History was made on Saturday with Paul Jubb becoming the first South Carolina man to win the NCAA Singles Championship after the junior from Hull, England, halted the 31-match winning streak of Mississippi State senior Nuno Borges.
Jubb, who also became the first British man to win the NCAA Singles Championship, took the early advantage after breaking Borges's opening service game but Borges broke back and held for 2-1. Jubb would regain the lead with a break on the deciding point for 4-3 and then after holding on the deciding point he'd break one more time to take the opening set 6-3.
Jubb went ahead 2-0 in the second set but Borges broke back and held for 2-2. It'd be all holds the rest of the way and then in the tiebreak Jubb opened up a 4-1 lead and cruised to take it 6-3, 7-6(2).
"I was so relentless with my feet," Jubb said. "That was the main thing we were saying with my coach, just going into every single ball. I'm one of the toughest players from the back and my tempo is so high, so I was just trying to keep that up the whole match."
"Unbelievable," Jubb said after the match. "I had to overcome so much mental toughness after losing to him twice this season. Overcoming that fear and regaining believe that I could win was so big for me today, and I did it."
"I look back, and it's amazing what I've done," Borges said. "People tell me how great my career has been and I have to take from that moving foward. I should be proud of myself for what I've done and take all of the positives from my tennis into the future."
"Nuno's a warrior," MSU head coach Matt Roberts said. "I was happy that he was able to develop here at Mississippi State and use our program to take him to the next level to where he can be a successful tennis pro. That, for me, is a huge step forward for our program. I'm just really proud of him for being such an incredible ambassador for Mississippi State and for college tennis. We can't wait to see what he does on the pro tour, and he always has a family here at Mississippi State."
The third time was the charm for Nuno Borges after the Mississippi State senior advanced to the finals of the NCAA Men's Singles Championship after a straight set win over TCU senior Alex Rybakov. Borges was playing in the NCAA Semifinals for the third year in a row but after losses the last two years he put it all together on Friday and became the first MSU men's player to advance to the NCAA Singles Final.
The opening set was back and forth with a total of five breaks of serve with the last coming when Borges broke Rybakov's 5-6 service game after Rybakov had three set points at 40/15.
In the second set, Rybakov broke Borges to go up 2-1 but Borges immediately broke back for 2-2. After a Borges hold for 3-2, he broke Rybakov for 4-2 and then it was all holds the rest of the way in the 7-5, 6-3 win.
"Today was about seeing who could apply the game plan better," Borges said. "We knew each other pretty well, so I knew I had to stick to my game plan and stay tough. I think, at the end, he was a little more tired than I was, so that helped me."
After the match Rybakov talked about what what makes Borges such a tough opponent, "He has the same intensity point in and point out. There are some guys here that will give you some here and there, but he makes you play every point. I had a couple three setters, today my legs were a little a bit tired and he got the best of me."
Borges will carry a 31-match winning streak into the final with two of those wins coming over his finals opponent, South Carolina junior Paul Jubb.
Jubb became the first Gamecocks man to advance to the finals after a three-set win over Illinois junior Aleks Kovacevic.
In the opening set, Jubb came back from 0-3 down to get it back on serve at 4-5 however Kovacevic would break back on the deciding point to take the set 6-4.
The second set started off with an exchange of breaks but Jubb would add a second break to go up 3-2. It'd be all holds the rest of the set with Jubb forcing a third after taking the second 6-4. "My coaches were saying that it 'doesn't matter if you run out of time in the first set; you're moving in the right direction, so just try to keep it going in the second set,' Jubb said. "I started seeing the ball a bit better and moving to the ball a bit better on my forehand. Things just started going forward in my direction."
Jubb took over in the final frame with a break to start the set and then he'd add a second break to go up 4-1. After an exchange of holds, Jubb served it out to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Kovacevic on how he would sum up his week in Orlando, "It was a great week. I took every opportunity I could. I really wanted it, to go all the way, but it happens. Credit to Paul, he played unbelievable. He’s a really good player, this was one of the matches where I really felt like I was pushed. I was on the defensive a lot and my game is usually to take it to him and play on the offense but he did a really good job of taking that away from me in the second and third sets so credit to him. I’ll just have to come back stronger next year.
When talking about his finals opponent (Borges), Jubb had this to say, "It's a great matchup. We've played twice already this season and both pushed each other to the limit. I'm going to do my best and see how it goes."
The men's final begins at 4 pm eastern and will be broadcast live on the Tennis Channel with live scoring available at this link.
The World University Games wrapped up on Monday in Taiwan with several U.S. college players bringing home medals. Jason Jung, who was born in Torrance (Calif) and played at Michigan from 2007 to 2011, won the gold medal in singles after not dropping a set during the whole competition. Jung was representing Chinese Taipei and even though he graduated from Michigan in 2011 he was eligible since is enrolled at a university in Taiwan.
Mississippi State rising junior Nuno Borges won the bronze medal in men's singles after making it to the semifinals before falling to Jung 6-3, 6-3. Borges defeated current U.S. collegians Jackie Tang (Columbia) and Yuya Ito (Texas) on his way to the semifinals.
Jack Findel-Hawkins (North Florida '17) and Luke Johnson (Clemson '16) picked up a silver medal for Great Britain after a narrow 6-1, 3-6, 10-7 loss to Russia's Richard Muzaev and Aslan Karatsev in the gold medal match. Findel-Hawkins and Johnson ousted the top seeds in the quarterfinals and didn't drop a set until the finals.
The World University Games in Taiwan are nearing its conclusion with the doubles gold medal match taking place late Sunday/early Monday while singles wraps up tomorrow. Great Britain's Jack Findel-Hawkins (North Florida '17) and Luke Johnson (Clemson '16) will play in the doubles gold medal match against Russia's Richard Muzaev and Aslan Karatsev with the match scheduled for no sooner than 2:30 a.m. eastern. Mississippi State junior Nuno Borges will meet the top seed Jason Jung (Michigan '11) in the singles semifinal with first serve scheduled for roughly 11:30 p.m eastern on Sunday night.
UCLA's Logan Staggs and Jada Hart are playing in the mixed doubles semifinals at roughly 1:30 a.m. eastern while Baylor sophomore Jessica Hinojosa is playing in the singles consolation final on Sunday night at 10 p.m. eastern. Live scoring for all matches will be available at this link.
It was just one week ago at the Portugal F8 Futures in Lisbon that Joao Monteiro (Va Tech '16) won the singles title with a close three set win over Nuno Borges (Miss St Rising Jr) so when they met again today in the finals of the $15K Portugal F9 in Setubal most were expecting another close battle. However if you showed up an hour after it started all you got to see was the trophy ceremony because Borges exacted some revenge with a quick 6-3, 6-0 win in a match that only took 57 minutes. Borges won 73% of the points on his first serve and held all eight times while breaking Monteiro four times. The singles title was the first of Borges's career and it also gave him three titles in the last two weeks with him also winning the doubles title at the Portugal F8 and F9.
Saturday was another great day for doubles with former college players winning six pro titles. Robert Lindstedt (Pepperdine '98) won a pro doubles title for the 20th year in a row as he and his doubles partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi won the ATP 250 Antalya (Turkey) Open with a 7-5, 4-1 retirement win over Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic. Lindstedt has won 47 career titles with the last 21 of those coming at the ATP level. His biggest tournament win came in 2014 when he and Lukasz Kubot won the Australian Open plus Lindstedt has also been a runner-up at Wimbledon three times. Lindstedt is currently ranked No. 44 in the latest ATP doubles rankings however he reached No. 3 back in 2013.
Georgia Tech rising senior Chris Eubanks and 2012 Georgia Tech graduate Kevin King lost in the doubles final last week in Winston-Salem but this week they struck pay dirt and won the title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Dominik Koepfer (Tulane '16) and Luis David Martinez. Eubanks and King only faced two breaks points all match and they fought both off while breaking their opponents two times. Eubanks and King both won their quarterfinal singles matches and will meet in the semifinals just six days after playing in the final last week. Eubanks defeating USC rising sophomore Riley Smith 7-6(2), 6-4 while King defeated Henry Craig (Denver '16) 6-2, 6-4. The top seed Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M '11) will face Tommy Paul in the other semifinal after Krajicek came back from 3-1 down in the third set to defeat Jose "Rubin' Statham 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
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