2007 Championships Recap

Champions crowned at ITA National Indoors in Columbus
Virginia's Devvarman, Arkansas's Miseviciute capture singles titles at ITA National Indoor Championships; Virginia , Notre Dame capture doubles titles

2007 National Indoor Champions

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Virginia's Somdev Devvarman and Arkansas's Aurelija Miseviciute captured the singles titles and Virginia and Notre Dame duos claimed the doubles titles Sunday at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Indoor Championships. This event, the second of three national championships for singles and doubles during the 2007-08 collegiate tennis season, was hosted by Ohio State at the Racquet Club of Columbus.

Devvarman beat Illinois's Ryan Rowe 7-6(2), 6-2 in today's men's singles final. Miseviciute beat Clemson's Ani Mijacika 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(3) in the women's match. Devvarman and his partner Treat Huey from Virginia edged USC's Kaes Van't Hof and Robert Farah, 6-4, 6-4 in the men's doubles final, while Notre Dame's Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft beat Baylor's Lenka Broosova and Zuzana Zemenova, 6-3, 6-1 in the women's final.

Devvarman, last year's ITA National Player of the Year, captured his second national title – he won the NCAA singles title in May. With wins in both singles and doubles, Devvarman became only the fourth player in tournament history to sweep the ITA Indoor men's titles, and the first since Oklahoma State's Pavel Kudrnac in 1998. USC's Luke Jensen also swept the titles in 1987 and Trinity's Erick Iskersky swept the 1979 titles. The senior from Chennai, India improved to 14-1 this season, and has won 30 of his last 31 matches dating back to last season. Devvarman won all of his National Indoor matches without dropping at set and his semifinal win on Saturday against Stanford's Alex Clayton was his 126th career singles victory, breaking Brian Vahaly's (1998-2001) school record.

"It feels good," Devvarman said. "I know I'm in good company with the all-time greats at Virginia, (Brian) Vahaly, Huntley (Montgomery), so many great players that have come out of Virginia, and it's just an honor to be there. Hopefully I won't stop right here, I'll keep going throughout the spring season."

Illinois's Rowe, a senior from Moline, Illinois, was the third Illinois player to reach Indoor final, joining Ryler DeHeart (2004) and Amer Delic (2002). Rowe kept it close in the first set, but couldn't keep Devvarman in sight in the second. 

"Somdev is not known for a big serve or anything," Rowe said, "but he's obviously able to be very effective on his serve. He came up with a couple good shots here and there to get an early break in the second set, and he was able to stay tough. He just played a little better than I did today."

"My game plan going into the match was just to focus on my serve," Devvarman said. "When you're playing guys with huge serves like Ryan's, you have to focus on making your own before you can even worry about breaking theirs. As the match kept going on, I kept getting better looks on his serve and making him hit more first volleys. I think that paid off toward the end. In the breaker I made two good returns, and that's all I needed in the breaker, because I kept serving well."

Arkansas's Miseviciute upset three seeded players on her way to capturing her first-ever national title, and tallying an impressive 26-1 record this season. In the first round, the unseeded junior from Lithuania upset Northwestern's No. 8 seed Georgia Rose and toppped No.1 seed Megan Falcon from LSU in the quarterfinals. In today's final she took out No. 3 seed Mijacika from Clemson, in a match that lasted almost three hours. Miseviciute won the first set quickly and took a 5-4 lead in the second. Facing two match points, Mijacika fought back to win the second set, 7-5. The third set was back and forth, including a game that ended with eight deuces. And again, Miseviciute found herself at match point, serving up 5-4. But Mijacika would win the next three games before Miseviciute regrouped to force the tiebreaker.

"I had two match points, but lost three games in a row," Miseviciute said. "It took me some time to get up after that and come back. You definitely feel pressure in the final. Every point is a big point, and it's hard to play aggressive because you just want to win so bad. In the tiebreaker, I told myself not to think about the score and just play my game, and it worked out really well." 

Buck and Tefft captured the first ITA Indoor doubles title for the Fighting Irish and improve to 14-2 this season. The duo captured the ITA National Summer title in 2006 and had won five junior national titles together prior to Notre Dame.

"We've played together forever, and we've won five juniors title, so it was nice to finally win one before I left," senior Buck said. "She's like my sister. It couldn't be any better; our moms are here, and it's perfect." 

Buck and Tefft went up quickly in the first set, and held on to win 6-3, 6-1 over the Baylor duo of Zemenova and Broosova. Both Oklahoma natives, Tefft and Buck played their best tennis at the net, beating Baylor with their short game. 

"Our coach in juniors really emphasized playing the net," Tefft said. "And since we were indoors, and it's so much faster, we thought that playing the net would be a good strategy. Most of the girls we're playing hit bigger balls than we do, so would be deadly if we tried to stay back and bang it out with them. We both like being at the net better." 

Devvarman and Huey are the first duo from Virginia to win the ITA National Indoor title, and after capturing the All-American doubles title, they become the third team in four years to sweep the first two titles (and fifth overall) of the season. In the first set today, Virginia was down 4-1, but battled back to win 6-4, 6-4 over Farah and Van't Hof. 

"I think we came out really fired up, but they got a good break, and went up 4-1," Devvarman said. "But we raised our game a lot, we got a couple of good breaks for us and our energy level went up about ten notches." 

"We're a better team when we play outdoors," Huey said. "So we knew coming in that we would have to step up our game; we played a lot of good teams, and to take the title here is just great, especially against a team like USC." 

But the duo already has their eyes on another prize: the NCAA team title. 

"Now we're just trying to go back and get the team ready for January," Devvarman said. "We have a long season ahead of us, and our goal is to get to NCAAs, and do a good job there. It doesn't matter how you start, it matters how you finish." 

ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships 
Hosted by Ohio State at Racquet Club of Columbus

Men's Singles Final
Somdev Devvarman, Virginia (1), def. Ryan Rowe, Illinois, 7-6(2), 6-2.

Women's Singles Final
Aurelija Miseviciute, Arkansas, def. Ani Mijacika, Clemson (3), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(3).

Men's Doubles Final
Somdev Devvarman and Treat Huey, Virginia (1), def. Robert Farah and Kaes Van't Hof, USC, 6-4, 6-4.

Women's Doubles Final
Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft, Notre Dame, def. Lenka Broosova and Zuzana Zemenova, Baylor, 6-3, 6-1.

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