For the first time in three years both the women's and men's finals were played outdoors and for all those in attendance they were treated to a pair of good matches that culminated with Stanford winning its 19th NCAA Women's National Championship while Wake Forest won its first-ever NCAA Men's National Championship.
For the third time in the last four matches, Stanford spotted its opponent the opening point after Vanderbilt took the doubles point for the 24th time in 31 matches with wins at No. 1 and No. 2. Vandy's No. 1 team of Astra Sharma and Fernanda Contreras picked up a no-ad break to go ahead 2-1 and then they'd add one more break to close out a 6-3 win over the ITA No. 3 ranked team of Emily Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon.
Stanford's No. 3 team of Melissa Lord and Janice Shin broke Vandy's Christina Rosca and Amanda Meyer to start the match and several games later they'd break again to go ahead 5-2. Rosca and Meyer broke back and held for 4-5 but Stanford served it out to win 6-4.
Seconds later Vanderbilt's No. 2 team of Emma Kurtz and Emily Smith would close out their match to give VU the doubles point. The match started off with back-to-back breaks and then Caroline Lampl and Kimberly Yee held on the deciding point for 2-1. Lampl and Yee would then get a no-ad break to go up 3-1 but Kurtz and Smith came storming back and took the next four games to go in front 5-3. Lampl and Yee held for 4-5 but Kurtz and Smith served it out from 40/30 to win 6-4.
Stanford put the doubles point in its rear-view mirror and went to work in singles and would claim five opening sets.
If you are a fan of college tennis and didn't enjoy the two men's semifinal matches that were played on Monday evening then you need to go see a doctor. Both matches had it all, from the multiple weather delays due to lightning and rain, to the back and forth swings that came with each time they restarted play, and wow how about that doubles point in the Ohio State/UCLA match. It was an unbelievable night that kept me up past 2 a.m. here in London but it was worth every second.
So let's start out with the match on lower courts between No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 Ohio State. The Bruins served first to start the matches at No. 1 and No. 2 but quickly went down a break on No. 1 and trailed 3-1. UCLA's Martin Redlicki and Evan Zhu would trail 4-2 at No. 1 but Redlicki would hold on the deciding point for 3-4, they'd break JJ Wolf for 4-4, and then Zhu held on the deciding point for 5-4. Ohio State's Martin Joyce held for 5-5, Redlicki held for 6-5, and then Redlicki and Zhu broke Wolf again to win it 7-5.
Next door at No. 2 dubs, UCLA's Austin Rapp and Keegan Smith opened up a 4-1 lead over John McNally and Mikael Torpegaard. McNally and Torpegaard took the next three to tie it at 4-4 and then they had a pair of break points on Smith's serve but Smith managed to hold for 5-4. After three more holds the match would head to a tiebreak.
On the other court at No. 3, UCLA's Maxime Cressy and Bryce Pereira broke on the deciding point for 3-2 and they'd eventually extend the lead to 5-3. Cressy and Pereira had a match point when Ohio State served at 3-5, but Matt Mendez and Hunter Tubert fought it off to hold for 4-5. Cressy then had a pair of match points at 40/30 but Mendez and Tubert broke on the deciding point to even it at 5-5. Cressy and Pereira would break back to go up 6-5 but once again they'd be unable to serve it out with Mendez and Tubert breaking back to force a tiebreak.
The University of Florida began the year ranked No. 1 and they will finish No. 1 after winning the NCAA National Championship on Tuesday night with a 4-1 win over Stanford. The match was originally scheduled to start at 5 p.m. eastern but due to more rain the starting time was pushed back until 8 p.m. eastern. Fortunately it stopped raining shortly after 4 p.m. so by 8 p.m. the outdoor courts were dry which meant we didn't have to suffer through another indoor final.
Florida and Stanford were meeting in the NCAA Championship Final for the 10th time with Stanford holding a 6-3 edge coming into this match. Florida and Stanford had met during the regular season in Gainesville with Florida winning 4-1 though all the individual matchups were different this time around.
Photo by Bill Kallenberg (CapturedInAction.com)
After a week that's been filled with weather issues it was fitting to have the men's final play indoors after a morning and afternoon full of rain. The match was originally scheduled to start at 1 p.m. but with storms set to clear out shortly after 4 p.m. the decision was made to delay the match to see if it could be played outdoors. Unfortunately the rain hadn't stopped by 3 p.m. so therefore due to the TV commitment to ESPNU the match had to proceed indoors with a 4 p.m. start. I was told that if they didn't begin by 4 p.m. they'd lose one of the two time windows which would have meant the women's final wouldn't have made it on the air.
As I mentioned earlier in the week, Georgia's four-court indoor facility is not the ideal place to play a match because aside from the obvious that you can only play four matches at once there also wasn't much air circulation inside so it got awfully humid with all the people packed in. The other negative was the live scoring only did game scoring and not point-by-point so unless you were keeping track of the score yourself it was hard to know where things stood since you couldn't hear the chair umpire over all the noise. Once capacity was reached they stopped letting people in, similar to last year in Tulsa, so that left a sour taste in some people's mouths who traveled to Athens to see the event.
Photo by Bill Kallenberg (CapturedInAction.com)
For the third day in a row the weather played a role at the NCAA Championships with a four-hour delay disrupting both men's semifinals matches. Both matches were moved up to a 10 a.m eastern start due to the shaking forecast but just before each match hit the three-hour mark the rain started to fall and it was followed by lightning which triggered an automatic 30-minute delay. Every effort was made to resume play outdoors and the courts were dry around 3 p.m but before warmups began it started raining again. The radar had been showing a three-hour window between 4 and 7 that was supposed to be good but when that window disappeared the decision was made to go inside.. Once play resumed indoors at 5 p.m. eastern, at Georgia's hot and humid four-court indoor facility, one match would be over in 60 seconds while the other lasted almost 45 minutes.
Virginia had won the doubles point 12 times in a row coming into today's match against Ohio State but the Buckeyes would put a halt to the streak after picking up wins No. 1 and No. 3. OSU's Hunter Tubert and JJ Wolf jumped out to a 3-1 lead at No. 3 and would then add a no-ad break for 5-2. Virginia's Collin Altamirano and JC Aragone broke back from 30/40 for 3-5 and then they held from 40/15 for 4-5. Wolf would slam the door shut by holding at love with an ace to give Ohio State a 6-4 win.
The second day of the NCAA Championships is half way over with the higher seeds winning in each of the first four matches. In the morning session, No. 2 seed North Carolina shutout out ACC rival Duke 4-0 on the main Henry Feild Courts while defending champion and No. 7 seed Stanford held off a late charge to defeat No. 10 Michigan 4-1. The two noon matches saw both of the SEC schools go down as Ohio State won fairly comfortably over South Carolina while Texas Tech came back from losing the doubles point to defeat Auburn 4-2.
PlaySight, the company behind the video and analytics SmartCourt, is partnering with the University of Georgia to provide live streaming throughout the upcoming 2017 NCAA Championships.
PlaySight SmartCourt technology is powering over 40 NCAA tennis programs. Among the 16 teams entering the third round of the tennis championships later this week in Athens, 10 on the women’s side and eight on the men’s side use PlaySight technology for video and analytics training, performance and live streaming.
To tune in to the live streaming throughout the 2017 NCAA Championships, bookmark this page for the live video and live scoring.
The opening day of the NCAA Tournament brought us a few good matches but for the most part it was blowout city as 23 of the 32 matches ended in 4-0 shutouts. All regional hosts won their matches 4-0, which was expected, but I was surprised that only one No. 3 seed was able to get past a No. 2 seed.
#42 Louisville was the No. 3 seed that pulled off the upset as the Cards knocked off #28 UCF in the lone 4-3 match of the day. UCF jumped out to the early 1-0 lead by claiming the doubles point with a 7-5 win at No. 2 and a 7-6(5) win in the decider at No. 3. Louisville came back strong in singles and picked five opening sets and both Parker Wynn and Clement Filho would win in straight sets to make it 2-1. UCF came back and forced three third sets and after Korey Lovett won at No. 1 and Mariano Porter at No. 4 the Knights led 3-2. Louisville's Nicolas Rouanet and Brandon Lancaster each went up early breaks in the third set on the two remaining courts and both would win 6-3 in the third with Rouanet getting the clincher. Below are some quotes from Louisville's recap:
The ITA released its latest team, singles, and doubles rankings today with the Wake Forest men and Florida women remaining in the top spots though Florida's gap narrowed a good bit after its loss to Vanderbilt. TCU and UCLA entered the top five on the men's side after TCU beat Baylor and Texas while UCLA defeated USC. Baylor's losses to TCU and Texas Tech knocked them down two spots to No. 6, USC fell one spot to No. 7, and Oklahoma State fell three spots to No. 8 after losing to Oklahoma. Purdue made the biggest jump in the top 50 by coming up 19 spots to No. 35 after the Boilers went on the road and beat both Minnesota and Wisconsin.
There wasn't a ton of movement in the women's top 10 with Stanford making the biggest climb by coming up two spots to No. 6 after defeating California while North Carolina and Georgia Tech fell two spots to No. 5 and No. 8. Georgia Tech came up short against Duke on Sunday while North Carolina's drop was due to a few of its best wins dropping a point here and there. Clemson made the biggest jump in the top 50 by coming up eight spots to No. 39 after the Tigers defeated Boston College and Notre Dame. The women's top 10 would have looked different had Auburn's win over Georgia been keyed in before the Monday cut-off but it wasn't so that result will go in for next week.
These team rankings were comprised of each team's nine best wins and all losses and it'll stay at nine up through the selection of the NCAA field. If you want to get an early look at what next week's rankings look like you can view my real-time rankings which are available to all College Tennis Today subscribers. As a note right now I am showing the first-run of next week's rankings and will do the second run on Sunday after the completion of all matches.
On Tuesday afternoon the NCAA announced the host sites for the 2019-2022 NCAA Championships with the National Tennis Center in Lake Nona the big winner. The new "Home of American Tennis" was awarded the 2019 and 2021 NCAA Division I Championships plus the 2022 NCAA Division III Championships. The full release from the USTA is available here. Oklahoma State University was awarded the 2020 NCAA D1 Championships, which will be the first time Stillwater has hosted, while the University of Illinois was chosen as host of the 2022 NCAA D1 Championships. Illinois previously hosted four years ago in 2013 when Virginia won its first national championship on the infamous net touch by Puget on championship point for UCLA. Below in the table are the sites for the next five years with 2018 sites announced several years ago.