TULSA, Okla. – It’s pretty difficult to win even a single match at the 2017 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships, but don’t tell Oklahoma’s Ferran Calvo that. The Valencia, Spain native has won 17 straight matches, including the eight he’s had to win this week to advance from Pre-Qualifying all the way to the Round of 16 of the main draw.
Calvo faced Timo Stodder of Tennessee in his second round match on Friday. Stodder, ranked 17th in the Oracle ITA Preseason Division I Men’s Singles Rankings, looked as though he was going to cruise through the match, racing out to a 4-1 lead. Calvo, much like he forced Artem Kapshuk of Texas Tech do in the first round, climbed back into the set and finished the set strong, winning 7-5.
Stodder appeared to be truer to form in the second set, not allowing Calvo to maintain his first set momentum. Stodder evened the match up at a set apiece after topping Calvo 6-3.
The final set saw a confident Calvo find that groove that has helped him sustain such an impressive streak of wins. Stodder made a few big shots in the final set, but impressive returns by speedy Calvo were the difference at the end of the match. Calvo won the final two games to take the set 6-3.
Calvo will face No. 4 seed William Blumberg of North Carolina on Saturday in the Round of 16. The winner of the match advances to the quarterfinals and earns an automatic entry into the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships.
“My goal was to get through prequalies, qualies, and win two matches in the main draw,” said Calvo. “I’m very happy.”
“As for the 17 in a row, in the beginning, I never imagined I would do this. I just keep going, match-by-match, taking one match at a time. After winning two championships in a row, that really motivates me.”
Earlier in the day, Eduardo Mena of Tennessee Tech took down the No. 2 seed, Nuno Borges of Mississippi State. Mena came on strong early, shocking the crowd by taking the first set 6-3.
Borges put the pressure on Mena in the second set, going game-for-game with Mena, causing him to drop four games to the Maia, Porto, Portugal native. Mena was unshaken as he strung together two powerful serves which forced Borges to hit the ball long, giving Mena the early advantage in the last game. Mena went on to upset Borges 6-3, 6-4.
“I was pretty nervous because he is number two in the ITA Rankings,” said Mena. “It’s a huge, huge win for me. On match point, I was just trying not to think too much. I was trying just to play. Luckily everything worked for me.”
Mena will face Julian Cash of Oklahoma State in Saturday morning’s Round of 16 match.
The champions of the ITA National Summer Championships continued their runs in the tournament, as singles champion Alexander Lebedev of Notre Dame won his marathon match against Ohio State’s JJ Wolf, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5). The doubles champions Rodrigo Banzer and and Leo Telles of Texas advanced to the quarterfinals with their win over Nathan Ponwith and Emil Reinberg of Georgia, 6-3, 4-6, 10-0. Texas will face Florida’s Johannes Ingildsen and Alfredo Perez in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Four of the five remaining doubles teams from the qualifying draw pushed deeper into the main draw on Friday, with McClain Kessler and Duarte Vale of Florida coming out victorious again after their victory over top-seeded Wake Forest yesterday. The duo topped Northern Arizona’s Tim Handel and Ruben Montano, 6-4, 6-2.
They will face another team from the qualifying draw in Virginia Tech’s Mitch Harper and Henrik Koorsgaard.
The Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships event page will include draw updates, links to scoring updates, live streaming and photo galleries, in addition to daily main draw recaps. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter by following @ITA_Tennis and using the hashtag #TulsaITA.
This marks the 13th straight year that the University of Tulsa serves as the official tournament host, and all of the main draw action takes place on the courts of the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.
Singles quarterfinalists, doubles semifinalists and consolation finalists (singles and doubles) will receive an automatic entry into the 2017 Oracle ITA National Fall Championships on Nov. 1-5, held at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, California, and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California.