The second day of the 2017 Men's ITA National Team Indoor Championships brought us two thrilling main draw matches and two that were over shortly after they started. All four semifinalists were top five seeds with three hailing from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the fourth comes from the Big Ten.
We'll start off with one of the two thrillers as the No. 4 seed California took on the No. 5 seed North Carolina. At last year's NTIs, North Carolina made a habit of winning matches after dropping the doubles point and it seems like that tradition has continued this year. Cal jumped out to early break leads on all three courts with Andre Goransson and Billy Griffith breaking on the no-ad point to go up 3-1 at No. 2, Bjorn Hoffmann and JT Nishimura breaking at love to go up 3-2 at No. 3, and Filip Bergevi and Florian Lakat breaking to go up 4-2 at No. 1.
Bergevi and Lakat would finish first at No. 1 with Lakat hitting an ace down the T on the 40/30 point to win it 6-4. North Carolina actually called the serve out but when Cal appealed the call the chair overturned it to make the result official. North Carolina's Blaine Boyden and Simon Soendergaard got their match at No. 3 back on serve at 4-4 however Cal would break back to go up 5-4. Cal's Goransson and Griffith would maintain their early break lead at No. 2 and Griffith would serve it out from 40/30 with a service winner to give Cal the doubles point with a 6-3 win.
The match at No. 3 went unfinished with Cal's Bjorn Hoffmann serving 5-4 (40/40) - Hoffmann and Nishimura thought they won it on the 40/30 point but their out call on a shot on the baseline was overruled by the chair. Hoffmann missed his first serve on the 40/40 point and before he could serve up his second serve Cal clinched.
The opening day of the 2017 Men's National Team Indoor Championships is in the books and it was an action packed day that saw one exciting dual-match after another. Each of the four time slots had at least one close match and the 3:30 time slot had two close ones. The top two seeds, Virginia and Wake Forest, faced the least resistance while the No. 3 seed Ohio State faced some resistance but managed to close out enough courts before Oklahoma could get on the board. The UCLA/USC match was the only one to finish with a 4-3 score while four matches finished 4-2.
The Sunday afternoon men's schedule was packed to the brim with three top 25 teams facing each other plus several other ranked teams would be tested against stiff competition. Last season Wake Forest went to Stillwater in late January and got beat so when they made the return trip on Sunday they had a pretty good idea of what was in store. Wake Forest jumped out to the early 1-0 lead by taking the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3 and then less than an hour later the lead would grow even more. Wake sophomore Petros Chrysochos was nearly flawless in a 6-0, 6-1 win over Lukas Finzelberg at No. 2 and then junior Skander Mansouri made it 3-0 after Julian Cash retired after the first set at No. 1.
Oklahoma State battled back with straight set wins from Arjun Kadhe, Lucas Gerch, and Jurence Mendoza so the match would be decided between a pair of January admits. Wake's Borna Gojo took the first set 7-5 but Oklahoma State's Artur Dubinski stayed right with him in the second set. As the second set entered a tiebreak both players began to cramp though Gojo was able to power through it to take a 6-0 lead. Dubinski took three straight to pull within 6-3 but after he hit a volley winner he hobbled slowly to the back wall and before he was able to serve it up again the chair coded him for a time violation and the subsequent point penalty ended the match. Here is the stream of the finish - an odd scene to say the least!
The opening day of the Women's National Team Indoor Championships is in the books with seven of the top eight seeds advancing to the quarterfinals. There were some blowouts and some close ones though none of them came down to the deciding court with 4-0 and 4-1 scores accounting for six of the eight results with the other two being 4-2. We'll start with the one seeding upset of the day which took place at the Tennis and Fitness Center in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Vanderbilt, which is the No. 8 seed, came into the match with a perfect 4-0 record during the doubles point while Texas Tech had only won the point once in four attempts. Many folks including myself though Vandy was a shoe-in to take the doubles point but Texas Tech must have figured something out in the off-week because the Red Raiders rolled in doubles by picking up a 6-2 win at No. 3 and a 6-3 win at No. 2.
This past weekend was the first chance for several teams to knock the dust off their racquets and it was also our first chance to see some of the freshmen and January roster additions in action. I'll go back through the weekend that was and give my thoughts on several teams and where I see them headed this season plus I'll highlight those with stellar KOW performances. I'll also take a look at the freshmen and January roster additions that could be difference makers for their respective teams.
So who impressed me the most - I'll start with Oklahoma, led by first-year head coach Nick Crowell, played some dominating doubles against No. 19 Michigan and No. 17 Illinois. The Sooners won all four completed matches and led 5-3 in the two that went unfinished. As good as the the John Roddick coached OU teams were the one thing they weren't very consistent at was winning the doubles point (.52%). In singles play we knew that Andrew Harris would perform well but only dropping four games against a quality player like Aleks Vukic was more just good - it was great! Crowell only had four players on the roster during the fall so he had to restock the bottom of the lineup and his four newcomers led by Jochen Bertsch and Adrian Oetzbach have definitely held their own. Bertsch clinched the 4-0 win over Illinois with a 1 & 1 win at No. 6 plus he had a break lead deep in the third against Michigan. OU didn't drop a set at all against Illinois and even though it was pushed pretty hard by Michigan all but one of the guys was in winning position. OU's strength is going to be its experienced top four but if it can keep winning the doubles point at a 70-80% clip and at least get a split at 5 and 6 they are going to be a tough out for most teams.
Brown Director of Athletics Jack Hayes announced the hiring of Tim Gray as the Bears new men's head coach. Gray most recently served as a consultant at Donovan Sports Strategies with his last head coaching job coming at Bradley during the 2013-14 season. Bradley went 3-19 in that one season and dropped the program a few months after the season. Gray also spent six years as the women's coach at Auburn, three years as the women's coach at Eastern Michigan, along with a few other stops at the D3 level. Gray replaces Bryan Koniecko who went 24-26 (.480) in two seasons before leaving to become the women's head coach at Central Florida.
The draws for the US Open National Playoff were released today with Nick Meister (UCLA '12) the top seed on the men's side and Ayaka Okuno (semester at Georgia in 2013) is the top seed on the women's side. The doubles draws should be out soon with singles getting underway on Friday in New Haven, CT. Below are the draws with Universal Tennis Ratings listed as of 8/19.
The participants for this year's American Collegiate Invitational were release today. The tournament will take place during the second week of the US Open with the winner earning a wild card into the following year's US Open if they meet certain criteria.
The US Open National Playoff got underway today in New Haven with three of the four men's seeds and two of the four women's seeds advancing to the quarterfinals. The men's third seed Eric Quigley (Kentucky '12) was knocked off by UCLA senior Gage Brymer in two tiebreak sets while both the second and fourth seeds, Evan King and Jose Statham, came back from a set down to win in three sets. The top seed Nick Meister (UCLA '12) won the most lopsided match of the day 6-1, 6-1 over Philip Major.
The women's top seed Ayaka Okuno, who spent a semester at Georgia in 2013, was knocked off in straight sets by Sophie Chang while the fourth seed Ashley Weinhold lost in three-sets to North Carolina freshman Sara Daavettila. There was a Universal Tennis Rating upset as Eva Raszkiewicz rolled over Fernanda Contreras 6-3, 6-1 - Raszkiewicz's UTR was 1.52 lower but that didn't seem to bother her at all. All the results are listed in the table down below (two tabs) along with the quarterfinal matchups.
In Stillwater, Oklahoma State started off taking the doubles point and then in singles play managed to pick up 3 straight set wins at 2, 3, and 6. As a side note it was interesting that there were 2 singles matches that ended with 6-0 6-0 scores - don't see that often. Things won't get any easier for Alabama as they head south to Norman to take on #2 Oklahoma while Oklahoma State will host an SEC school for the 2nd day in a row as Arkansas comes in.
In Evanston, Harvard continued the strong play that we've seen so far this year from the Ivy League schools as they knocked off Boise State 4-3. Harvard won the doubles point going away then won 3 singles matches all in straight sets to go up 4-0. Boise State would win the final 3 courts after the clinch to make the final score 4-3. Boise State drops to 2-4 with the loss while Harvard goes to 5-1.
Boise State Recap
More Saturday Results
Nebraska def. Denver 4-3 with Husker #1 Dusty Boyer clinching it 7-6 in the 3rd - NEB Recap
#1 USC def UC Irvine 7-0 - USC Recap
#5 Illinois def. Purdue 6-1 in the Big 10 opener for each school - ILL Recap
#3 Virginia def. VCU 9-1 - UVA Recap
#10 UCLA def. San Diego State 4-0 - UCLA Recap
#33 Minnesota def. Wisconsin 4-1 in the Big 10 opener for each school - MN Recap
The Sunday schedule is fairly strong with the ones to watch being listed below. Follow each of these and more at the Live Scoring Links tab at the top.
The number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of the current date so Notre Dame's Quentin Monaghan has a 14.28 UTR as of today 2/21. For more details about UTR check out theirwebsite.
#17 Notre Dame (6-1) at #9 Ohio State (10-3) - 12pm est - Live Scoring & Streaming - Ohio State goes for #200 in a row at home (according to my records) though it won't be easy as Notre Dame usually gives Ohio State a tough match just about every year. Ohio State has won 10 straight in the series and leads the all-time series 28-27. A year ago in South Bend, Notre Dame jumped out to a 2-0 lead only to see Ohio State win 4 straight singles matches with the final 2 both being 7-6 in the 3rd. If the projected lineups below hold up there will be just 1 rematch from last year with that being the match at 1 where Diaz knocked off Monaghan 7-6, 6-4. Ohio State is 11-2 in doubles while Notre Dame is 6-1. The Irish must take the doubles point to have a realistic chance at stopping the streak but I think Ohio State gets the point and picks up wins from the bottom 3 of Steinbach, Callahan, and Metka to pull it out. Prediction: Ohio State 4-1
1. #29 Quentin Mongahan (ND 14.28) vs. #53 Chris Diaz (OSU 13.80)
2. #92 Josh Hagar (ND 13.74) vs. #30 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU 13.95)
3. Eddy Covalschi (ND 13.13) vs. Herkko Pollanen (OSU 13.58)
4. Eric Schnurrenberger (ND 13.45) vs. #68 Ralf Steinbach (OSU 13.91)
5. Billy Pecor (ND 12.98) vs. #110 Hunter Callahan (OSU 13.90)
6. Nicolas Montoya (ND 12.48) vs. Kevin Metka (OSU 13.80)
#32 Oklahoma State (8-2) at #19 Wake Forest (5-2) - 12pm est - Live Scoring & Video - Oklahoma State is coming off a 4-3 win over Tulsa on Thursday while Wake has been idle for almost 2 weeks. Last year Wake went to Stillwater and won 4-1 against a better Oklahoma State team but both teams have a lot of new faces in the lineup this year so this one could be very interesting. Wake shouldn't have much trouble up top with both Rubin and Bogaerts expected to roll but the matches at 3-6 could all be tight 3 setters. Wake is 5-2 in doubles while OK State is 6-4. I like Gerch, Meraut, and Ferrigno at 3, 4, and 6 for OK State. That leaves the doubles point and #5 singles as the swing points and I think Wake takes them both. Prediction: Wake Forest 4-3
1. #88 Jakob Sude (OSU 13.54) vs. #55 Noah Rubin (WF 14.79)
2. #87 Arjun Kadhe (OSU 13.57) vs. #14 Romain Bogaerts (WF 14.34)
3. Lucas Gerch (OSU 13.82) vs. #57 Jon Ho (WF 13.49)
4. Tristan Meraut (OSU 13.26) vs. Skander Mansouri (WF 13.07)
5. Jurence Mendoza (OSU 13.62) vs. Christian Seraphim (WF 13.40)
6. Nicolai Ferrigno (OSU 13.38) vs. Keivon Tabrizi (WF 12.92)
#34 Minnesota (7-2) at #25 Harvard (7-2) - 1pm est - Harvard Twitter & Video - Harvard comes in riding a 3 match winning streak after winning the ECAC Championships last weekend which included wins over Dartmouth, Princeton, and Yale while Minnesota comes off a hard fought 4-3 loss to Vanderbilt yesterday. Both of Harvard's losses (Cal & Northwestern) have come on the road and both were close so the Crimson will be happy to get Minnesota at home. Harvard went into the Twin Cities last year and came away with a 4-3 win so these teams will be fairly familiar with each other. Both Harvard and Minnesota are 8-1 in doubles. Nguyen and Toledo met earlier this year at the ITA National Indoors with Nguyen winning in straight sets and in the match last year Nguyen won in straights as well. I like Harvard at 1, 2, 3, and 6 while I like Minnesota at 4, 5, and doubles. Prediction: Harvard 4-3
1. #25 Leandro Toledo (MN 14.01) vs. #91 Denis Nguyen (HV 13.99)
2. Jack Hamburg (MN 13.15) vs. #80 Sebastian Beltrame (HV 13.21)
3. Ruben Weber (MN 13.14) vs. Nicky Hu (HV 13.78)
4. Matic Spec (MN 13.60) vs. Alex Steinroeder (HV 13.37)
5. Felix Corwin (MN 13.56) vs. Kenny Tao (HV 13.11)
6. Mathieu Froment (MN 13.04) vs. Shaun Chaudhuri (HV 13.26)
#39 Stanford (4-2) at #14 Cal (7-2) - 1pm est - Video & Cal Twitter - Cal is happy to be back in California after a trip to Chicago last weekend gave them their first 2 losses while Stanford will be playing its first competitive match since the Kickoff Weekend. Cal hasn't exactly excelled in doubles going just 5-4 while Stanford is 5-1 however Stanford has faced just 2 top 50 opponents while Cal has faced 5 top 30 opponents. Stanford came into the year with a lot of promise with a robust freshman class that brought in Tom Fawcett, David Wilczynski, and David Hsu but while Fawcett and Wilczynski have exceeded expectations many of the returning guys haven't played at the level they did a year ago. If Romanowicz and Paige were playing like they were capable of this would be Stanford's match to lose but I just can't take them seriously until they rise up and win a match like this. I'll take Bergevi, Nishimura, Bayane, and Engsted at 2, 4, 5, and 6 for Cal while I like Fawcett and Morrissey at 1 and 3 for Stanford. Prediction: Cal 4-3
1. #28 Tom Fawcett (ST 14.12) vs. #42 Andre Goransson (Cal 13.70)
2. David Wilczynski (ST 13.72) vs. #114 Filip Bergevi (Cal 13.66)
3. John Morrissey (ST 14.07) vs. Billy Griffith (Cal 13.68)
4. Maciek Romanowicz (ST 13.28) vs. JT Nishimura (Cal 13.86)
5. Nolan Paige (ST 13.36) vs. Greg Bayane (Cal 13.48)
6. Robert Stineman (ST 13.12) vs. Mads Engsted (Cal 13.41)
For other live scoring links check out my live scoring page.