FLUSHING, NY – Jeffrey Schorsch and Charlie Emhardt of Valparaiso have played over 100 men’s doubles matches together.
Safe to say that no previous victory was as big as what the Crusaders’ duo achieved on Thursday night in the Round of 16 at the 2016 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.
After receiving the USTA wildcard to get into the tournament, Schorsch and Emhardt proved their selection was a worthy one, as they took down top-seeded Filip Bergevi and Florian Lakat of Cal in an intense three-set battle at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center 7-5, 4-6, 1-0 (9).
“Just to get into the tournament was an amazing feeling,” said Schorsch. “We were excited for a day, just jumping around like crazy. We always feel pressure when we come into the tournaments, but for this one we came in with no pressure. To win against the number one team like this was a huge weight off our shoulders that we were finally able to prove ourselves (on a national stage).”
Not surprisingly, Emhardt echoed Schorsch’s sentiments.
“Proving ourselves was key, because we’ve had so many heartbreaking first-round losses, which are attributed to the big moments that we just weren’t used to,” said Emhardt. “We hit two of our biggest returns of the match at the end and that’s a testament to the hard work we’ve put in over the last few years and we’re on Cloud Nine right now.”
A fall campaign that has been overshadowed thus far by injury, Cal’s Maegan Manasse stepped onto the courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center eager to make up for lost time.
Finally feeling healthy after a nagging elbow ailment caused her to miss most of the fall college tennis season, Manasse displayed solid form in her opening round match at the 2016 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.
Taking on Michigan’s Kate Fahey, Manasse raced out to a quick lead, won the first set comfortably 6-1 and would take the match in straight sets with a 6-4 second set victory. Thursday’s triumph sets up an intriguing Round of 16 match-up, as Manasse, ranked No. 7 in the Oracle/ITA Division I Women’s Singles National Preseason Rankings, will take on fourth-seeded and top-ranked Hayley Carter of North Carolina.
“I’m feeling great and am very happy to be back out on the court, especially for my senior season,” said Manasse, who also took part in the doubles draw with partner Denise Starr. “I’m happy that I had a good first match and I’m excited for this tournament.”
Manasse said missing time, including an opportunity for her and Starr to defend their doubles title at the Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships was difficult, but the support of her teammates got her through the difficult stretches.
“Not playing tournaments had its ups and downs, with a lot of downs,” said Manasse. “But I did get to spend that time cheering on my teammates and saw how much fun they were having on the court and that helped me push harder to get back out there. We’re all really close and it’s great to be back out there playing for and with my teammates.”
While Manasse was making a return from injury, Georgia’s Wayne Montgomery was stepping onto an indoor court for the first time this season.
The junior from Somerset West, South Africa, made the transition look smooth as he glided past Oracle ITA Masters champion Ryotaro Matsumura in straight sets 6-1, 6-3.
“I was just feeling the ball and felt like I could hit through it and not hold back,” said Montgomery, who compiled a 27-14 record last season, including 12 wins over ranked opponents. “I kept doing my thing and stayed focused on my goal.”
A first team All-SEC selection, Montgomery was pleased with the shape of his game as he prepared to make the trip to New York.
“I’m feeling good. I was serving well the last couple of days coming into this event and I’m hitting my backhand better than normal, so I feel like I’m playing well,” said Montgomery.
With the National Indoors field featuring many of the top players in collegiate tennis, Montgomery is taking each match as it comes.
“Every single guy here is exceptionally good,” said Montgomery. “At the end of the day, the guy that plays his game the best is going to win. You just have to play to your strengths and hopefully the outcome can fall in your direction.”
DAY ONE NOTES
-Another big upset on Thursday took place in women’s doubles, as Oklahoma State’s Vladica Babic and Carla Tur Mari defeated No. 2 Luisa Stefani and Jean Runglerdkriangkrai 6-0, 6-4 to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round.
-Three of the top four seeds in the men’s doubles draw fell on Thursday. As mentioned above, top-seeded Cal lost, as did No. 3 Tommy Bennett and David Warren of Rice and No. 4 Julian Cash and Arjun Kadhe of Oklahoma State.
-The SEC saw four players advance in the women’s singles draw, the most of any conference. Vanderbilt’s Astra Sharma and Sydney Campbell, Auburn’s Alizee Michaud and Florida’s Josie Kuhlman.
-North Carolina (Hayley Carter, Jessie Aney); Pepperdine (Luisa Stefani, Ashley Lahey); Cal (Maegan Manasse, Karla Popovic) and Vanderbilt (Sydney Campbell, Astra Sharma) all had multiple players win opening round singles matches on Thursday.
-Defending National Indoors women’s singles champion, Francesca Di Lorenzo of Ohio State, ran her record at the event to 6-0 with an opening round 6-1, 6-1 win over Nevada’s Claudia Herrero.
-In men’s singles, the SEC led all conferences with six players moving on to Friday’s Round of 16. Arthur Rinderknech (Texas A&M); Michael Redlicki (Arkansas); Nuno Borges (Mississippi State); Wayne Montgomery (Georgia); Jose Salazar (Arkansas) and Gustav Hansson (Ole Miss).
The USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, which runs Nov. 3-6, is the fourth national championship of the 2016-17 ITA National Tournament calendar. Earlier this fall, national champions were crowned at the Men’s and Women’s All-American Championships, the Oracle ITA Masters and ITA Oracle Cup.
FloTennis is providing exclusive live streaming coverage of the entire 2016 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, with at least one camera positioned on all nine competition courts. A subscription-based company, FloTennis offers its users monthly and annual rate payment options. For more information and to view the live stream, click on this link.
Live scoring is also be available for the entire tournament, which along with updated draws, daily recaps, photo gallery links and other tournament information, can be viewed on the official ITA event page here. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter by following @ITA_Tennis and using the hashtag #NationalIndoors.
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