FLUSHING, NY – The championship matches at the 2016 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships delivered plenty of memorable moments, providing a fitting end to a stellar four days of college tennis at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Sunday’s highlights included:
-Francesca Di Lorenzo of Ohio State repeated as women’s singles champion, besting North Carolina’s Hayley Carter 6-1, 6-1 in the final.
-Michael Redlicki took down No. 1 seed Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State 6-4, 6-3 in the men’s singles final, becoming the first player from Arkansas since 1986 to win a National Indoors title.
-Kentucky’s Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi secured the women’s tennis program’s first national title, besting UCLA’s Ena Shibahara and Jada Hart 6-3, 6-4.
-Wake Forest’s Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim won their first ITA national title, scoring a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Valparaiso’s Jeffrey Schorsch and Charlie Emhardt.
In addition to the main draw matches, consolation champions were crowned in men’s singles (Nicolas Alvarez, Duke), women’s singles (Sara Daavettila, North Carolina), men’s doubles (Alfredo Perez/Johannes Inglidsen, Florida) and women’s doubles (Kate Fahey/Alex Najarian, Michigan).
Di Lorenzo, the No. 1 seed in the National Indoors draw, capped off a perfect fall season with a straight set win over No. 4 Carter, a player she defeated in the semifinals en route to clinching the 2016 Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championship. With Sunday’s victory, Di Lorenzo now possesses three ITA National Championships and two National Indoors titles.
“It feels great and I’m not going to lie, it’s a little bit of a relief,” said Di Lorenzo. “Coming into this tournament I did feel some pressure, doing well last year. Coming here and being successful like I was last year is definitely exciting and I’m happy to be able to represent Ohio State here and do well and bring home a title for the university.”
While the score may have indicated a one-sided affair, most games in the match were close, with Di Lorenzo surging ahead thanks to her steady play on the no-ad points.
“I just played consistent and deep on those points, looking for opportunities when I had them and made smart choices on big points, and I think that was key,” said Di Lorenzo. “I think there were six deuces and I got all of them. The match was a lot closer than the score says it was, but I was definitely happy to pull through on those points.”
Redlicki, the No. 7 seed, prevented an Ohio State sweep of the National Indoors singles titles. The left-hander made the most of his big service game, winning 75 percent of his first service points and scoring eight aces against the equally as powerful Torpegaard.
“(Torpegaard) is number in college tennis for a reason,” said Redlicki. “He just won an indoor challenger and that’s not easy to do, let alone for a college tennis player. He’s the pinnacle of college tennis and as good as it gets, and I was lucky to bring my ‘A’ game and match up with him.
“The difference today was maintaining the mental focus through adversity. There was quite a bit of that today, especially in the big moments. I’ve been part of so many situations in college tennis and feel like I’ve been exposed to it all, so you try and treat it like another day at the office and luckily I was able to do that better than him.”
After finishing as runners-up in the 2015 women’s doubles final, Adachi and Sutjiadi were determined to return to campus in Lexington, Kentucky, with bigger hardware. The Wildcats, who were the nation’s top-ranked team at the end of the 2015-16 season, and in the fall preseason rankings, jumped out to an early lead against the Bruins. Kentucky won the first set 6-3 and after splitting the first six games of the second set with UCLA, won three of the last four games to clinch the match and secure the title.
“We’re so happy and excited to have won,” said Sutjiadi. “It’s a great way for us to finish out the fall season, bringing the first national title back to Kentucky.”
Added Adachi: “Last year we came so close to winning, so it is a great feeling to come back a year later and win the title. We really did a good job of helping each other out all week on the court.”
Seraphim and Mansouri managed to avoid the upset bug that plagued the men’s doubles draw through the National Indoors tournament. The No. 2 seed from Wake Forest, Seraphim and Mansouri battled past two 10-point third-set tiebreakers in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds to reach Sunday’s final, where they took on Valpo’s USTA wild card team.
With Seraphim and Mansouri both checking in well north of six feet tall, the lanky duo raced out to a lead after taking the first set 6-3, then fought off a late charge from Valpo to secure the second set and championship 7-5.
“We were hoping for (the National Indoors title) this fall, and we got it done, so it’s a great feeling,” said Mansouri.
Seraphim said the key to the match was applying constant pressure to Valparaiso.
“We tried to serve big, hold our serve and put pressure on their return games,” said Seraphim. “It worked out great; we got a break at 4-3 in the first and had the momentum going our way from then on.”