TULSA, Okla. – Monday morning marked the final day of the 2016 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships, with champions crowned from the main draw singles and doubles rounds, as well as the consolation singles draw.
A windy morning at The University of Tulsa forced players to come up with some of their best tennis of the event, and the results surely did not disappoint for No. 6 Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest as he claimed the singles title en route to the USTA ITA National Indoor Collegiate Championships, which will be held in Flushing, New York, November 3-6, 2016.
Following his victory, Chrysochos said, “I got a lot of confidence from it [the win.] The main goal was to qualify for the National Indoors, so I didn’t even expect to make it this far. But, I’m glad I did and I’m really happy that I could do this for my team and for my coach.”
Chrysochos started his run by serving on Court 1, as he faced off against Hugo Di Feo of Ohio State in the championship match. He pinpointed shots from the start and dictated play despite a close first set. Although Di Feo found a way to break and take a 2-1 lead in the first, Chrysochos collected himself and broke back to tie it up, 2-2. The men stayed on serve for the remainder of the opening set, which featured slices and drop shots from both ends. The Demon Deacon went on to claim the first set 6-4, and from here, Chrysochos simply could not be stopped. His intensity and confidence were on the rise. At 5-0, he returned Di Feo’s serve for the championship point. The Buckeye was still fighting through every last point when he kicked a serve out wide at 40-40, followed by a drop shot, where Chrysochos hustled to put the short ball away down the line on his way to shake his opponent's hand on the final point of the day, earning a 6-4, 6-0 championship victory – the first-ever All-American singles title for a Wake Forest player. Both men will play at the National Indoors, along with all of the quarterfinalists from the main draw of singles.
Chrysochos, a sophomore from Cyprus, dropped only one set the entire tournament. His success from the first round through the finals entailed stringing together tactical points, crafty volleys, and clutch service breaks.
In main draw doubles action, No. 2 California’s Florian Lakat and Filip Bergevi halted the lone qualifying tandem of North Florida’s Jack Findel-Hawkins and Lasse Muscheites on Monday morning.
Both Bears recognized UNF’s quality of net play, so they strategized early on to come out ahead in the championship match.
“They’re (North Florida) a good team,” Bergevi said. “They played really well throughout the tournament. We watched them play some really good doubles and beat some really good teams. We knew we had to come out strong to win this match.”
And they did just that by snapping UNF’s seven-match win streak on court three. The Golden Bears broke North Florida at an opportune time and took a 4-3 lead en route to a 6-4 first set victory. In set two, the seniors from California angled off volleys and endured some lengthy rallies to grasp the title with a 6-4, 6-2 win. Both teams earn automatic entry into the National Indoors.
“We’re really excited now,” Lakat said. “Just building off of this tournament and carrying it into New York, and then eventually carrying it into the spring, which is the ultimate goal.”
Brandon Holt of USC holds the consolation singles title after his impressive contest against Ronnie Schneider of North Carolina. The men took court two for the first match of the final day. Holt endured some quality points by the Tar Heel, who came out swinging from the start. Schneider’s aggressive play tested the freshman in both sets, but Holt captured a break to take a 5-3 lead on his way to close out the first set 6-3. In set two, the senior from UNC began serving. The men stayed on serve for the majority of the set until Schneider earned a break to lead at 3-1. The Trojan quickly turned it around and ultimately came out ahead by a score of 6-3, 6-4 after forcing an error from his opponent on match point. Holt holds not only the consolation trophy but also a bid to the National Indoors in November.