Nakashima would take the next four points to take it 8-6.
The match at No. 1 between Wake junior Borna Gojo and UVA junior Carl Soderlund took a turn early in the third set when Soderlund took a medical timeout at 1-1. Soderlund was having trouble moving with cramps setting in and Gojo would pull away and win the final five games to clinch with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win.
Wake Forest Head Coach Tony Bresky on recovering after losing the doubles point:
“For us, we never really get that discouraged after losing the dubs. It certainly hasn’t been our best point. We know that, we’re not that concerned about it. I keep telling the guys that it’s going to come when we need it the most. We kind of choose to look at it differently, we feel like it’s a lot of pressure on the other teams to win the doubles, because we’re like, ‘Man if we win the doubles, we go out there, we’re playing for free.’ Then we go out there for singles and the guys battle.”
On the team mentality & recovering ahead of Saturday’s semifinals:
“We’ve been through it. It’s the same as last year. When we have a day off after the Round of 16, you know you’ve got to take care of your bodies. Oviously it’s a physical match on some courts but we’re fit, so we take care of our bodies, rest up, relax the rest of the day. It’s nice we got the match got done early. We’ll get a solid practice in tomorrow, work on a few things. Our guys are motivated, they’re ready. They don’t need that much rest and they’ll be ready to battle.”
Wake Forest junior Borna Gojo on coming from behind to win at No. 1 singles:
“He changed his game a little bit from last time, I really struggled to find my rhythm a little bit. The balls kept bouncing really high and I struggled a little bit to find my rhythm and find the contact point that I liked. I don’t think it was a beautiful match from my point of view. I just tried to battle and tried to stay there as long as I could, maybe not even having the win first in my mind, just trying to stay as long as I can out there to help my teammates and eventually try to turn around it somehow.”
On keeping his focus with when his teammate had match points on the court next to him:
“That’s what I’ve talked to my coaches about a lot, straight away they’re like “nothing is happening there, nothing is happening there, you’ve got to focus.” And that’s how it is, you have two match points one moment, the other moment they’re gone and where are you? You’ve got to be focused on your court. He [Carl Soderlund] actually had a big miss there and a break point first game, so he got kind of lucky there, then he obviously struggled physically which made the match stop being that competitive. Again, credits to him, it was a great match, he maybe could have finished it in two and everything would be nice for him, but I tried to battle and not let it get to me.”
Virginia Head Coach Andres Pedroso on the team’s effort:
"As always, we fought to the very end and left everything on the court. I couldn't be more proud of these guys and I love them to death. The expectation today was to have no regrets and leave it all on the court. That is what they did. That is what they have done all year. That is why they are a phenomenal team."
#4 Wake Forest 4, #5 Virginia 2
May 16, 2019 at Orlando, Fla. (USTA National Campus)
1. #11 Borna Gojo (WF) def. #3 Carl Soderlund (VA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
2. #8 Petros Chrysochos (WF) vs. #82 Brandon Nakashima (VA) 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), *2-1 (15/40), unfinished
3. #50 Bar Botzer (WF) def. #114 Henrik Wiersholm (VA) 6-3, 6-2
4. Ryan Goetz (VA) def. Rrezart Cungu (WF) 6-2, 6-3
5. Melios Efstathiou (WF) def. Aswin Lizen (VA) 6-3, 6-4
6. Siddhant Banthia (WF) def. Matthew Lord (VA) 6-3, 6-0
1. #33 Brandon Nakashima/Henrik Wiersholm (VA) def. #63 Alan Gadjiev/Borna Gojo (WF) 6-2
2. #55 Bar Botzer/Petros Chrysochos (WF) def. Matthew Lord/Carl Soderlund (VA) 6-4
3. Gianni Ross/William Woodall (VA) def. Siddhant Banthia/Melios Efstathiou (WF) 7-6 (7-5)
Wake Forest 33-3; National ranking #3
Virginia 24-5; National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (6,4,3,5,1)
Texas advanced to the semifinals for the fifth time in school history, first since 2009, with a thorough 4-1 win over TCU. The Horns rolled through the doubles point winning 6-2 on 1 and 6-3 on 2 and then in singles they added five opening sets with two of them coming in tiebreaks.
TCU senior Alex Rybakov won the only first set for the Horned Frogs and he'd also be the first one off the court after defeating ITA #7 Christian Sigsgaard 6-4, 6-2.
Texas senior Rodrigo Banzer put the Horns back in front moments later with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Sander Jong at No. 6 and then junior Yuya Ito would make it 3-1 with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Alastair Gray at No. 2.
Texas had leads on all the remaining courts and in a race to get the clinch it'd be senior Harrison Scott reaching the finish line first with a 7-6(4), 6-3 win over Bertus Kruger at No. 4.
Next up for Texas will be Florida who tore through Baylor in the late match.
Texas senior Harrison Scott on closing out his match to move on to the semifinals:
“I’m feeling amazing right now, definitely happy to get it done. TCU is a really good team, every one of their players is really talented, so I knew going in today was going to be really tough. I played [Bertus] Kruger in a long three-setter [earlier in the season]. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, so I had to keep fighting and show a lot of energy. My team definitely helped. They were playing well and I was feeding off their energy, so I’m feeling great right now.”
On how the team has made it this far:
“I think us putting in the work every day, showing up to practice even when we’re really busy with school or have personal things going on. I think showing up every day and kind of leaving everything off the court and focusing on what we’re doing on the court is really important. Also, communication with one another and just being there for one another really helped. We get along quite well and so it’s a lot of fun to play with all these guys.”
Texas Interim Head Coach Bruce Berque
On pulling out the victory with tight singles matches:
“That’s usually the way it is in the NCAAs, you play until someone finishes and gets the four, it’s clinch-clinch. I do know that our guys were pretty great today; they were very competitive, they were focused, they were aggressive, they were locked in. They pretty much did what they’ve been doing all year, which is playing aggressively and positive and fighting for every point. Today we got the better of TCU. They’ve gotten the better of us in the past several times. It was a big win, and the guys are feeling confident, especially after beating them decisively in this score line. We had really good leadership from the seniors and they were ready and they went after it.”
Looking ahead to a semifinal against Florida or Baylor:
“They’re both really good. All the eight teams that have made it here are really good, including TCU. They’ve had a phenomenal program over the last 10 years or so. We have a lot of respect for everyone who is here. Obviously, Baylor we know better. We played them twice this year, we won the first time at home and they won the second time at the finals of the Big 12 tournament. I guess if we were to play them again, the third one will be the deciding match for the season series. Florida, we haven’t played in a couple of years. I know they’re very well coached and they have a great team. I’m sure we’ll be playing the team that plays better today.”
TCU Head Coach David Roditi on today’s match:
At the end of the day, they had a lot of seniors on that squad and juniors, and they went against our underclassmen. We didn’t execute in the right moments. We had so many opportunities in doubles... we gave them some games in the doubles. Not to take any credit away. I mean, they didn’t give it to us, so they deserve all the credit in the world and they’re the ones advancing.
Those first sets, too many of those first sets got away from us. We had break points on many courts and we didn’t convert on any of them and it came back to cost us. We just put ourselves too far, in too deep of a hole, for us to climb back. We almost did, we were fighting and fighting, but it just wasn’t enough.
You know, I’m happy for those guys, I’m proud of what all the coaches have put together as a team at UT. This team has been building for four years. I want to congratulate all the coaches that put together an unbelievable lineup out there. I wish them the best of the luck and congratulations to Texas. I hope they represent the Big 12 well. We’re the best conference in tennis, at least one of the best. I wish them the best of luck.
And thanks to the fans who came out to support us all the way from Fort Worth. I love seeing purple out there. These guys are just die-hards and put their lives on hold to come watch us, and we really appreciate all they do for us.
On the end of the season:
It’s bittersweet. It’s bitter because we lost and I feel like this team could have won it all, if we had played the right ways at the right times. It’s sweet because it was a great season and there’s a lot to be proud of. There were so many unknowns about our team at the beginning of the year. I couldn’t be more proud of the way our freshmen came through, the way our seniors led and everybody in between.
There’s a lot to be proud of, our whole coaching staff, everybody. One thing that I’m really proud about is our team went through the whole season, including coaches, without a point penalty. Not one guy broke down, not one guy showed disrespect to the program or disrespect to the school. That’s amazing. I don’t know if it’ll ever happen again. It takes a lot of discipline.
#2 Texas 4, #9 TCU 1
May 16, 2019 at Orlando, FL (USTA National Campus)
1. #4 Alex Rybakov (TCU) def. #7 Christian Sigsgaard (UT) 6-4, 6-2
2. #12 Yuya Ito (UT) def. #28 Alastair Gray (TCU) 7-5, 6-1
3. #80 Leonardo Telles (UT) vs. Reese Stalder (TCU) 7-6(3), *4-3, unfinished
4. #55 Harrison Scott (UT) def. Bertus Kruger (TCU) 7-6(4), 6-3
5. Colin Markes (UT) vs. Luc Fomba (TCU) 6-4, *5-6 (40/15), unfinished
6. Rodrigo Banzer (UT) def. Sander Jong (TCU) 6-4, 6-2
1. #5 Harrison Scott/Christian Sigsgaard (UT) def. #15 Alastair Gray/Alex Rybakov (TCU) 6-2
2. Colin Markes/Leonardo Telles (UT) def. #22 Bertus Kruger/Reese Stalder (TCU) 6-3
3. Luc Fomba/Sander Jong (TCU) vs. Chih Chi Huang/Yuya Ito (UT) 5-3* (15/15), unfinished
TCU 22-7; National ranking #9
Texas 27-3; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (1,6,2,4)
Florida advanced to the semifinals for the third time in school history, first time since 2005, with a fairly routine 4-0 win over No. 6 Baylor. The only suspenseful portion of the match came during doubles. Baylor jumped out to breaks leads on each of the three courts but one-by-one Florida broke back and eventually retook the lead.
Florida's Oliver Crawford and Alfredo Perez fell behind Baylor's Will Little and Matias Soto 4-2 at No. 2 but then took the next four games, which included a deciding point hold at 4-4 and a deciding point break at 5-4, to win 6-4.
The Gators wrapped up the doubles point at the top spot with Johannes Ingildsen and McClain Kessler also coming back from 4-2 down to defeat the ITA's top ranked doubles team of Jimmy Bendeck and Sven Lah 7-5. Ingildsen and Kessler won three straight games to go up 5-4 and actually had a match point on the deciding point but Bendeck and Lah held for 5-5. The Gator duo came back from 0/30 down to hold on the deciding point for 6-5 and then they broke from 30/40 to win it.
The match at No. 3 doubles went unfinished with Florida serving 5-5 (40/15) at the time of the clinch.
In singles, Florida took four opening sets and it'd be McClain Kessler that would put the Gators up 2-0 after thrashing Jimmy Bendeck 6-1, 6-0 at No. 6. Kessler, who didn't play in the Round of 16 against Tennessee, won his eighth straight match and it came against a player in Bendeck who had won eight of his previous nine matches.
Andy Andrade extended the lead to 3-0 with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Sven Lah at No. 5 and Sam Riffice put the Gators over the top with a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 2 over Matias Soto.
Baylor had set leads in two of the other matches that went unfinished although Florida had break leads in the second sets of both matches.
Baylor Head Coach Brian Boland on the match tonight
We give Florida a lot of credit for the way they competed and played tonight, they’re an extremely talented team and they did a great job tonight coming out and executing and playing hard every point. We give Florida a lot of credit. I thought that we certainly could have competed better in certain spots but Florida was the better team tonight.
Florida Head Coach Bryan Shelton on how the match ended
It’s a great way to end the match. Just knowing we put ourselves in the strong position and knowing we’ve got guys playing well all over the place, it’s not just one guy but it’s across the board. I think it was just a great team win.
On how they’re preparing for the semifinals
I think the beauty of this is there’s a day of in between, so we can recover really well. I think our guys are in really good physical shape so we’ll do the right things tonight, make sure we recover fully and have a good day tomorrow. We’ll practice a little bit but rest up again. I feel like our tanks are full right now, this is the time. The end of the year, the postseason, we’re in the Final Four, and for us it’s like let’s make sure our tanks are ready to go when we come out and just fire from the hips come Saturday. We’re going to play a really good Texas team that also won pretty convincingly today, so I don’t know that we have an advantage there. Just two really good teams trying to battle it out to the finals.
Florida senior McClain Kessler on winning the doubles point
We knew if that if we got the doubles point, it’d be a good start for us. We knew we were playing a very tough team, me and Joe [Johannes Ingildsen], but if me and Joe play our best tennis, we feel like we’re the team to beat. It’s what we’re telling ourselves before the match and during the match. We had a lot of fun out there.
Florida freshman Sam Riffice on feeling like the home team
It was amazing. The crowd tonight so many Gator fans out there watching us and supporting us. We had so many friends that came out all the way from Gainesville to come support us. I felt like I was playing a home match out there. There was so much energy and excitement for us.
#3 Florida 4, #6 Baylor 0
May 16, 2019 at Orlando, Fla. (USTA National Campus)
1. #20 Johannes Schretter (BU) vs. #9 Oliver Crawford (UF) 6-4, *2-5, unfinished
2. #54 Sam Riffice (UF) def. #25 Matias Soto (BU) 6-3, 6-4
3. #112 Adrian Boitan (BU) vs. #113 Johannes Ingildsen (UF) 6-4, 1-3* (40/40), unfinished
4. Alfredo Perez (UF) vs. #78 Will Little (BU) 6-3, 5-5* (40/30), unfinished
5. #59 Andres Andrade (UF) def. #76 Sven Lah (BU) 6-2, 6-2
6. McClain Kessler (UF) def. Jimmy Bendeck (BU) 6-1, 6-0
1. Johannes Ingildsen/McClain Kessler (UF) def. #1 Jimmy Bendeck/Sven Lah (BU) 7-5
2. Oliver Crawford/Alfredo Perez (UF) def. Will Little/Matias Soto (BU) 6-4
3. Duarte Vale/Andres Andrade (UF) vs. Johannes Schretter/Constantin Frantzen (BU) *5-5 (40/15), unfinished
Florida 25-3; National ranking #4
Baylor 25-6; National ranking #6
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (6,5,2)
A few notes about the telecast on the Tennis Channel - since the ATP event in Rome ran late the USTA had the stream of the TC broadcast available on Facebook and Twitter which was nice because if you lived outside of the US you wouldn't have been able to view it on the Tennis Channel because TC is only available in the US.
Sam Gore and Katrina Adams were the announcers and while they did an ok job there were some cringe-worthy mistakes that were made throughout the broadcast. Gore kept telling the viewers Wake Forest and Texas would be meeting in the semifinals while the winner of the Ohio State/UNC match would play the winner of the Florida/Baylor match - must have said it at least 5 times too. As we and anybody who has a bracket knows Wake and Texas are on opposite sides of the draw so if they meet it'd be in the finals. You cannot, and I mean cannot, make that kind of mistake when you're that deep in the bracket. The fact that his error wasn't corrected was just as poor but from looking at the bracket they put on screen I guess I see why the mistake was made - sad thing is someone in graphics had to actually create this with all the wrong info - Columbia as 11 seed with the Cornell logo, UVA vs. Stanford as 6/13 match instead of 5/12, Miss State vs. TCU as 5/12 match instead of 7/10. and of course Texas and Wake in the same side of the draw.
Another thing that annoyed me was during the doubles point Sam kept referring to the end of the match as so and so has a set point instead of saying match point. When you say set point you are inferring that there is another set to follow which of course isn't true in college tennis.
Another sore spot was staying with the match at #1 singles/#1 doubles when pivotal points were being played elsewhere. I really didn't need to watch the full changeover of a match not in progress versus seeing who won a deciding point on the court beside it. More times than not they completely ignored what was happening on the other courts or if they mentioned it it was well after the fact.
Tennis Channel's primary camera angle was from a camera that was hanging on a wire or a drone so if they wanted to go from court 1 to 6 you'd have to wait for the thing to make the trip down 5 courts before you could see the point. The Playsight cameras were viewable from overhead and obviously work fine so why not utilize those as part of the broadcast instead of waiting for the one camera to swing down.
Lastly with college tennis being such an international sport why was the international viewer left with no way to watch the matches being aired on the Tennis Channel? For that matter - how were the people in the US without Tennis Channel supposed to watch? If the primary objective of having the NCAAs on the Tennis Channel is to bring more attention to college tennis then shouldn't it be available to more than just the people who have a cable subscription with the Tennis Channel? There is no "good" reason whatsoever that the regular live stream via PlaySight couldn't have been left on for those wanting to view more than the one court being shown. Doing this would make the matches available to all while those with cable could watch the broadcast if they so chose. If you want to grow the sport these are the types of matches that need to be available to the masses and not the chosen few.