MALIBU, Calif. – Saturday’s action at the Malibu Racquet Club featured the singles semifinals and the completion of the mixed double portion of the 2016 Oracle ITA Masters. The top two women’s seeds, No. 1 Luisa Stefani of Pepperdine and No. 2 Ena Shibahara of UCLA, will meet in Sunday’s final, while the No. 2 men’s seed of Kentucky, Ryotaro Matsumura, will match up against Shawn Hadavi, a senior from Columbia.
Shibahara took the court first and cleaned lines and cleared her path to the women’s singles championship match. Shibahara routinely defeated North Carolina freshman Sara Daavettila 6-3, 6-3, who simply could not run down Shibahara’s shots. The Bruin ran her opponent across the court and now looks to Sunday’s final against No. 1 Stefani. Shibahara’s past two weeks have included both of the final round matches at the Riviera ITA Women’s All-American Championship and the Oracle ITA Masters event. Enduring the qualifying rounds last week, the UCLA freshman has dropped only four sets over the course of 11 matches in these two tournaments. In only her third collegiate event, Daavettila’s performance as a freshman absolutely places her among the top prodigies in the collegiate tennis field as well.
An extreme turn of events occurred on the other half of the women’s draw as No. 1 Stefani and No. 5 Hayley Carter of North Carolina pursued the last slot in Sunday’s final. In the first set, Carter led the way and broke at an opportune time to earn a 5-3 lead, but Stefani countered back and rushed the net to win in a breaker 7-6 (1). As Stefani held the momentum, this semifinal match looked like it had been decided, but Carter forced errors from the top seed and bounced back to take the second set 6-1. In the final set, both women held their serve to begin the set, but neither would hold again until the final game of the match. Stefani served at 5-3 and went down 0-40. Looking like another routine break on court seven, Stefani found a way to save four break points and won the match 6-3. Stefani will not fail in two aspects of her game: fighting until the very last point and always jogging to her bench on the changeover. She sails to the final round on Sunday as the lone Wave left in the main draw of the tournament.
In men’s semifinal action, the battle of the backhands took place in the mid-afternoon between Old Dominion’s Adam Moundir and No. 2 Kentucky’s Matsumura. Throughout the entire match, Matsumura embraced his game plan and showcased his desire to hold onto his pride of being the final seed standing. He came out victorious 7-5, 7-6 (5). At any given point, the match could have gone in either direction and completely changed up the dynamic in Moundir’s favor, but Matsumura proved himself as he enters Sunday’s final against Hadavi.
East Tennessee’s David Biosca and Shawn Hadavi of Columbia held the prime time slot to close out the evening’s singles matches. With a fairly even match-up, these men rallied and retrieved in a back-and-forth battle that completed in Hadavi’s favor. Hadavi triumphed by a score of 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. The match commenced with Biosca identifying himself as the aggressor, but Hadavi quickly turned it around to put forth all of his efforts. In true form, Hadavi earned an early break in both the second and third sets and rolled through from there. Sunday’s opponent for Hadavi in the championship match will be No. 2 Matsumura.
The ACC holds the mixed doubles title of the 2016 Oracle ITA Masters as Georgia Tech’s Chris Eubanks and UNC’s Hayley Carter dominated 8-6 in the final match. Their opponents from Baylor, Blair Shankle and Max Tchoutakian, held on until they finally gave up a break to fall 4-5 to team ACC. From there, Eubanks and Carter utilized their aggressive play styles to handle the final points and claim the title.
Day Three Notes:
-The women’s consolation final consists of Denver’s Julia O’Laughlin and Ansley Speaks from Furman. O’Laughlin defeated players from Akron, Rice, and Abiline Christian en route to the final round. Speaks enters the final with wins over women from Austin Peay, Winthrop, and Xavier.
-On the men’s side, Sunday’s consolation final features Andrew Watson from Memphis and St. John’s Robert Livi. Livi has not yet dropped a set in the back draw while Watson eliminated men from UMKC, Army, and Pepperdine.
You can view the complete draws, schedule of events, daily recaps, photo gallery link and other information on the Oracle ITA Masters event page. Live scoring is available for all Junior Masters and Masters matches, while FloTennis is providing live streaming coverage from both Pepperdine University and Malibu Racquet Club, showcasing up to four courts at Pepperdine and two at Malibu Racquet Club. Click here to sign up for the subscription-based service and view the matches.