The USTA announced that the popular College MatchDay series will return to Lake Nona in 2018 with eight matches scheduled between February 3rd and April 15th. The series kicks off with the Florida State and Florida men and women playing simultaneously and then a week later the Georgia and Georgia Tech men will play on February 9. The USTA National Campus drew over 5300 fans a year ago including just under 1800 for Florida State's upset win over Florida. “Last year, College MatchDay cemented itself as the bowl series of college tennis, with marquee matches and elite programs,” said USTA Collegiate Tennis Director Stephen Amritraj via the USTA's release. “It is quickly turning the USTA National Campus into the 'Home of College Tennis,' with a devoted fan base and incredible atmosphere."
The full College MatchDay schedule for next year is listed below plus they'll be plenty of other college matches scheduled for Lake Nona as well.
Saturday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. ET: Florida vs. Florida State men and women
Friday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. ET: Georgia vs. Georgia Tech men
Saturday, Feb. 24, at 10:30 a.m. ET: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M men
Saturday, March 3, at 12:30 p.m. ET: UCF vs. Michigan men and women
Sunday, April 1, at 5 p.m. ET: Florida vs. Texas women
Sunday, April 15, at 5:30 p.m. ET: UCF vs. South Florida men
What a night of tennis it was in Winston-Salem as top-ranked Wake Forest fought through the wind and a tough as nails opponent to defeat previously undefeated No. 3 Virginia 5-2. The match was originally scheduled to start at 4 p.m. ET but due to a late shower the start was delayed two and a half hours until 6:30 p.m. Once play began both teams had to fight through windy conditions and as the sun dropped so did the temperature.
Virginia got off to a quick start at No. 3 doubles with JC Aragone and Collin Altamirano holding on a no-ad point and then breaking on a no-ad point to go up 2-0. Wake's Petros Chrysochos and Dennis Uspensky would break back back on a no-ad point and then hold on another no-ad point for 2-2. After an exchange of holds, Wake would break the Aragone serve at love to go up 4-3. Chrysochos would hold from 40/30 to make it 5-3 and then Wake broke the Altamirano serve from 30/40 to win it 6-3.
Virginia also went up an early break at No. 2 doubles when Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Alexander Ritschard broke the Alan Gadjiev serve from 30/40 to put Virginia in front 3-2. Gadjiev and Borna Gojo would put it back on serve at 4-4 when they broke the Ritschard serve from 30/40 on a point that ended with Gadjiev putting a volley away right on top of the net. Virginia claimed that Gadjiev's racquet came over the net on the final volley but the chair disagreed and the break stood. If you watch the clip just as the point ends Wake also breaks on 3 so that 25 seconds was a big sequence for the Deacs. After Gadjiev held from 40-15 for 5-4, Kwiatkowski fought off a match point on the no-ad point when the chair overruled Wake's out call on the serve. The match would end up going unfinished with Wake leading 6-5.
The USTA announced on Tuesday that it will be debuting a new set of college tennis rankings beginning on February 8th. A nine member panel (including myself) will vote on the D1 Men's and Women's Top 25 each week with the poll released on usta.com each Wednesday - the USTA's full release is available here. The USTA also recently announced that it was expanding its College MatchDay series to a few sites outside of National Campus in Orlando. The full schedule is available here but the highest profile matches will be Stanford/Oklahoma State (W) in Orlando on February 17th, Ohio State/Florida (W) in Orlando on March 14th, and Virginia/Wake Forest (M) in Winston-Salem on March 31st. All MatchDay matches will be shown on ESPN3.
The USTA College MatchDay Series has already lined up six matches at the soon to be completed 100-court USTA National Campus in Orlando. The first match will take place on January 21st when Adam Steinberg's Michigan Wolverines square off against George Husack's Alabama Crimson Tide and then in February there will be a pair of women's matches including a national championship rematch on February 17th between Stanford and Oklahoma State. In addition to these matches in Orlando there will also be several others in the MatchDay series including Virginia/Wake Forest in Winston-Salem on March 31st.
Six of the eight singles quarterfinalists at the $25K USA F40 Futures in Tallahassee have college ties though only two of them are seeded. Virginia senior JC Aragone booked his first-ever spot in a Futures quarterfinal after a 21-minute 2-1 retirement win over the sixth seed Christian Harrison. Aragone held on a six-deuce game to start the match and then two games later Harrison retired with an injury while serving at 15-30. Aragone will meet the second seed Tim Van Rijthoven on Friday after TVR defeated Florida State junior Guy Iradukunda 7-5, 6-3. Iradukunda earned his first ATP point in over two years when he upset recent Virginia graduate Ryan Shane in the opening round.