Saturday was a busy day across the Pac-12 with 8 of the 9 men's schools in action while there were 4 in action on the women's side. On the men's side #7/#6 Stanford and Cal finished off weekend sweeps of #21 Arizona and Arizona State. Stanford won a top 25 showdown over Arizona in convincing fashion with the Cardinal winning every completed set in singles. Cal came back from 2-0 down with four straight set wins in singles to defeat Arizona State 4-2.
#12/#21 Oregon overcame a slow start at home to defeat Washington 5-1. The Ducks dropped the doubles point but won a lot of close first sets and used that as a springboard to collect four straight set wins.
#19/#12 USC was playing without one of its top players, Daniel Cukierman, but managed to pull through on the road over #41 Utah 4-2. The Trojans jumped out to a 3-0 lead but Utah won the top two spots in straight sets to pull within 3-2. Both of the remaining matches went three sets and it'd be USC freshman Jack Sands clinching at No. 5 with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win while the match at No. 3 went unfinished with Utah junior Slava Shainyan leading 6-5.
For the most part Friday was a pretty dull day but Saturday delivered us some gems including two big comeback wins. I'll start with the upset of the day which came in Stillwater when Illinois rallied from 3-0 down to stun No. 11 seed Oklahoma State 4-3. The Cowboys took the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3 and then each team took three opening sets in singles. Oklahoma State seniors Lucas Gerch and Lukas Finzelberg made quick work of their opponents at No. 3 and No. 6 to make it 3-0 but Illinois started winning all the close sets and got back in the match.
Aron Hiltzik put the Illini on the board with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 2 which elicited a big fist pump from head coach Brad Dancer and then both Aleks Kovacevic and Zeke Clark would win their matches within seconds of each other to tie it up at 3-3. Clark came back from a 4-0 first set deficit to take the set 6-4 and then he won the second set in a tiebreak by a 10-8 score. Kovacevic had a chance to close his match out in straight sets but after failing to do so he won the third set 6-0.
Illinois junior Aleks Vukic, who missed yesterday's match against Drake, would get the clincher with a 7-6, 7-6 win over Julian Cash at No. 1. Illinois is headed back to the Sweet 16 for the first time in two years and in doing so that means that an unseeded team has advanced to the Sweet 16 every year since the NCAA field was expanded to 64 teams in 1999.
Georgia Tech junior Chris Eubanks accepted a main draw wild card into the BB&T Atlanta Open, which is an ATP 250 event, with his opening round match scheduled for Tuesday, July 25. Eubanks has played in the main draw of the Atlanta event two years in a row though he had to go through qualies last year to do so. Eubanks has been ranked in the ITA Top 10 all year and was recently named the ACC Men's Player of the Year for the second year in a row. For more information see the release from the BB&T Atlanta Open.
The NCAA Division II Men's Round of 16 got underway today in Altamonte Springs, Florida, with #1 West Florida, #2 Barry, #3 Columbus State, #4 Hawaii Pacific, #14 Azusa Pacific, #16 Ferris State, #18 Drury, and #23 Southwest Baptist moving on to tomorrow's quarterfinal round. Of those eight winners the only lower ranked team to win was Southwest Baptist which defeated #20 St. Mary's (TX) 5-3. The highest profile matchup in the quarterfinals will be #1 West Florida taking on #4 Hawaii Pacific. For the men's bracket click here and to see individual match results click here. The women's round of 16 gets started tomorrow though I see that #1 BYU-Hawaii and #2 Barry are in the same quarterfinal so I'm not sure what's going on with the bracket making at the D2 level. The bracket is available here and the box scores from each match are available here. The brackets don't have any seeds listed (guess they don't do that?) so it's kind of hard to tell who is the better team without going through the rankings.
It was an exciting morning/early afternoon of tennis in Norman that ended with a pair of seeding upsets. For the second time in five days Texas Tech upset Baylor with the Red Raiders riding a hot start in both singles and doubles to take the match 3-2. Baylor's Max Tchoutakian fought off several match points at No. 2 to force a third set but shortly thereafter Texas Tech's Connor Curry clinched the win at No. 4. Check out Texas Tech's recap for all the details.
In the other match that was taking place at the same time it was the host Oklahoma knocking off Texas 4-3. The Sooners won a crucial doubles point and then with the match tied at 3-3 senior Alex Ghilea came back from 2-0 down in the third set to win the final six games to clinch the win. Check out Oklahoma and Texas's recaps for more details.
It’s been a season of milestone wins and broken records for the Oregon men’s tennis team.
The Ducks (18-5, 4-3 Pac-12) closed the regular season tied for fourth place in the conference, their best Pac-12 finish ever, and now head to Pac-12 Championships in Ojai, Calif., as the No. 4 seed and with a first-round bye, awaiting either Stanford and Arizona in the quarterfinals.
Oregon’s 18 wins are second-most under head coach Nils Schyllander, only behind last season’s 19, and its 4-3 win over No. 15 Stanford on April 16 matched the highest-ranked win in program history. The Ducks are currently ranked 21st in the nation and have been ranked in the top 25 for 10 consecutive weeks, the longest streak in UO history.
Individually, senior Jayson Amos has broken the Oregon all-time singles wins record (92), sophomore Thomas Laurent broke the single-season wins record (29) as well as the consecutive singles wins record (18), and Schyllander surpassed 200 career wins.
Sunday was as wild a day as it gets in the SEC with four lower ranked women's teams picking up wins with two of those wins coming over No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Georgia. The SEC is the only Power 5 Women's Conference to have its conference tournament this coming week so many of these same teams will see each other much sooner than they had probably hoped. Sunday was a day of redemption for some teams on the men's side with both Oregon and Michigan overcoming tough losses to pick up a top 25 win.
Cal came into Friday evenings match against No. 23 Oregon with a perfect 33-0 record all-time against the Ducks but the streak nearly came to an end. Cal picked up the all-important doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3 but Oregon came back in singles and picked up three quick straight set wins from Akihiro Tanaka, Cormac Clissold, and Ty Gentry to go in front 3-1. Cal came back to tie it up with Andre Goransson and Filip Bergevi each winning in straight sets so the match would be decided in a third set at No. 1 between a pair of Frenchmen.
Cal senior Florian Lakat (Paris) took the first set 6-4 but Oregon sophomore Thomas Laurent (Montpellier) snagged the second 7-5 after breaking Lakat's 6-5 service game. After an exchange of holds, Laurent went up 30/40 on Lakat's 1-2 service game but Lakat hit back-to-back forehand winners to hold for 2-2. Laurent held for 3-2 and then he went up 30/40 on Lakat's serve but Lakat hit back-to-back service winners to hold for 3-3. Laurent held for 4-3 and then once again he'd go up 30/40 on Lakat's serve but Lakat hit an ace out wide and then on the deciding point he hit a service winner to hold for 4-4. Laurent had been cruising on his serve all set but Lakat would break him on the no-ad point after hitting a forehand winner that just clipped the sideline right in front of the chair. Laurent actually called the shot out but the chair quickly overruled it so now Lakat was serving for the match up 5-4. Lakat would serve it out from 40/15 to give Cal a tough 4-3 win.
Saturday was a busy day out west with USC and Baylor advancing to the finals of the BNP Paribas Open Collegiate Tennis Challenge while Oregon defeated Tulane to win the San Diego Spring Break Tournament. Virginia played its first competitive match in a month and dominated Notre Dame in South Bend. Mississippi State, Auburn, and Florida each went on the road in the SEC and won 4-3 matches.
It's not uncommon for a No. 2 seed to knock out a host during the Kick-Off Weekend but when the No. 2 seed is Utah State and the No. 1 is TCU the idea of Utah State pulling it off was something that few outside of Logan could have ever imagined. TCU, which finished last year ranked 57 spots higher than Utah State, came into the match riding a 31-match home court winning streak while Utah State was only participating in a Kick-Off Weekend regional for the second time in school history. The Aggies, led by first-year head coach James Wilson, got off to a slow start in doubles after TCU jumped out to early break leads at No. 1 and No. 2. TCU's Jerry Lopez and Reese Stalder only needed 20 minutes to win 6-0 at No. 1 but the other two courts would tighten up with Utah State breaking back at No. 2 while No. 3 also went back and forth. TCU's No. 2 team of Alex Rybakov and Guillermo Nunez retook the break at 5-3 and then Rybakov served it out to win 6-3 which gave TCU the doubles point and early 1-0 lead.
The fall season came to a close on Sunday with Baylor, Oregon, North Texas, and Rice getting the strongest all-around performances from several of its players. See who won titles and see who came up short.