TULSA, Okla. – The 2015 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships drew to a close Monday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the University of Tulsa campus in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the University of Virginia dominating the final day of action.
Junior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski became the first player since 2009 and fourth in the history of the ITA Men’s All-American, to win the singles and doubles championships in the same year. Kwiatkowski, the No. 3 seed in the singles draw, toppled No. 4 Dominik Koepfer of Tulane in the final 6-0, 6-2. In the doubles championship, Kwiatkowski and Mac Styslinger outlasted ACC foes Brett Clark and Robert Kelly of North Carolina 3-6, 6-2, 1-0 (7).
Kwiatkowski’s double-dip gave the Cavaliers a sweep of the singles and doubles titles for the second time in All-American history (2010), and it’s just the sixth time in the history of the event that one program has taken home titles in both main draws.
“I love coming to Tulsa,” said Kwiatkowski, who is the fifth player from Virginia in the past six years to win the All-American singles title, and sixth straight ACC representative to garner top honors. “I’ve played so many tournaments here, it’s a really good facility. I’m really happy to play for UVA and I think it’s just a testament to how strong the tennis is in the ACC. I’m definitely not on same list with (former Virginia players and two-time All-American champions) Mitchell Frank and Alex Domijan, but it’s nice to put myself on some kind of list like that.”
The 6-foot-1, Charlotte, North Carolina, native came out aggressive against Koepfer, who made history by becoming the first player from Tulane to reach the singles final at the All-American Championships. Kwiatkowski broke Koepfer’s serve three times in the first set en route to a 6-0 decision.
In the second set, Kwiatkowski didn’t let his foot off the gas pedal as he consolidated another break of serve to take a 3-0 lead. Koepfer tried to claw his way back into the match and managed a break of serve to pull within 5-2, but couldn’t hold his serve the ensuing game as Kwiatkowski closed out the set, and match, 6-2.
“This was the best tennis I’ve played all week,” said Kwiatkowski. “It’s nice to play it in the finals. The reason why no-ad (scoring) is so entertaining for me and should be for the fans is because there’s such a huge momentum shift when you win a no-ad point, especially when you are returning. I was able to get a few early in the match and I think that helped me settle down and play a little better.”
The doubles final saw the Virginia duo of Kwiatkowski and Styslinger take three of the first four games against the Tar Heels’ Clark and Kelly, only for the team from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to claim the next five games and grab the first set 6-3.
Kwiatkowski and Styslinger controlled play in the second set, winning 6-2 and setting up the third set 10-point tiebreaker. The tiebreak was back and forth with each team holding narrow leads until the score drew even at seven-all. Virginia managed to snag the next three points, however, to close out the match and earn the victory.
“I think we just had a few good returns there at the end, and that was the match,” said Styslinger.
Virginia has dominated the Division I landscape early in this fall season, winning the aforementioned two titles in Tulsa, the men’s doubles title (Ryan Shane and Luca Corinteli) at the 2015 Oracle/ITA Masters, and on the women’s side, Danielle Collins has claimed each of the first two national titles this year, the Oracle/ITA Masters and Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American.
“I think it’s great to see both the men’s and women’s teams doing so well,” said Styslinger.
Ohio State’s Mikael Torpegaard concluded his impressive run through the singles consolation draw with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Northwestern’s Sam Shropshire. Torpegaard, who did not lose a set in any of his five matches in the draw, earned an automatic qualifier bid into the 2015 National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships with the victory.
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