MALIBU, CA – Upsets in three of the four draws highlighted an action-packed Friday at the Malibu Racquet Club, site of the inaugural Oracle/ITA Masters.
The Oracle/ITA Masters, which marks the first national collegiate championship of the 2015-16 season, continues play on Saturday at 11 a.m. PT, with quarterfinal and semifinal play in men’s and women’s singles. In addition, men’s and women’s doubles semifinals and consolation matches in each draw will be contested. For additional information on the 2015 Oracle/ITA Masters, visit the official tournament page at http://www.itatennis.com/Events/Oracle_ITA_Masters.htm.
All four seeds in the 16-player men’s singles draw were ousted in Friday’s first round. Georgia’s Wayne Montgomery defeated the top seed, Oklahoma’s Axel Alvarez Llamas 6-4, 6-2. Alvarez Llamas, in addition to being to the top seed at the Oracle/ITA Masters, is the No. 1-ranked player in the 2015 Oracle/ITA Collegiate Men’s Division I Preseason Rankings.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match, I’ve played him twice before,” said Montgomery, who will face Tulane’s Dominik Koepfer (6-2, 6-2 win over Baylor’s Max Tchoutakian) in Saturday’s quarterfinal round. “I played him this time last year and beat him and then the second time, he totally crushed me. I knew if he came out firing I was going to be in big trouble. It really looked like it was going to go that way the first few games, but I think he got a little tired and his legs weren’t moving as well. I just tried to stay fired up and keep my foot on the gas and I’m happy to get the win.”
Felipe Soares of Texas Tech outlasted No. 2 seed Ryan Shane of Virginia in a three-set affair 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Shane is the 2015 NCAA National Singles Champion. Soares will face Georgia’s Austin Smith in the quarterfinals. Smith advanced with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory over North Carolina’s Ronnie Schneider.
“It’s a great start to the year,” said Soares, who lost to Shane 6-7 (4), 6-4, 3-6 in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 NCAA National Singles Championship. “I took some time off over the summer, especially since this season is very long. But, when I got back to Texas Tech I started practicing very hard and felt good coming into the match.”
Duke’s Nicolas Alvarez and Tulsa’s Or Ram-Harel also won three set matches to advance to the quarterfinals. Alvarez slipped past No. 3 seed Julian Lenz of Baylor 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. Alvarez faces TCU’s Guillermo Nunez (6-1, 6-3 win over Wake Forest’s Romain Bogaerts) on Saturday.
“First set he was up 4-1 and I ended up winning 7-5. Second set I’m up 4-3 on a break, get broken and lose the set. It was back and forth the whole way,” said Alvarez. “I think my attitude helped out in the final moments. A lot of (tennis) is mental, especially when you have to close out the match. It comes down to how you handle those situations.”
Ram-Harel and Notre Dame’s Quentin Monaghan traded groundstrokes for 3 hours and 40 minutes before Ram-Harel finally emerged victorious in a three-set tiebreaker, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (1). Ram-Harel will take on TCU’s Cameron Norrie (defeated Florida State’s Benjamin Lock 6-3, 6-4) in the quarterfinal round.
“I came back from a really difficult situation, down 6-5 and 40-15, so three match points down,” said Ram-Harel. “We have the same style of game and it was really a tough match, especially with it being my first match after three months, so I’m really happy to get the win.”
In women’s singles, two of the top four seeds suffered first round defeats, while top-seed Maegan Manasse of Cal and No. 4 seed Danielle Collins of Virginia advanced through to the quarterfinal round.
Manasse, the top-ranked player in the field, holding the No. 4 position in the 2015 Oracle/ITA Collegiate Women’s Division I Preseason Rankings, defeated Baylor’s Kiah Generette in straight sets 7-5, 6-4.
“She hits really big and straight shots, so I was just trying to play the ball back and looking for opportunities to hit my shot and control the point that way,” said Manasse. “As college players, we’re all practicing two-to-three hours a day and I think with the big points and especially with no-ad, I think it’s whoever is mentally tougher or plays the smarter point is going to be more successful.”
Manasse will face Pepperdine’s Luisa Stefani in a quarterfinal matchup. Stefani, a freshman playing in her first collegiate tournament, rallied from a set down to top Vanderbilt’s Astra Sharma in three sets 4-6, 7-5, 7-5.
“I started bad in all three sets, but what got me through was just playing one point at a time,” said Stefani. “I wasn’t playing my best; I was kind of tight and nervous with it being my first college tournament, but the one point at a time and positive attitude carried me through.”
Collins breezed past Rachel Pierson of Texas A&M 6-0, 6-1 and in the quarterfinal round, will face Miami (FL)’s Sinead Lohan the quarterfinals. Lohan topped Mississippi State’s Jasmine Lee in three sets 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
“I haven’t played a tournament since NCAA’s, so this was my first match since then,” said Collins. “Today’s result just shows that all hard work I’m putting in is paying off and hopefully only good things to come from here.”
Oklahoma State’s Viktoriya Lushkova took down the tournament’s No. 3 seed, Vanderbilt’s Sydney Collins in straight sets 6-2, 6-1. On Saturday, Lushkova plays Clemson’s Joana Eidukonyte. Eidukonyte turned back Cal’s Klara Fabikova in three sets 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2.
Hayley Carter of North Carolina earned a straight set win against Michigan’s Ronit Yurovsky 6-4, 7-6 (4), while USC Giuliana Olmos came back from a set down to top No. 2 seed Stephanie Wagner of Miami (FL) 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3. Carter and Olmos will square off in the quarterfinals.
Another top seed took a tumble on Friday, as the men’s doubles draw saw Pepperdine’s Guilherme Hadlich and Gabriel Sidney, playing in their first match as a doubles team, topped the No. 1 seed from Georgia, Austin Smith and Ben Wagland 3-6, 7-5, 11-9 in the quarterfinals.
“It’s the first time we’ve been to (Malibu Racquet Club), but it definitely feels nice playing close to home. We’re used to the weather and it’s really nice to have all the fans cheering for us,” said Hadlich.
The No. 2 seeded team of Virginia’s Ryan Shane and Luca Corinteli came back from a set down to defeat TCU’s Cameron Norrie and Guillermo Nunez 3-6, 7-5, 10-8. Florida State’s Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez defeated Baylor’s Julian Lenz and Max Tchoutakian 2-6, 6-2, 10-7. Lock and Nunez will play Shane and Corinteli in the semifinal round.
Notre Dame’s Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson clipped LSU’s Boris Arias and Jordan Daigle in a three-set affair 6-4, 3-6, 11-9. Monaghan and Lawson will take on Pepperdine’s Hadlich and Sidney in the semifinal round.
In women’s doubles, USC’s Giuliana Olmos and Gabby Smith took down Texas A&M’s Saska Gavrilovska and Rachel Pierson 6-2, 6-3. They’ll face Vanderbilt’s Sydney Campbell and Courtney Colton in the semifinals. Campbell and Colton punched their semifinal ticket with a 6-2, 7-5 victory versus North Carolina’s Hayley Carter and Whitney Kay.
“I think winning the first set is really important no, especially playing no-ad,” said Olmos. “Things can change really fast. We won the first set and knew we wanted to start out the second set just as strong, because anything can happen. Gabby definitely carried the team today, so shout-out to Gabby.”
The other women’s doubles semifinal will feature Kentucky’s Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi, 6-4, 6-1 victors over Pepperdine’s Matea Cutura and Christine Maddox on Friday, and Cal’s top-seeded duo of Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr. The Golden Bears defeated Miami (FL)’s Sinead Lohan and Stephanie Wagner 6-1, 6-0.