TULSA, Okla. – The first round of the main draw of the 2016 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships began on Thursday morning from the University of Tulsa, with singles and doubles action among the nation’s top-ranked players highlighting the day of action at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center. Nine of 16 qualifying players earned at least one extra day of play, with some notable upsets taking place.
Top-seeded Mikael Torpegaard (Ohio State) started off the day by returning JC Aragone’s serve. Aragone (Virginia) did not allow the Buckeye off easily, even with a 2-6 loss in the first set. Through strong serving and consistent fighting, Aragone slowly fought his way back into the match and tied up the second set at four games apiece and then at five games all. Tensions began to control a few points late in the set, but Torpegaard ultimately closed out the match by winning 7-5 in a hard-earned victory. He looks to the Round of 32 on Friday against Aron Hiltzik (Illinois) who took out Luis Valero (Tennessee) today.
Elliot Orkin, a senior from Florida with an Oracle/ITA ranking of 22, started strong in his first round match by cruising through his first set 6-3 against eighth-seeded Ronnie Schneider (North Carolina), 10th-ranked by the ITA. The battle did not easily come to a close, as Schneider fought back to earn an early second-set lead. Orkin tied up the match at 3-3, and the pair inched towards the end of the second set with a deciding set tiebreak that ended in Orkin’s favor, earning him a 7-6 (8) win into the next round, where he’ll square off against Max Tchoutakian (Baylor.)
In returning-champion fashion, Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of Virginia smoothly earned a win over Pennsylvania’s Kyle Mautner. He took the first set by a score of 6-2, grabbed a lead early in the second set. Mautner did not accept defeat without putting up a fight, however, Kwiatkowski came out on top with a 6-4 victory. The second-seed faces Martin Redlicki of UCLA to highlight tomorrow’s action. Redlicki’s brother Michael of Arkansas will also see another round of play after handling Nick Horton of NC State 6-3, 6-3. The pair is on the same side of the draw with a potential match-up in the semifinals.
An upset in the Round of 64 secured Lukas Finzelberg, a qualifying player from Oklahoma State, another day of play with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 triumph over senior Nick Crystal (USC.) Finzelberg started off the match with extreme confidence and impressive serving and looked as though he could shut out the match in two sets, but Crystal’s experience allowed him to come back from a 1-4 deficit in the second to secure a final set. Finzelberg’s next opponent is Gustav Hansson (9-16) of Ole Miss.
Chris Eubanks, the three-seeded junior from Georgia Tech, came from behind against Jordan Daigle (LSU) to grab his spot in tomorrow’s second round play. After falling behind 2-5 in the first set, Eubanks climbed to a 7-5 first set victory. The second set took an opposite turn, as Eubanks took an early lead at 4-2, but Daigle showed his heart by tying the set up at 5-5 and ultimately forcing Eubanks into a tiebreak, where the Yellow Jacket squeezed by with a 7-6 (6) victory. Friday’s match for Eubanks will be against Billy Griffith of California, a qualifying player who defeated Victor Pham, another qualifier, from Columbia.
Or Ram-Harel (Tulsa) endured a battle of his own on familiar courts against Georgia’s Wayne Montgomery, who held the advantage most of the way. Montgomery began the match with a service hold, but the match did not follow in this fashion for long. Long points and aggressive footwork took over for the remainder of the battle that ended with an injury timeout for Montgomery at 30-30 down 5-6 in the third set. With incredible grit, Ram-Harel earned his way through to the Round of 32 in three-sets: 2-6, 7-6(7), 7-5.
-Brandon Holt, a qualifier from USC almost overcame left-handed Gergely Madarasz of Purdue, but fell short in a grueling three setter: 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
-Christian Seraphim (Wake Forest) keeps his tournament rolling beyond qualifying with a win over Antonio Cembellin (Indiana.) His 6-3, 7-6(2) win earns him a matchup with William Bushamuka (9-16) from Kentucky.
-Fourth-seeded Tom Fawcett (Stanford) fought through his first-round against Julian Cash (Oklahoma State) 7-5, 6-4.
-Top seeded Oklahoma State duo of Julian Cash and Arjun Kadhe fell to Princeton’s Alex Day and Luke Gamble in the opening round of doubles action.
- USC’s Nick Crystal and Laurens Verboven battled to take out qualifying pair Jordan Daigle and Justin Butsch (LSU.) Daigle finished with an ITA ranking of 13 last year in doubles.
- Second-seeded team of Filip Bergevi and Florian Lakat (California) took out Minnesota’s Felix Corwin and Matic Spec.
The ITA Men’s All-American event page will include draw updates, links to scoring updates, live streaming and photo galleries, in addition to daily main draw recaps. FloTennis will live stream up to four courts each day of the main draw at www.flotennis.com. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter by following @ITA_Tennis and using the hashtag #TulsaITA.
This marks the 12th straight year that the University of Tulsa will serve 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 finalists and consolation champions will receive an automatic entry into the 2016 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships on Nov. 3-6, held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York.