The Pepperdine women are more accustomed to being ranked inside the 10 and that's most likely where they'll be come Tuesday because the Waves picked up their second top 10 victory of the week with a 5-2 win over #8/#6 Texas in Austin. The Waves won the doubles point in dominating fashion with a 6-1 win at No. 2 and a 6-2 win at No. 3. In singles each team claimed three opening sets and Pepperdine would convert each of its to set leads to straight set wins. Dzina Milovanovic made it 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 4 and Ashley Lahey upped the lead to 3-0 with a 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1.
Texas trimmed the deficit to 3-2 with straight set wins from Anna Turati and Petra Granic at No. 2 and No. 3 but Daria Kuczer put the Waves over the top with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 5.
After a rough few days in Austin there was reason to smile on Thursday night after the fourth-ranked Longhorns avenged their only loss of the year by knocking off top-ranked Ohio State 4-1. Coming into the match the Buckeyes were a perfect 17-0 in doubles but for the second match in a row they'd be without the service of their top player JJ Wolf who was in Canada playing an ATP Challenger event. A large crowd in the stands and a national television audience on the Longhorn Network saw the Longhorns take the early lead after winning the doubles point with a 6-3 win at No. 3 and a 7-6(4) win by Leo Telles and Colin Markes at No. 2.
Each team would take three opening sets in singles with Texas winning both of the sets that went to a tiebreak. Yuya Ito put the Horns up 2-0 with a 6-0, 6-3 win at No. 2 but James Trotter, who was playing in just his fourth dual-match of the season, put the Buckeyes on the board with a 6-2, 7-5 win at No. 5 which snapped Colin Markes's 14-match winning streak.
Rodrigo Banzer made it 3-1 after a 7-6, 6-2 win at No. 6. Banzer came back from a 3-0 deficit in the opening set and after taking the tiebreak he sprinted out to a 4-1 lead.
The clinching point would come about 30 minutes later with Leo Telles coming back from a set down to defeat Martin Joyce 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 3.
The other matches were abandoned with Texas up a break on 1 and up a set on 4. Texas had a really good recap of the match so make sure you give it a read.
Thursday night brought us a pair of close matches in the SEC with Texas A&M and Tennessee pulling out hard fought 4-3 wins. In College Station, Texas A&M fell behind after dropping the doubles point but the Aggies rallied with four opening sets in singles. Juan Carlos Aguilar tied the match at 1-1 with a 6-0, 6-1 rout at No. 1 but Georgia's Jan Zielinski put the Bulldogs back in front with a 7-6, 6-3 win at No. 2. Texas A&M's Valentin Vacherot evened the match at 2-2 after a 7-6, 6-3 win at No. 3 but Georgia was still leading on two of the remaining courts with the third about to split sets.
Texas A&M freshman Noah Schachter came back from a break down in the third set, while also fighting off multiple breaks himself, to win 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5). Schachter trailed Georgia junior Robert Loeb 3-1 in the third set but after holding and breaking for 3-3 he'd come back from 30/40 down to hold for 4-3. After a hold by Loeb, Schachter once again came back from 30/40 down to hold for 5-4. After a few more holds Loeb would go up 2-0 in the tiebreak but it'd be 3-3 at the changeover. Schachter went up 6-4 and after being denied on his first match point he'd close it out on the next one after the chair overruled Loeb's out call on the far sideline.
Georgia freshman Phillip Henning evened the match at 3-3 with a 5-7, 7-6, 6-2 win at No. 4. Henning led the opening set 5-3 but dropped the final four games and in the second set he also led 5-3 but after dropping three straight he came back to take it in a tiebreak. Henning went up an early break in the third and broke at love to close it out.
Texas A&M's other freshman Guido Marson was nearing the finish line at No. 6 after opening up a 5-1 lead in the third set against Georgia senior Walker Duncan. 35 minutes earlier it looked like Duncan was headed for a straight set win but a missed swinging forehand volley at 6-4, *4-2 (40/40) was a turning point that got Marson back in it. Marson came back to take the second set 7-5 and after leading 5-1 it looked like he was moments away from the clinch. However Duncan would reel off three straight games which included a break of Marson's 5-2 service game on the 40/40 point. Duncan looked like he was going to get it back on serve after going up 30/40 but after coming to the net he laid off hitting a volley on a Marson backhand, since it looked like it might sail long, however the shot landed in which brought up the deciding point. Duncan would net a forehand on the deciding point to give Marson and Texas A&M the 4-3 win.
There was tennis played again in Seattle after snow wiped out Saturday's schedule at the Women's National Team Indoors and while most of the favorites won there was one mild upset. In an all-SEC dual, it was the No. 5 seed Georgia coming back from 3-1 down to defeat No. 4 Vanderbilt 4-3. The Commodores took the early lead with a 7-5 win at No. 1 doubles and a 6-4 win at No. 2 and then the teams split opening sets in singles. Georgia's Katarina Jokic put the Bulldogs on the board with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 1 but Vandy answered seconds later with a 6-2, 7-6 win from Christina Rosca at No. 2. Vandy's Amanda Meyer extended the lead to 3-1 with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 win at No. 4 and it looked like the match was all but over with Emily Smith leading 5-0 in the third at No. 5. However, Georgia junior Elena Christofi would win the next seven games to close it out 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. The Christofi comeback changed the momentum on the rest of the courts as well and both Meg Kowalski and Lourdes Carle would pull away in their third sets to complete the 4-3 Georgia win.
"We won a lot of third set matches today, and it was super exciting out there," said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace. "This was our biggest test so far, and we knew anybody you play out here is going to be really good, and it's going to be a battle. It takes a lot of maturity and discipline to hang in there like Elena did after getting down 5-0 and fighting back. Katarina (Jokic) got us on the board at No. 1 with a big win in a matchup of two of the best players in the country and then two freshmen came through in Meg (Kowalski) and Lourdes.
Another big coaching opening was filled as LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva named Andy Brandi and his son Chris as the men's co-head coaches of the Tigers. Andy has plenty of coaching experience in the SEC after spending 17 exceptional seasons as the women's head coach at Florida from 1984 to 2001. During those 17 seasons, Andy won three NCAA Championships while his teams won 91% of its matches and lost zero SEC home matches! After Andy left Florida he served as Director of Tennis at the IMG Academy for five years and then most recently he was a national coach on the USTA Player Development staff.
Chris Brandi played collegiately at TCU and Florida from 2001 to 2005 and then was an assistant coach at Wake Forest in 2008 and at Baylor from 2009-2011; most recently he was a private tennis coach in Florida. Andy and Chris Brandi replace Jeff Brown who stepped down after 15 seasons. Below are some quotes from LSU's release:
The number of head coaching jobs at Power 5 schools is now up to six after LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva announced on Monday that men's head coach Jeff Brown was resigning after 20 years. Brown won just over 60 percent of the 517 matches he coached and was an even .500 against SEC competition. Brown's LSU teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament 17 times however this year the Tigers fell well short after going 10-17 overall and just 3-9 in the SEC. Brown's best seasons in Baton Rouge came in his first two seasons when he led the Tigers to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA semifinals. Alleva called the resignation a "mutual decision" though I'm pretty sure Brown wasn't the one to approach Alleva on the subject. Below is a quote from LSU's release:
“It's been a great run,” Brown said. “We had so much success and had so many great people come through our program. I'm proud of all the players that we coached here at LSU and all that we were able to accomplish as a program.”
The other Power 5 jobs currently open are: Virginia men, Virginia women, Tennessee men, USC women, and Minnesota women.
It was senior day in Raleigh but unfortunately for the host Wolfpack they only had five healthy players and their opponent happened to be No. 1 Wake Forest. Wake took the doubles point after only dropping three games and then the Deacs won five of six matches in singles with NC State freshman Alexis Galarneau salvaging the day for the Pack with a win over Borna Gojo at No. 2.
The women's SEC Tournament in Nashville had it all on Thursday with three matches coming down to the final court and one that started outside on the back courts and then and finished inside on just five courts after the rain came. Mississippi State won the opener over Tennessee 4-1 and then Auburn's Andie Dikosavljevic came back from *4-1 and *5-4 down in the third set of the deciding match at No. 1 to propel the Tigers past Arkansas 4-3 in a match that took over four hours.
The third match of the day between LSU and Texas A&M started doubles on the back courts due to the Auburn/Arkansas match running long and then once singles started they could only use four courts for the same reason. A little past the midway point of singles, with rain on the horizon, they moved indoors to Vanderbilt's five-court indoor facility. Texas A&M managed to go ahead 3-2 but LSU's Ryann Foster won in straight sets at No. 3 to tie it up and then a short while later Joana Valle Costa clinched the match by breaking Rutuja Bhosale to win 7-6, 1-6, 6-4.
The Saturday schedule didn't exactly have a ton of sizzle but there were still some good matches and a few surprises as well. The only men's matchup between top 25 teams took place in Berkeley as No. 11 Cal hosted No. 25 Illinois. Cal picked up a quick 6-2 win at No. 1 doubles and then Andre Goransson and Billy Griffith clinched the point after coming back from a break down to win 6-4. Each team took three first sets in singles and four of the them would finish in straight sets. Cal junior JT Nishimura was dominant in his 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 6 while Illinois picked up a 6-4, 6-4 win from junior Aleks Vukic at No. 1 and a 7-6, 6-1 win from freshman Zeke Clark at No. 5. Cal junior Billy Griffith put the Bears ahead 3-2 by coming back from a set down to defeat Illinois freshman Aleks Kovacevic 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 at No. 3. It looked like Illinois was going to get a split at No. 4 when senior Julian Childers led 5-3 in the second set but Cal senior Filip Bergevi fought off six set points and came back to clinch the match with a 7-5, 7-6 win.
Duke finished it's stay at the Rainbow Warrior Classic by taking four of six doubles matches over LSU plus the Blue Devils came out on top in four of seven singles matches with two of the losses due to retirement. Ole Miss and Hawaii played an actual dual match with the Rebels posting a 7-0 shutout. Ole Miss won five of six singles matches in straight sets and swept all three doubles courts.
USC freshmen Brandon Holt and Riley Smith each earned their first career ATP points with first round wins at the Long Beach USA F2 Futures. Holt defeated Luke Bambridge (ATP 615) 6-1, 6-4 in a match where Holt won 77% of the points on his first serve while breaking Bambridge five times in nine attempts. Smith saved three match points to defeat former USC Trojan Eric Johnson 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(8). Smith served for the match up 5-3 in the third but Johnson broke from 30/40 and held at love to even it at 5-5. After an exchange of holds Johnson led *6-4 in the tiebreak but Smith won three straight to pull ahead 7-6*. Johnson won both points on his serve to go in front 8-7* but Smith won the final three to close it out.
USC grabbed 4 1st sets and would finish each of them in straight sets with Eric Johnson putting the first point on the board with his 6-3, 6-1 blowout over David Wilczynski at #3 singles. Nick Crystal would finish off David Hsu 6-1, 6-3 at #6 singles a few minutes later which then set the stage for USC to close it out on the top 2 courts. After Stanford's Tom Fawcett fought off a match point on the deciding point of his serve, USC's Yannick Hanfmann would hold serve at love to close out the Cardinal freshman at #1 singles by a 6-4, 6-4 score. With the score now 3-1, Roberto Quiroz would provide the final dagger by finishing off John Morrissey 6-4, 6-4 at #2 singles. The coaches agreed to play out the final 2 courts and USC would take them both with Max De Vroome coming from a set down to win 6-7, 6-1, 6-1 at #5 singles over Nolan Paige and Jonny Wang doing the same at #4 singles and winning 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (6) over Maciek Romanowicz.
All in all not a bad effort from Stanford but as I mentioned in my preview I think they are a year away from taking out a top 10 team.
FYI, the # beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of the current date of the recap. For more details about UTR check out their website.
#1 USC 6, #37 Stanford 1
Feb 27, 2015 - Marks Stadium (Los Angeles, Calif.)
(1) Morrissey/Stineman (Stan.) def. #2 Hanfmann/Quiroz (USC) - 6-3
(2) #30 De Vroome/Johnson (USC) vs. #49 Fawcett/Romanowicz (Stan.) - 5-4 susp.
(3) Paige/Wilczynski (Stan.) def. Crystal/Wang (USC) - 7-5
Stanford wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 1, 3
(1) #6 Yannick Hanfmann (USC 15.05) def. #26 Tom Fawcett (Stan 14.14) - 6-4, 6-4
(2) #20 Roberto Quiroz (USC 14.44) def. John Morrissey (Stan 14.10) - 6-4, 6-4*
(3) Eric Johnson (USC 13.97) def. David Wilczynski (Stan 13.86) - 6-3, 6-1
(4) #31 Jonny Wang (USC 14.23) def. Maciek Romanowicz (Stan 13.31) - 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-6)
(5) #72 Max de Vroome (USC 14.14) def. Nolan Paige (Stan 13.32) - 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-1
(6) #45 Nick Crystal (USC 13.93) def. David Hsu (Stan 13.95) - 6-1, 6-3
Order of finish: 3, 6, 1, 2*, 5, 4
Baton Rouge, LA: This was a matchup between 1 team on the rise and the other on the fall as LSU took Tennessee to the woodshed and blew the Vols off the court with a 4-0 shutout that would have likely been 6-1 or 7-0 had they played it out. Tennessee falls to 8-5 as the Vols have yet to beat a ranked opponent and things won't get any easier because next up is a visit to College Station to face Texas A&M. LSU is now 10-1 and will likely be 11-1 after Kentucky visits on Sunday. Tennessee has battled some injuries but they just haven't seen a consistent level of play from most of the the lineup (except Libietis) with Hunter Reese the one in the biggest tailspin with him having dropped 7 of his last 9.
College Station, TX: This one was by far and away the biggest rout of the day in the SEC as Texas A&M just obliterated a reeling Kentucky team 4-0. Jeremy Efferding dropped just 1 game in his win at #1, AJ Catanzariti dropped only 3 games at #5, and Max Lunkin dropped just 4 games at #6. Texas A&M won all 9 completed sets and the only one at risk of dropping one was Rinderknech at 4. We've gotten used to seeing Kentucky in the top 10-15 for years now but this team is not even close to competing at the level with the Wildcats falling to 6-7 with 0 wins over anyone inside the top 200. The ITA doesn't publish the rankings below 75 but if they did I can guarantee you that Kentucky wouldn't be anywhere near the top 100.
Texas A&M recap
Other Notables Scores from Friday:
Wichita State upset #40 Denver 6-1 - box score
#41 Mississippi State shutout Alabama 4-0 - Miss St recap
#27 NC State held off #69 VCU 4-3 - NCST recap
#10 Ole Miss just got past #62 Tulane 5-2 - Ole Miss recap
#8 Ohio State beat #39 Penn State 6-1 though many of the courts were very close - Ohio St recap
#16 Vanderbilt blanked #67 Arkansas 4-0 - Vandy recap
#29 Drake beat #57 Iowa 5-2 - Iowa recap
Check back later for my preview of the feature matches on Saturday.