Wake Forest defeated North Carolina for the second time in the last five weeks with a 5-2 victory at home in Winston-Salem. North Carolina got off to a promising start after taking the doubles point and adding a straight set win from Mac Kiger at No. 6 but Wake tied it up at 2-2 with straight set wins from Petros Chrysochos and Rrezart Cungu at No. 2 and No. 5. The three remaining matches went three sets with Wake taking them all. Borna Gojo won 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 1 to make it 3-2, Bar Botzer got the clincher with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 3, and to close out the day Melios Efstathiou won 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4 at No. 4.
The Winston-Salem Journal has a good recap of the match with quotes from Tony Bresky, Sam Paul, Borna Gojo, and Bar Botzer so make sure you give it a read.
Wake Forest now has a two game lead in the ACC over North Carolina and Virginia while Miami is just one game back however the Canes still have to play both Wake and UVA.
After a pretty ho-hum Saturday, Sunday brought us several good matches with a few upsets and a few near-upsets. #15/#11 USC pulled off the biggest upset of the day by going to Austin and defeating #3/#1 Texas 4-2. The Trojans grabbed the early lead with doubles wins at No. 2 and No. 3 and then the teams split opening sets in singles. All matches that finished did so in straight sets with USC getting wins from Brandon Holt, Riley Smith, and Mor Bulis at 1, 5, and 6 while Texas picked up wins from Yuya Ito and Harrison Scott at 2 and 4 while Leo Telles led 6-4, 4-4 on 3.
#8/#12 Mississippi State extended its home winning streak to 24 with a late rally to get past #22/#19 Georgia 4-3. Georgia claimed the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3 but Mississippi State fought back in singles with four opening sets. Strahinja Rakic and Nuno Borges rolled to straight set wins at No. 4 and No. 1 to make it 2-1 but Georgia's Trent Bryde would tie it at 2-2 with a straight set win at No. 3. Georgia senior Walker Duncan made it 3-2 with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 6 and it looked like match at No. 4 was all but over with Georgia freshman Philip Henning serving up 4-6, 6-2, 5-2 (30/0) against MSU senior Trevor Foshey. However on the 30/0 point Henning would go down on the baseline with what appeared to be a pretty severe ankle sprain.
Henning did his best to continue after a lengthy medical timeout but he could barely put any weight on his injured ankle and Foshey quickly won point after point. With the outcome of that match all but certain the focus went to No. 2 where MSU junior Giovanni Oradini led Georgia senior Jan Zielinski 5-4 in the third. Oradini had jumped out to a 4-1 lead early in the set but Zielinski managed to get it back on serve at 4-4. After Oradini held for 5-4 he'd get the pivotal break to close it out 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to make it 3-3. Moments later Foshey would close out Henning 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 to extend the home winning streak to 25. Unlike most match clinchers there was no celebration in this one with Foshey and Henning hugging at the net while the teams exchanged handshakes.
Friday brought us seven matchups between top 25 teams with five taking place on the men's side and two on the women's side. The only top 10 matchup took place in Nashville with fifth-ranked Vanderbilt hosting sixth-ranked South Carolina. The Gamecocks hadn't beaten Vandy in Nashville since 2005 but the 14 year drought came to end thanks to a few key points in doubles and then getting all around strong play throughout the singles lineup.
South Carolina grabbed the early lead after taking the doubles point with a 6-1 win at No. 1 and a 7-6(4) win at No. 2. In singles, SC claimed four opening sets and they'd manage to close three out in straight sets. Ingrid Gamarra Martins was first off the court with a 7-5, 6-4 win at No. 1 and Kennedy Wicker followed with a 6-2, 7-6 win at No. 6. While the matches at No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 were deep in the third set, SC senior Paige Cline would close out her match at No. 2 in straight sets with a 6-2, 7-6(4) win.
Wednesday had a pretty solid schedule on the men's side with five matches between top 50 teams including a pair between top 15 teams. Fourth-ranked Florida improved to 13-2 with a dominating 6-1 win at home over #13/#16 Illinois. The Gators grabbed the early lead with 6-3 wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles and then in singles they won five opening sets. Sam Riffice, Andy Andrade, Johannes Ingildsen, and McClain Kessler won in straight sets at 2, 3, 4, and 5 while Duarte Vale came back from a set down to win in three sets at 6. Illinois picked up its lone point from Aleks Kovacevic who came back from a set down to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 1 singles over Oliver Crawford.
The other top 15 matchup between #10/#7 TCU and #12/#10 Columbia saw TCU win a close doubles point and then take all six opening sets in singles before Columbia fought back to force third sets on five courts. The Horned Frogs claimed the doubles point by winning the decider at No. 1 in a tiebreak (7-5) and senior Alex Rybakov rolled to a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 1 over #16 Jack Lin. Columbia cut the deficit to 2-1 after a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win by Austen Huang at No. 6 but TCU would close it out with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win by Reese Stalder at No. 3 and a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win by Alastair Gray at No. 2. The other two matches went unfinished with TCU a game away from a win at No. 4 while Columbia was a game away at No. 5.
How is seeding done at most conferences?
There are some conferences that play a round robin format during the regular season and some that do not. The ones that do not play a full round robin format usually seed the conference tournament based off the most recent ITA rankings. The next thing you're probably wondering is what if there aren't any teams ranked in the ITA top 50 - then what? The conferences and schools are able to see the unpublished rankings so that way they can seed accordingly.
Pac-12 Conference - Ojai, Ca - April 24-27
#9 Washington State def. #8 Colorado 4-0
#1 Stanford def. #9 Washington State 4-0
#1 Stanford def. #4 USC 4-0
Thursday (First Round)
#9 Purdue def. #8 Michigan State 4-2
#10 Iowa def. #7 Indiana 4-2
#1 Michigan vs. #9 Purdue 4-0
#5 Northwestern def. #4 Ohio State 4-0
#2 Wisconsin def. #10 Iowa 4-3
#3 Illinois def. #6 Minnesota 4-0
#1 Michigan def. #5 Northwestern 4-1
#1 Michigan def. #3 Illinois 4-1
Wednesday (First Round)
#4 Duquesne def. #13 St. Bonaventure 4-0
#5 Davidson def. #12 Saint Joseph's 4-1
#9 Saint Louis def. #8 Rhode Island 4-3
#3 Massachusetts def. #14 La Salle 4-0
#6 Richmond def. #11 Dayton 4-0
#7 Fordham def. #10 George Mason 4-0
No. 5 Southern Utah def. No. 4 Eastern Washington 4-3
No. 1 Northern Arizona def. #5 Southern Utah 4-0
No. 2 Idaho def. #3 Weber State 4-3
#1 Northern Arizona def. #2 Idaho 4-0
Big West Conference - Indian Wells, CA - April 25-28
No. 1 UC Santa Barbara def. #9 UC Riverside 5-0
No. 4 Hawai'i def. No. 5 UC Davis 4-0
No. 3 Long Beach State def. No. 6 Cal Poly 4-0
No. 2 Cal State Fullerton def. No. 7 CSUN 4-3
#4 Hawai'i def. #1 UC Santa Barbara 4-3
#3 Long Beach State def. #4 Hawai'i 4-3
Horizon League - West Lafayette, IN - April 26-28
No. 5 Wright State def. No. 4 Milwaukee 4-2
No. 1 UIC def. #4 Wright State 4-1
#1 Illinois Chicago def. #2 Cleveland State 4-0
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) - West Windsor, NJ - April 27-28
No. 1 Quinnipiac def. No. 4 Siena 4-1
No. 2 Fairfield def. No. 3 Marist 4-1
Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) - Norfolk, VA - April 25-27
South No. 1 South Carolina State def. North No. 4 Coppin State 4-0
South No. 2 Florida A&M def. North No. 3 Delaware State 4-0
South No. 3 North Carolina Central def. North No. 2 Howard 4-1
Mid-American Conference (MAC) - Buffalo, NY - April 26-28
No. 4 Ball State def. No. 5 Toledo 4-1
No. 6 Buffalo def. No. 3 Western Michigan 5-0
#1 Miami OH def. #4 Ball State 4-0
Mountain West Conference - San Diego, CA - April 24-27
#7 Utah State def. #10 Boise State 4-3
#6 Colorado State def. #11 Nevada 4-1
#1 UNLV def. #8 San Jose State 4-0
#2 Air Force def. #7 Utah State 4-1
#3 San Diego State def. #6 Colorado State 4-2
#1 UNLV def. #5 Wyoming 4-0
#1 UNLV def. #3 San Diego State 4-0
No. 2 Illinois St. def. No. 7 Valparaiso 4-0
No. 3 Bradley def. No. 6 UNI 4-0
Ohio Valley - Nashville, TN (April 26-28)
#6 UT Martin def. #3 Murray State 4-3
#5 Southeast Missouri def. #4 Belmont 4-1
#1 Austin Peay def. #5 Southeast Missouri 4-0
No. 4 Bucknell def. No. 5 Loyola Maryland 4-0
No. 3 Army West Point def. No. 6 Lehigh 4-0
No. 2 Navy def. No. 7 Colgate 4-0
Southland Conference - Corpus Christi, TX - April 25-27
No. 2 Northwestern State def. No. 7 New Orleans 4-1
No. 1 Abilene Christian def. No. 8 Lamar 4-0
No. 4 Sam Houston State def. No. 5 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 4-2
#3 Central Arkansas def. #4 Sam Houston State 4-2
#1 Denver def. #3 Omaha 4-0
West Coast Conference - Claremont, CA - April 25-27
#1 Pepperdine def. #3 Gonzaga 4-1
#4 UT Rio Grande Valley def. #5 Chicago State 4-1
#3 Kansas City def. #6 Seattle 4-`
#2 New Mexico State def. #1 Grand Canyon 4-3
Week of April 15th-21st
#11 Arkansas def. #14 Missouri 4-1
#9 Syracuse def. #8 Georgia Tech 4-3
#1 North Carolina def. #9 Syracuse 4-0
#1 North Carolina def.. #5 Miami FL 4-0
#1 North Carolina def. #2 Duke 4-2
Thursday (First Round)
#8 Baylor def. #9 Iowa State 4-0
Big South - Radford, VA (April 16-19)
Tuesday (First Round):
Wednesday (First Round)
#5 Wichita State def. #12 UConn 4-0
#6 SMU def. #11 Tulane 4-2
#10 Cincinnati def. #7 ECU 4-1
#1 UCF def. #2 South Florida 4-0
Atlantic Sun - DeLand, FL (April 18-20)
#4 Florida Gulf Coast def. #5 Stetson 4-0
#4 Florida Gulf Coast def. #1 Liberty 4-3
#7 Creighton def. #10 Providence 4-0
#2 DePaul def. #7 Creighton 4-0
#6 Villanova def. #3 Marquette 4-3
#4 St. John’s def. #5 Seton Hall 4-0
#2 DePaul def. #1 Xavier 4-3
Conference USA - Houston, TX (April 18-21)
#7 Middle Tennessee def. #10 LA Tech 4-1
#4 FIU def. #13 UTEP 4-1
#3 Florida Atlantic def. #14 WKU 4-0
#5 North Texas def. #12 UAB 4-0
#6 Charlotte def. #11 Marshall 4-0
#2 Rice def. #1 Old Dominion 4-2
Colonial Athletic Association - Elon, NC (April 17-20)
Northeast Conference - West Windsor, NJ (April 18-20)
#1 LIU Brooklyn def. #8 St. Francis Brooklyn 4-0
#3 Bryant def. #6 Wagner 5-0
#5 Samford def. #4 UNCG 4-1
#2 ETSU def. No. 7 Western Carolina 5-0
#3 Wofford def. No. 6 Mercer 4-0
#1 Furman def. #2 ETSU 4-2
Sun Belt - Peachtree City, GA - April 18-21
#2 South Alabama def. #7 Troy 4-0
#4 UT Arlington def. #5 Louisiana-Monroe 4-1
#8 Georgia Southern def. #1 Appalachian State 4-3
#2 South Alabama def. #6 Georgia State 4-1
Week of April 8th-14th
#1 Alabama State def. #6 Jackson State 4-3
A pair of top 20 matches highlighted the day on the men's side while there was a top 7 showdown on the women's side.
In Winston Salem, second-ranked Wake Forest avenged an early season loss to third-ranked Virginia with a convincing 6-1 win. The Demon Deacons opened things up by taking the doubles point with a 6-4 win at No. 3 and a 7-5 win at No. 3. Wake would add five opening sets in singles, with three of them coming in tiebreaks, and they'd close four of those out in straight sets with freshman Melios Efstathiou clinching at No. 4 with a 7-6, 6-3 win. Full results available at this link.
#6 Baylor won the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge in Indian Wells with a 4-2 win over #16 USC. The Bears won the doubles point and added straight set wins from Matias Soto, Sven Lah, and Jimmy Bendeck at 2, 5, and 6 while USC got straight set wins from Brandon Holt and Riley Smith at 1 and 4. The match at No. 3 went unfinished with USC's Laurens Verboven leading 5-3 in the third.
The second-ranked Georgia women improved to 13-0 and 5-0 in the SEC after picking up a nice 4-2 win on the road over seventh-ranked South Carolina. Georgia dropped the doubles point for the first time since the National Team Indoors and then the teams split opening sets in singles. Georgia picked up straight set wins from Lourdes Carle and Vivian Wolff at No. 3 and No. 4 while South Carolina's Paige Cline won in straight sets at No. 2.
Georgia's Elena Christofi gave the Dawgs its first lead of the match with a 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 5 and Meg Kowalski would clinch at No. 6 with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win. The match at No 1 went unfinished at 5-5 in the third after SC's Ingrid Gamarra Martins reeled off four straight games from 1-5 down.
The Pepperdine women are more accustomed to being ranked inside the 10 and that's most likely where they'll be come Tuesday because the Waves picked up their second top 10 victory of the week with a 5-2 win over #8/#6 Texas in Austin. The Waves won the doubles point in dominating fashion with a 6-1 win at No. 2 and a 6-2 win at No. 3. In singles each team claimed three opening sets and Pepperdine would convert each of its to set leads to straight set wins. Dzina Milovanovic made it 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 4 and Ashley Lahey upped the lead to 3-0 with a 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1.
Texas trimmed the deficit to 3-2 with straight set wins from Anna Turati and Petra Granic at No. 2 and No. 3 but Daria Kuczer put the Waves over the top with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 5.
Friday was a busy, busy day of college tennis action with three top 16 showdowns on the women's side (all won by the higher ranked team and two of them not close at all), a top five women's team going down, and three top 20 teams going down by lower ranked teams on the men's side.
We'll start off in Atlanta where unranked Georgia Tech (6-6) was hosting #7/#4 North Carolina (8-2). The Yellow Jackets hadn't tasted pay dirt against the Tar Heels since 2012 and with GT entering the match having lost four of its last five there weren''t many that would have predicted a close match let alone an upset - but that's exactly what happened. UNC rolled through the doubles point with lopsided wins at No. 1 and No. 2 but GT turned it around in singles and claimed four opening sets.
GT sophomore Brandon Freestone evened the match at 1-1 with a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 6 but UNC freshman Brian Cernoch put the Heels back in front with a 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4. UNC junior William Blumberg made it 3-1 with a 7-6, 6-2 win at No. 1 but that'd be the last point they'd be able to muster.
GT senior Phillip Gresk upset ITA #40 Ben Sigouin 7-6, 6-2 at No. 2 and fellow senior Andrew Li won 6-4, 7-6 at No. 3. The deciding match at No. 5 came down to a third set between GT freshman Pablo Schelcher and UNC senior Bo Boyden. Schelcher was only playing his third dual-match of the season (last match came back on Feb 1 which was a lopsided loss against Auburn) while Boyden entered with a 9-1 record. Despite the difference in experience it'd be the freshman that would pull through 6-3 in the third to give the Jackets a stunning upset win.
After a rough few days in Austin there was reason to smile on Thursday night after the fourth-ranked Longhorns avenged their only loss of the year by knocking off top-ranked Ohio State 4-1. Coming into the match the Buckeyes were a perfect 17-0 in doubles but for the second match in a row they'd be without the service of their top player JJ Wolf who was in Canada playing an ATP Challenger event. A large crowd in the stands and a national television audience on the Longhorn Network saw the Longhorns take the early lead after winning the doubles point with a 6-3 win at No. 3 and a 7-6(4) win by Leo Telles and Colin Markes at No. 2.
Each team would take three opening sets in singles with Texas winning both of the sets that went to a tiebreak. Yuya Ito put the Horns up 2-0 with a 6-0, 6-3 win at No. 2 but James Trotter, who was playing in just his fourth dual-match of the season, put the Buckeyes on the board with a 6-2, 7-5 win at No. 5 which snapped Colin Markes's 14-match winning streak.
Rodrigo Banzer made it 3-1 after a 7-6, 6-2 win at No. 6. Banzer came back from a 3-0 deficit in the opening set and after taking the tiebreak he sprinted out to a 4-1 lead.
The clinching point would come about 30 minutes later with Leo Telles coming back from a set down to defeat Martin Joyce 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 3.
The other matches were abandoned with Texas up a break on 1 and up a set on 4. Texas had a really good recap of the match so make sure you give it a read.
The University of Texas stayed in the news for a second day in a row after athletic director Chris Del Conte dismissed men's head coach Michael Center following the charges that made headlines all across the county on Tuesday. Center, who was in his 19th season as head coach at Texas, reportedly accepted approximately $100,000 to help an unnamed student gain admittance to Texas by labeling him as a tennis recruit. Associate head coach Bruce Berque will serve as the interim head coach for the rest of the season and I'm sure the story will be a major topic on tonight's nationally televised broadcast of Texas's match against No. 1 Ohio State which will air on the Longhorn Network. Below was the official statement from Del Conte via the University of Texas:
"After working with campus leaders to review the recent situation with Michael Center, we have decided to relieve him of his duties as our Men's Tennis coach," Del Conte said. "It's a very difficult decision, and we are grateful for the years of service that he has provided, but winning with integrity will always be paramount at The University of Texas, and it was a decision that had to be made.
"I've met with our team and assured them that we will do everything in our power to support them," Del Conte added. "I also plan to reach out to all of our commitments, signees and their families immediately. I'm grateful for Coach Berque's leadership during this challenging time. Our team is in the middle of a tremendous season, and I applaud them for how they've handled this situation, especially the way they responded in their match on Tuesday."
The Tennis Recruiting Network has an article with comments from one of Texas's top recruits for next year. The Longhorns 2019 recruiting class was rated No. 2 with four blue chips and a four-star recruit so it'll be interesting to see how many remain committed to Texas following the news this week.