Champions Crowned at ITA National Indoor Championships

Ohio State’s Koniecko, Arkansas’s Miseviciute Capture Singles Titles at ITA National Indoor Championships; Wake Forest, Fresno State Capture Doubles Titles

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Ohio State’s Bryan Koniecko and Arkansas’s Aurelija Miseviciute captured the singles titles and Wake Forest and Fresno State duos claimed the doubles titles Sunday at the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships hosted by the University of Virginia at the Boar’s Head Sports Club. This is the second of three national tournaments for singles and doubles administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) during the 2008-09 academic year. The University of Virginia is hosting the championships at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va.

It was a historical day in many ways in today’s final day of play. In men’s singles, Ohio State’s Bryan Koniecko edged out his teammate Justin Kronauge, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. It was only the second time in the event’s 30-year history that two teammates have squared off against one another to determine the men’s singles champion. The only other time occurred in 1989 when Michigan’s MaliVai Washington defeated Dan Goldberg, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4. Since 2003, Ohio State has placed four Buckeyes in the men’s singles final, with two of them capturing the title. Koniecko joins Jeremy Wurtzman as the only other Buckeye to be crowned champion, who achieved the feat in 2003, by defeating Georgia’s Bo Hodge, 7-6 [9], 6-2.

“It’s kinda tough facing him [Kronauge] because we practice every day together”, explained Koneicko. “I’m just happy we each had a great match”.

The past two years has seen the roles reversed for the ITA National Indoor Championships host institution. Last year, Virginia’s Somdev Devvarman captured the title at the Racquet Club in Columbus, Ohio, while today Ohio State’s Koniecko was crowned champion at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Koniecko’s road to victory included some stifling competition. In what was ultimately a very tough opening round win, he was able to hold off No. 17-ranked Conor Pollock, 7-5, 7-6 [3]. Round two was also no easy task as he picked up a comeback victory over Virginia’s Sanam Singh in front of his hometown crowd, 2-6, 7-6 [3], 6-1. In the quarterfinals, he notched what could be the best win of the tournament on the men’s side, by knocking off top-seeded Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State in a decisive 6-2, 6-2 upset. His competition appeared to not get any easier for him in the semis as he was scheduled to face No. 3 seed Daniel Vallverdu of Miami (FL) before he had to withdraw from today’s match due to an injured shoulder, which advanced the eventual champion in today’s final match against a familiar face in Kronauge.

“I think the key was that I was able to serve well”, said Koneicko “This is my first title and it’s been my goal since I’ve arrived at Ohio State.”

In women’s singles, history was also made as no two women’s finalists had never met in consecutive seasons in the ITA’s annual indoor tournament. As fate would have it, their paths to the final led the finalists to a familiar opponent as top-seeded Aurelija Miseviciute of Arkansas topped the No. 2 seed, Ani Mijacika of Clemson, 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 in a rematch of last year’s ITA National Indoors final. Last year’s final resulted in Miseviciute edging Mijacika in a tie-breaking third set, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 [3].

After dropping the first set 6-1, Miseviciute explained that, “I was a little nervous and definitely didn’t play my best tennis but she [Mijacika] played the best I’ve ever seen her play. From the quality of tennis that was played in last year’s match, I knew I had to bring my best.”

Before dropping the first set in today’s final, Miseviciute had not dropped a set throughout the tournament. Her road to victory began by cruising to a 6-2, 6-4 win versus Notre Dame’s Kelcy Tefft. The second round proved to be a little tougher but the senior from Klaipeda, Lithuania prevailed against Katsiaryna Zheltova of Sacramento State, 7-5, 6-2. The No. 1 seed made quick work of her next two opponents, easily advancing past Cal’s Claire Ilcinkas in quarterfinal play and then knocking off TCU’s Nina Munch Soegaard in the semis, 6-4, 6-1.

Prior to Miseviciute, no Razorback had ever made a final in the 26-year history of the women’s ITA National Indoor Championships. She became just the third women’s singles player to win back-to-back titles in the ITA National Indoor Championships. Georgia’s Agata Cioroch last did so in 2002 and 2003, joining Laura Granville of Stanford, who achieved the feat in 2000 and 2001.

“It’s a pretty good feeling and is very rewarding”, said Miseviciute. “My friends and coaches told me to go out there defend my title but I knew it would be tough but to actually accomplish it feels great.”

The top-seeded Wake Forest team of Steve Forman and Cory Parr defeated some stiff competitors on their way to claiming the title including an impressive 7-6 [3], 7-6 [5] win against USC’s Robert Farah, a 2007 ITA National Indoors Doubles Finalist and his new teammate Steve Johnson. Round one’s opponents of Jason Jung and Mike Sroczynski of Michigan could not hang on falling 8-5. In the quarters, Cal’s Geoff Chizever and Pedro Zerbini were even closer to bringing down the No. 1 seed but in the end lost 8-6. In semifinal play, the was not going to come easy but Demon Deacons’ solid play led them to a straight set victory over the 2008 D’Novo/ITA All-American Finalists, Arnaus Brugues and Phil Stevens of Tulsa by a score of 7-6 [3], 6-2.

The women doubles final was just as competitive as Reneta Kucerkova and Anastasia Petukhova captured the title by knocking off last year’s ITA National Indoors Doubles Champion Kelcy Tefft and her new teammate Kristy Frilling of Notre Dame, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 [5]. The Fresno State duo entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed but was not even the highest-seeded team from their own school. They have been on a tear this fall season, reaching the finals at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championship, winning the ITA Northwest Regional title and capping it off with today’s doubles title. The Bulldog two are now 12-1 thus far in the fall season. After avenging their Riviera finals loss to Georgia Tech’s Amanda McDowell and Irina Falconi in the opening round, they recorded an 8-0 shutout against the UNC team of Sophie Grabinski and Sanaz Marand in the quarterfinals. The 7-5, 6-3 win against Nanar Airapetian and Anouk Tigu of Arkansas, champions of the ITA Central Regional, solidified their berth in today’s championship match.

These ITA championships feature a 32-player singles field and 16-team doubles field for men and women, including: qualifiers from Wilson/ITA Regional Championships held across the country during October, the ITA National Small College champions, the winners of the D’Novo/ITA Men’s All-American Tennis Championships and Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships, and at-large and wild card selections made by the ITA National Tournament Committee. Overall, more than 10,000 players from nearly 600 schools participate annually in the Wilson/ITA Regional and National Intercollegiate Championships.

For complete results, live stats and event information, visit www.itatennis.com.

**FINALS**

Men’s Singles:
Bryan Koniecko (8), Ohio State def. Justin Kronauge (7), Ohio State (6-2, 5-7, 6-3)

Women’s Singles:
Aurelija Miseviciute (1), Arkansas def. Ani Mijacika (2), Clemson (1-6, 7-5, 6-4)

Men’s Doubles:
Steve Forman-Cory Parr (1), Wake Forest def. Robert Farah-Steve Johnson, USC (7-6 [3], 7-6 [5])

Women’s Doubles:
Renata Kucerkova-Anastasia Petukhova (3), Fresno State def. Kristy Frilling-Kelcey Tefft, Notre Dame (4-6, 6-2, 7-6 [5])

**SEMIFINALS**

Men’s Singles:
Bryan Koniecko (8), Ohio State def. Daniel Vallverdu (3), Miami (FL) (w/o [inj.])
Justin Kronauge (7), Ohio State def. Arnau Brugues (6), Tulsa (6-4, 6-2)

Women’s Singles:
Aurelija Miseviciute (1), Arkansas def. Nina Munch-Soegaard, TCU (6-4, 6-1)
Ani Mijacika (2), Clemson def. Maria Mosolova (4), Northwestern (7-6 [7], 6-4)

Men’s Doubles:
Steve Forman-Cory Parr (1), Wake Forest def. Arnau Brugues-Phil Stevens, Tulsa (7-6 [3], 6-2)
Robert Farah-Steve Johnson, USC def. Jonas Berg-Bram ten Berge (4), Mississippi (7-6 [2], 6-2)

Women’s Doubles:
Kristy Frilling-Kelcey Tefft, Notre Dame - Macall Harkins-Anna Sydorska (4), TCU (6-3, 6-4)
Renata Kucerkova-Anastasia Petukhova (3), Fresno State - Nanar Airapetian-Anouk Tigu, Arkansas (7-5, 6-3)

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