Finals set for 2013 Saint Francis ITA Men's All-American Championships
2011 champ Frank of Virginia faces Oklahoma's Alcorta, while Tennessee and UCLA contend for the doubles title
TULSA, OK (Oct. 4) - Sunday looks to be an exciting day of finals at the 2013 Saint Francis ITA Men's All-American Championships.
The singles final will feature 2011 champion Mitchell Frank against Oklahoma's Guillermo Alcorta, while doubles top seeds Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee will battle UCLA's Mackenzie McDonald and Marcos Giron for the doubles title.
Saturday's matches were delayed an hour due to overnight rains, and the men's quarterfinals were played in cool and windy conditions.
|Oklahoma's Guillermo Alcorta looks to give the Sooners its first All-American Champion|
In a tight hard-hitting match, Julian Lenz of Baylor was the first man through in a 7-5 6-4 win over freshman qualifier George Goldhoff of Texas.
Goldhoff saw leads in both sets disappear. At 4-4, the freshman broke to serve for the set, but a few double faults helped Lenz break for 5-5 and he grabbed the momentum, breaking the Longhorn at love to win the first set. In the second, Goldhoff went up 2-0 and had a point for a double break and a 3-0 lead, but Lenz recovered to win three straight games and he held on to take the second set and the match.
Mitchell Frank of Virginia, the 12th seed, faced off against Illinois' Jared Hiltzik, the 14th seed. Frank got off to a fast start, going up two breaks to lead 3-0. The Illini player would break back for 1-3, but a few errors put him immediately down 0-40 on his serve. The Cavalier grabbed a 4-1 lead which he hung onto to take the first set 6-2. The second set was much tighter, and Frank was taken to a tiebreaker which he won to clinch his semifinal spot 6-2 7-6 (5).
As the cold windy conditions continued, Oklahoma's Guillermo Alcorta defeated Patrick Pradella, the 13th seed from Baylor 3-6 6-0 6-4 in a physical battle. Alcorta, ranked #36 in the ITA Presason Rankings, said later the cold conditions during his quarterfinal match helped him in his semifinal.
|Virginia's Mitchell Frank, the 2011 champ returns to the singles final|
After the quarterfinal battles, the semifinals were much more straightforward. Frank took on Lenz and the Cavalier won in straight sets, 6-2 6-3 and admitted it took time to adjust to the Bears' pace.
"Definitely at first I was struggling to adjust to the pace of his ball. He hits a huge heavy ball," Frank said. "I felt I played a very complete match against him and I'm very happy with the way I played."
Frank played both matches with three stitches in his left hand after injuring himself on Friday running into a scoreboard during his match. But he said that was only done because he had matches to play today, "I'm very excited to be in the final and I'll be ready to go."
The second semifinal featured Alcorta versus Austin, and the Commodore's earlier 3.5 hour match certainly factored into the scoreline as the Sooner won a quick first set 6-0. The second set got a bit more interesting as Alcorta tried to close out the match, but he did for a 6-0 6-3 win to make his first ITA All-American Championships final.
Alcorta said he played 'perfect' and was focused as he knew Austin was bound to be fatigued after his long quarterfinal. "It was perfect from me," he said. "It's always difficult to play those matches like that with no rhythm so I did well." Frank and Alcorta faced off a few years ago and Alcorta said he's definitely going for the win. "I'm sure it's going to be a good match and I'm excited for it."
Frank will be looking to give Virginia its fourth straight singles champion at the All-American Championships, while Alcorta hopes to give Oklahoma its first win. The singles final will be played at 10am CST on Sunday.
In doubles action, top seeds Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee were leading their opponents, Nick Chappell and Will Stein of TCU, by a break at 4-3. But from there, their lead disappeared and they were soon down 5-6 0-40 on Reese's serve as TCU got closer to the upset win.
The Vols managed to hang on to the game to level the set at 6-6, and the pairs contended a tiebreaker at 7-7 for a spot in Sunday's final.
|The top-ranked duo of Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee survived a tough TCU team|
Before the tiebreaker, Libietis told his partner, "I don't want to go home. I want to play again tomorrow."
"I told Hunter let's play for each other. We just relaxed and hit the ball."
The Vols would take the tiebreaker 7-1 to make the final, and become the fourth Tennessee pair to reach the semifinals or better and third team to reach the finals.
Libietis and Reese will face Marcos Giron and Mackenzie McDonald of UCLA, who beat Andrew Harris and Dane Webb of Oklahoma 8-5 to become the first Bruins in the final since 2001. The top-ranked Vols said they had seen a little of their opponents and would be ready. "We're just going to go out and play Tennessee doubles and see what happens. It should be a good match - they look pretty good." Reese said.
In consolation play, the singles final will feature UCLA's Clay Thompson against Daniil Proskura of Alabama, while Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski of Illinois will face Lloyd Glasspool and Soren Hess-Olesen of Texas. Both finals are held at 10am CST on Sunday.
For complete coverage of the 2013 Saint Francis ITA Men's All-American Championships, including access to updated draws and scores, please visit our tournament area on ITAtennis.com. Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis, for updates and news from Tulsa (search for the hashtag #TulsaITA) or like us on Facebook to see photos.