Georgia won its fourth National Team Indoor Championship, and first since 2002, in a dramatic 4-3 thriller over defending champion and No. 2 seed North Carolina. The Bulldogs found themselves in a 1-0 hole for the third straight match after the Tar Heels cruised to a 6-1 win at No. 1 doubles and a 6-2 win at No. 2. The teams split opening sets in singles but only two of the six matches would finish in straight sets and both of those went to the team in Red and Black.
Georgia junior Elena Christofi put the Dawgs on the board with a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 5 singles and freshman Meg Kowalski ran her collegiate record to 11-0 with a 6-2, 7-6(3) win at No. 6. North Carolina junior Alexa Graham evened the match at 2-2 with a 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 win at No. 3 but Georgia would retake the lead with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win by sophomore Vivian Wolff at No. 4.
Georgia junior Marta Gonzalez was on the verge of clinching the championship after taking a 5-1 lead in the third set against Sara Daavettila at No. 2 but the Tar Heel junior wouldn't go away. Daavettila held from 40/15 to make it 5-2 and then she broke from 15/40 to make it 5-3. After going up 40/0, Daavettila fought off a match point to hold on the no-ad point for 5-4. Daavettila broke Gonzalez from 30/40 to even it at 5-5 but Gonzalez broke back on the no-ad point to go up 6-5. Daavettila broke at love to send the match to a tiebreak. Gonzalez won the opening point on Daavettila's serve but Daavettila took the next four and ended up pulling away for a 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(3) win.
The final match left on court was at No. 1 between North Carolina junior Makenna Jones and Georgia sophomore Katarina Jokic. As the match at No. 2 finished, the score was even at 5-5 in the third however minutes earlier Jones had led 5-2. During the changeover at 5-2 Jokic took a medical timeout and then she followed that up by taking the next four games to go up 6-5. Jones would break Jokic at love to send the match to a tiebreak however the tiebreak was all Jokic as she took it 7-2 to give Georgia the win.
"It is exciting," Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace said. "I'm really proud of this team, the coaches, and the support staff that was here. It was a total team effort, which makes it really special. Drake [Bernstein – Associate Head Coach] and I spent a lot of time talking to the team about the importance of supporting each other and being a true team and then to see them pull together like they have and lift each other up in tough situations and comeback in these tough matches that we are able to get in close fashion – really, really says a lot."
The finals are set at the Women's National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle and it'll be the No. 5 seed Georgia taking on the No. 2 seed and defending champion North Carolina. Georgia snapped Stanford's 25-match winning streak by knocking off the top seeded Cardinal 4-3 in a match that lasted just over 3 hours and 20 minutes while North Carolina beat No. 3 seed Duke 4-0 in 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Stanford jumped out to the early lead after taking the doubles point with a 6-3 win at No. 1 and a 7-5 win at No. 2 but Georgia came back strong in singles and claimed four opening sets. Georgia freshman Meg Kowalski was off the court quickly after a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 6 and sophomore Vivian Wolff put the Bulldogs in front with a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 4. Stanford sophomore Janice Shin evened the match at 2-2 with a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 5 but Georgia junior Marta Gonzalez made it 3-2 with a 7-5, 6-2 win at No. 2. Stanford senior Caroline Lampl tied it at 3-3 with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 3 so the match would be decided by a third set at No. 1 singles.
Georgia sophomore Katarina Jokic jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the final set against Stanford sophomore Michaela Gordon however Gordon would hold and break to even it at 3-3. Gordon went up 40/30 in her next service game however Jokic would take the next two points to break for 4-3. Jokic held at love for 5-3 and then broke Gordon from 15/40, after a Gordon drop shot sailed wide, to take it 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Georgia will be making its eighth appearance in the finals of the National Team Indoors with the Bulldogs going 3-4 in the previous seven. Georgia's most recent finals appearance came in 2015, a 4-1 loss to North Carolina, while their last title came back in 2002.
There was tennis played again in Seattle after snow wiped out Saturday's schedule at the Women's National Team Indoors and while most of the favorites won there was one mild upset. In an all-SEC dual, it was the No. 5 seed Georgia coming back from 3-1 down to defeat No. 4 Vanderbilt 4-3. The Commodores took the early lead with a 7-5 win at No. 1 doubles and a 6-4 win at No. 2 and then the teams split opening sets in singles. Georgia's Katarina Jokic put the Bulldogs on the board with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 1 but Vandy answered seconds later with a 6-2, 7-6 win from Christina Rosca at No. 2. Vandy's Amanda Meyer extended the lead to 3-1 with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 win at No. 4 and it looked like the match was all but over with Emily Smith leading 5-0 in the third at No. 5. However, Georgia junior Elena Christofi would win the next seven games to close it out 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. The Christofi comeback changed the momentum on the rest of the courts as well and both Meg Kowalski and Lourdes Carle would pull away in their third sets to complete the 4-3 Georgia win.
"We won a lot of third set matches today, and it was super exciting out there," said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace. "This was our biggest test so far, and we knew anybody you play out here is going to be really good, and it's going to be a battle. It takes a lot of maturity and discipline to hang in there like Elena did after getting down 5-0 and fighting back. Katarina (Jokic) got us on the board at No. 1 with a big win in a matchup of two of the best players in the country and then two freshmen came through in Meg (Kowalski) and Lourdes.
Tennis was played in many parts of the country on Saturday but one place where it wasn't was in Seattle. Almost a foot of snow closed down the University of Washington and made the roads unsafe so the second day of the Women's National Team Indoors was called off. As it stands right now a full schedule will be played on Sunday with the main draw quarterfinal matches to be played at 10 am and 1 pm pacific time while the consolation matches are scheduled for 4 pm and 7 pm pacific time. The semifinals will be played on Monday with a Tuesday final though I'm not sure if they'll be another round of consolation matches played on Monday. Check out Slam.Tennis for the full schedule along with any changes that are made throughout the day.
While snow knocked out play in Seattle it was rain that did in the highly anticipated top 10 men's clash in Los Angeles between No. 7 UCLA and No. 10 Stanford. However just 12 miles away at USC there was no rain and No. 5 USC and Cal were able to play a full four plus hour classic that saw Cal come back from 1-3 down to stun USC 4-3. It was the second day in a row the Trojans led a match at home 3-1 only to see the lead disappear in heartbreaking fashion.
The opening day at the Women's National Team Indoors in Seattle turned into an extremely long day despite singles being played first in each of the eight round of 16 matches. Three of the first four matches were decided by a sudden death doubles point with the higher seeded team winning each of those matches. Due to the weather closing down the University of Washington at 3pm (pacific) the final match of the day between Stanford and LSU was shifted to the Seattle Tennis Club with the match not getting underway until 7:30pm (pacific) after initially having a 2pm start time.
The No. 3 seed Duke edged Ohio State 4-3 in the opening match at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. The Blue Devils got off to a great start in singles picking up five opening sets and they'd get lightning quick wins from Kaitlyn McCarthy and Ellyse Hamlin at No. 4 and No. 6 singles with the duo only dropping only two games total. Despite the big early deficit, the Buckeyes would withstand the storm and fight back to get splits on three of the other courts while adding a straight set win from Isabelle Boulais at No. 1. Kolie Allen actually gave OSU its first point with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 win at No. 3 and then after Boulais tied it at 2-2 Shiori Fukuda would put the Buckeyes in front with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 2. In the final singles match at No. 5, Duke's Margaryta Bilokin picked up a crucial break on the deciding point to go in front 5-4 in the third and then she'd serve it out to win 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.
The match-deciding doubles point saw three lopsided scores with Duke winning 6-1 at No. 2, Ohio State winning 6-1 at No. 1, and Duke's Kelly Chen and Meible Chi clinching the victory at No. 3 with a 6-2 win.
Notre Dame, ranked No. 11, went into Wednesday's night home clash against No. 14 Illinois with an undefeated record and seeking a fourth win over a top 15 opponent but despite a great start in singles they'd be unable to hang on as Illinois came storming back from a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3. Illinois, which was playing just its second match of the season after getting an automatic berth into the National Indoors due to being the host, jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after claiming doubles wins at No. 1 and No. 2. Notre Dame came back in singles and won all six opening sets and would finish three out in straight sets with Alex Lebedev, Tristan McCormick, and Guillermo Cabrera winning at No. 1, No. 4, and No. 6.
Illinois managed to get splits on the other three courts and one by one they'd all fall the way of the Illini. Zeke Clark cut the deficit to 3-2 with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 3 and Caleb Chakravarthi tied it at 3-3 with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 5. The deciding match at No. 2 would be a back and forth affair with Illinois junior Aleks Kovacevic coming out on top over Notre Dame sophomore Richard Ciamarra 6-7, 6-2, 6-4. Ciamarra went up a break at 4-3 in the third but Kovacevic broke back, held, and broke again to close it out.
The ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship gets underway on Friday morning in chilly Madison, Wisconsin. Florida, which is the No. 8 seed, is the defending champion but the Gators will have an uphill climb after dropping its last two to Florida State and Oklahoma State. North Carolina will attempt to make it to the finals for the fourth year in a row while the top seed Vanderbilt will look to win its first NTI Championship.
All matches will be held on campus at Wisconsin with live streaming available via PlaySight for the matches on courts 1 through 6 (Duke/SC, UCLA/TT, GT/Mich, Florida/Wisconsin). There will be live scoring available for all matches at this link.
Below are the projected singles lineups for each match along with how each team qualified. 11 of the 16 teams are undefeated with Texas (Illinois), South Carolina (UCF), Michigan (Duke), Auburn (Princeton), and Florida (Florida State & Oklahoma State) the only ones with blemishes.
For the first time in 18 years the Women's National Team Indoor Championship is coming back to Gainesville after the top ranked and No. 1 seed Florida Gators held off second ranked/seed North Carolina 4-2. Florida got off to a great start in doubles by going up early breaks at No. 2 and No. 3 and it would only take 21 minutes for Florida's Josie Kuhlman and Belinda Woolcock to win 6-0 at No. 3. Florida's Ingrid Neel and Anna Danilina jumped out to a 2-0 lead at No. 2 and they'd add one more break to go up 5-2 and then Danilina would hold on the no-ad point to clinch the doubles point with a 6-2 win. The match at No. 1 was abandoned with the score tied at 4-4.
The finals are set at the 2017 Women's National Team Indoor Championships and after three days of action it has all come down to the top seed Florida and the second seed North Carolina. In the opening semifinal of the day at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, North Carolina and the No. 7 seed Ohio State went toe-to-toe for just under three hours. North Carolina struck first during the doubles point with Hayley Carter and Sara Daavettila winning 6-2 at No. 1 but Ohio State's Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase countered with a 6-4 win at No. 2. The decider at No. 3 went back and forth with North Carolina's Alexa Graham and Chloe Ouellet-Pizer jumping out to an early 3-1 lead but Ohio State's Ferny Angeles Paz and Olivia Sneed won three straight to go ahead 4-3. After three straight holds, North Carolina went up 0/40 on Sneed's 5-5 service game but the Buckeye duo battled back to hold on the no-ad point for 6-5. Graham held from 40/30 to send the match to a tiebreak and after the teams split the first 10 points North Carolina took the last two to win it 7-6(5).
The battle of the OSU's ended up being the closest match of the day in New Haven with Ohio State getting the best of Oklahoma State 4-3. Oklahoma State rolled through the doubles point with a 6-2 win at No. 2 and a 6-1 win at No. 3 but Ohio State bounced back in singles and took four opening sets.
Oklahoma State's Aliona Bolsova extended the Cowgirls lead to 2-0 with a straight set win at No. 4 but Ohio State would pick up straight set wins from Francesca Di Lorenzo, Gabriella De Santis, and Ferny Angeles Paz at No. 1, No. 3, and No. 6 to make it 3-2 Ohio State. The other two matches went the distance with Oklahoma State's Katarina Adamovic getting the win at No. 2 to tie the match at 3-3 but Ohio State's Miho Kowase would pull away from Carla Tur Mari in the decider at No. 6 and take it 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.