MALIBU, Calif. – Both the men’s and women’s singles final on championship Sunday at the Malibu Racquet Club in Malibu, California, were decided in three sets, with UCLA’s Ena Shibahara and Kentucky’s Ryotaro Matsumura holding the titles for the 2016 Oracle ITA Masters. Matsumura dropped his only set of the event on Sunday while Shibahara dropped her second set of the tournament in today’s final.
The Oracle ITA Masters concludes Shibahara’s second-ever collegiate event, and the freshman’s potential looks incredible promising. Taking on Pepperdine’s No. 1 Luisa Stefani in Sunday’s final, the Bruin ultimately knew Stefani would compete on her home courts, but Shibahara went on to claim the title in her home state nonetheless by a score of 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
Stefani posted an early break in the first set, but Shibahara took a 3-1 lead to prove that her game could compare to the top seed’s. The freshman came to play and remained relentless throughout the span of the entire match. In the second set, Shibahara could see a glimpse of victory at 4-1, but Stefani knew the match would not end without a fight. Energy across the venue fired up the sophomore, and she won five straight games to force a final set. Set three showcased mental toughness on both ends of the court. The key to Sunday’s final ultimately came down to net play, and Shibahara rushed the net in an aggressive fashion to put pressure on Stefani, who held a 5-4 lead in the third set. Shibahara held three match points and swept a swinging volley to claim the title.
Over a two-week span, Shibahara holds a runner-up trophy from the Riviera ITA Women’s All-American Championships and now a championship title in Malibu. She looks to the National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in Flushing Meadow, New York, on November 3-6, 2016, to continue her first-year accolades
In the men’s final, Matsumura squared up against Columbia’s Shawn Hadavi, and the two served up an action-packed finale, with the sophomore coming out ahead over the senior, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Matsumura’s win places him in the draw for the 2016 National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in November.
The men remained on serve in the first set at 4-4, but Hadavi found an opening to break the Wildcat and aced his opponent to claim the opening set. In set two, Matsumura forced a huge break to take a 3-1 lead. Hadavi held serve while down 2-5 to continue the clash, but Matsumura served out the set to level the final at one set a piece. In the final set, Matsumura prevailed in championship form and did not allow any break points in his opponent’s favor. Soaring from 2-2, he held at love to embrace this week’s title. Matsumura’s shirt read “make a stand,” and the Wildcat surely did just that in the final match of the week.
Memphis’ Andrew Watson wins the men’s consolation draw, defeating Robert Livi of St. John’s in two sets by a score of 6-4, 7-6(3).
Julia O’Laughlin of Denver holds the women’s consolation title after a three set defeat of Ansley Speaks of Furman. O’Laughlin fell in the opening set yet earned her way to victory in the final two sets 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.