Mens Singles Results - Semifinals

(9-16) Steven Moneke (Ohio State) def. Sanam Singh (Virginia), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
Devin Britton (Mississippi) def. (9-16) Blake Strode (Arkansas), 7-6 (9), 6-4 


(9-16) Steven Moneke (Ohio State):
“This is a great honor. I’ve been in the quarterfinals for the past three years now. I was pretty happy yesterday that I made it to the semifinals, because it was a first for me. I had a good start today and that has really helped me. I am pretty excited (to move on to the finals). It’s been a great four years for me so far and it couldn’t be any better. He (Virginia’s Sanam Singh) is very dangerous and tough to play. He can mix it up very well, he can do the cross shot, he can come into the net and he can slice you a lot. At the beginning, I felt like I dictated the match. He changed his whole strategy and I had some trouble getting used to that. I kept fighting and I knew that if I could get a break in the third set that I would get a chance to close it out at the end. He wanted to come to the net more and put more pressure on me, which he did very well. I actually returned pretty well at the end. I made him play. He came out with great backhand winners and great cross shots, but I kept hanging in there. I kept returning serves well which gave me a chance to pretty much break him every time. But, he was able to break me, too. We are both great returners. I am a senior and it is my last match tomorrow, so I don’t want to think about it too much. I just want to go into it with a good attitude and have a good match.”

Assistant Coach Jeremy Wurtzman (Ohio State):
“We haven’t seen (Devin) Britton play too much this year. From the looks of it, he is a big server and volleyer and likes to attack the net a lot. It will be a tricky matchup for Steven (Moneke), but anything can happen in the finals.”

Devin Britton (Mississippi):
“I definitely served very well today. He (Arkansas’ Blake Strode) was actually serving pretty well also. He played a bunch of good games, but he missed a couple of serves. I was lucky to get out of the first set. He was serving 5-3 and I cracked a couple of second serves. He wanted to kind of work the point and work the forehand and I tried to take that away from him as much as possible and I was pretty successful. I was pretty happy about the tiebreaker and the big points as well. It was a very tight tiebreaker. It definitely could have gone either way for sure. It came down to probably one hit of the ball. I played sloppy at the beginning of the game. I didn’t make a first serve. Then on love-40, I had three first serves. If you don’t make a first serve there, you’re in trouble. Luckily, I had a couple of big first serves and didn’t have to play the point out too much.”

Head Coach Billy Chadwick (Mississippi):
“We know Blake (Strode) well, because he is from the SEC. What he likes to do is work the point with his forehand and basically, likes to get you out of position to where he’s just doing nothing but hitting forehand. He can hit a really heavy ball and he has been very successful this year and very successful in this tournament. We felt going into it that this was a good matchup. Devin (Britton) can take the ball to his backhand on the serve or on the return and not let him be able to stand in the middle of the court and dictate play. Devin did an outstanding job of executing the game plan today.”

(9-16) Blake Strode (Arkansas):
“I didn’t make too many first serves there at the end. He (Mississippi’s Devin Britton) was jumping on my second (serves), so that got me into a bit of trouble. He played a great match overall and he served huge the whole match in the first and second sets. It was really hard for me to get into a rhythm. It’s really tough when his service games are just going by in 20 seconds and you’re struggling with your own serve. I had some quick service games, but he was consistently painting the lines with a lot of serves. You have to give him credit, because that is a really tough match to play as an opponent. Especially, when you’re not really getting too many looks and return games. I had a good run and I’m proud of my performance here. I played hard every match. I came away with a lot of good wins and lost in a tough one today. That’s tennis – you win and you lose some. I had a really good showing and I enjoyed myself.”

Sanam Singh (Virginia):
“I had a very rough start to the match. Give him credit (Ohio State’s Steven Moneke). He kept the pressure on. He makes a lot of balls. Steven (Moneke) keeps the ball in play a lot and I just had a bad start and couldn’t really get myself into the match. I was down 2-4, 15-40, held a good game and then kind of got into the match. I had a terrible start to the third set again. I was obviously playing from behind in the match, but he kept the pressure on me and I couldn’t get that crucial break in the match at 2-3 in the third. I could have played much better. He stayed in the match the whole time and didn’t lose too much focus. I just didn’t have enough first serves today. Nothing was really clicking. The only thing going for me today was my heart. I told myself, ‘I’m not going to give up. I’m going to keep playing.’ I probably hit 15 percent on first serves. I didn’t play that well, but that’s something that I have to fight through. I was playing my best, but he came out on top.”

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