Top Four Seeds Advance to 2013 ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship Semifinals
SEATTLE, WA (Feb. 16) -- With two days of action in the books, the semifinals are set for the 2013 ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship, hosted by the University of Washington at the Nordstrom Tennis Center and the Seattle Tennis Club in Seattle, WA. All of the top four seeds advanced to tomorrow’s semifinal matches.
The top seeded Cavaliers of Virginia defeated ACC rival Duke, 4-0, to advance to their seventh straight ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship semifinal. “To Duke’s credit I thought they played an outstanding match” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. “Duke’s a great team. We have a lot of respect for them.”
Virginia would take the doubles point, but not without a fight as all three matches were played to completion. Duke opened doubles action with a win at the second spot but a resilient Virginia squad would prevail with victories at first and third doubles. “Duke did a great job, particularly at number two doubles, they really took it to us” Boland said. “But our number one team stepped up, it was a really big challenge for them to beat the #2 team in the country and we played them tight before so you knew that was a key point for us.”
Alex Domijan, the No. 1 ranked player in the nation, quickly put the Cavaliers up 2-0 as he cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 win at the second position. The remaining matches proved to be much more competitive. “We got into singles and there were some rough patches” Bolan stated. “Our backs were against the wall and we had to handle some adversity, which is what we need at this time of year. I was pleased with the way we handled things.”
The Cavaliers got their next point from Justin Shane at sixth singles as he won in three lopsided sets, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. Shortly after, seventh ranked Jarmere Jenkins edged Fed Saba, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, to seal the Cavalier win.
Up next for Virginia will be Ohio State, a team that ended the Cavaliers’ hope of a fifth straight ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship title last year. “It will be a great college tennis match, lots of intensity and I’m looking forward to it” added Bolan. “We played them last year in Charlottesville, they got the better of us and we are looking forward to playing them in the semis tomorrow.”
The second seeded Trojans reached their second consecutive semifinal with a hard fought 4-1 win over seventh seeded Kentucky. USC was able to win the doubles point, tallying victories at first and second doubles. “I think our doubles have been a little bit sticky and I haven’t been quite pleased but we are getting the job done” said USC head coach Peter Smith.
In singles play, it would be USC’s middle part of the lineup that produced the winning results, tallying wins at the third, fourth and fifth positions. Roberto Quiroz opened singles play with a quick result, winning 6-2, 6-1 at third singles, putting the Trojans ahead, 2-0. Yannick Hanfmann would make it 3-0 with a straight set victory of his own at the fourth spot. Clinching the win for USC today was Max De Vroome, who sealed the Trojan win at fifth singles, 7-5, 6-3. “Those guys are just getting the job done” Smith said. “They are playing good and they are playing good indoors which is a little unusual for us but they are leading the way for us.”
Kentucky picked up their lone point of the day at first singles as Anthony Rossi took down 12th ranked Raymond Sarmiento, 6-3, 6-4. “Kentucky is a really great team” Smith said. “I think they’ve shown a ton of improvement and they are just playing really good tennis. They pushed us today and it was great to be pushed a little bit.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow, it will be a battle for L.A. as the Trojans face third seeded UCLA. “I always say the greatest sporting event in L.A. is USC and UCLA playing in anything” Smith explained. “It’s a huge match for us, it’s a huge match for them and we go at it. Let’s put the chips on the table and let’s play for L.A.”
The Bruins of UCLA became the first team to reach this year’s semifinals as they defeated Georgia, 4-1. Today’s match was a close affair with three of six singles matches going the distance and was eventually decided in a tight second set tiebreaker.
Georgia jumped on the Bruins to begin today’s doubles matches, taking the doubles point with wins at the second and third positions. “We got off to a really slow start in doubles” said UCLA head coach Billy Martin. “It’s not that we played badly, I just felt that Georgia was really hot at the beginning.”
UCLA’s Karue Sell evened the match at 1-1, but more than that, seemed to shift some of the momentum Georgia built in the doubles matches. “I tried to tell the guys, don’t go out there and feel your way into the match, we needed to try and get a little momentum going and I think Karue at six did a really good job of that” Martin said. Then, the Bruins would go up 2-1 behind a straight set win from Clay Thompson.
Denis Novikov put UCLA up 3-1 with a three set win at the first position, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Adrien Puget would go on to seal the win in a tight two setter at the third position, clinching the match in a second set tiebreak, 6-4, 7-6(3). “I felt like we had good shots at every singles position” stated Martin. “A lot of the wins were tough, going down right to the very end so we are fortunate to win and move on.”
#4 OHIO STATE
Fourth seeded Ohio State defeated fifth seeded Pepperdine, 4-0, sending the Buckeyes to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive year. “We have to win this match because we are inside” said Ohio State head coach Ty Tucker. “We play Pepperdine in about three weeks at their place so it can turn around pretty quickly but anytime you play a coach Steinberg team you know they fight hard, are hard workers, and give it everything they have.”
Ohio State started the day by winning the doubles point, getting wins at second and third doubles. “We were very fortunate to get that doubles point” Tucker said. “Kevin Metka came out and played very good tennis in doubles with Blaz Rola, giving us the lift we needed early in that doubles point.”
After clinching the doubles point, the Buckeyes seemed to grow in confidence in the singles matches as they won all six first sets and would only see one of those go into a third set. Connor Smith put Ohio State up 2-0 with a 6-0, 6-3 win at fourth singles and at fifth singles Chris Diaz would also win in straight sets, putting the Buckeyes ahead 3-0. The match would ultimately be decided at the sixth spot as Hunter Callahan pulled out a tight 7-5, 7-5 win to clinch the victory for Ohio State. “We’ve got depth” added Tucker. “We have confidence in nine guys, and they fought hard today.”
Four consolation matches were also played throughout the day, providing fans with some of the most competitive matches of the day. In a battle of SEC teams, Ole Miss defeated Tennessee, 4-1. The Rebels will take on Mississippi State tomorrow as the Bulldogs defeated Texas A&M, 4-0; Tennessee and Texas A&M will also play each other in their final consolation match of the tournament. On the other side of the consolation draw, Cal battled past Florida, winning 4-1. The Golden Bears will take on Oklahoma, who, in the last match of the night defeated Washington, 4-2. Washington will face Florida in Sunday’s final match at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.
Play resumes tomorrow, February 17th at 8:00 a.m. (PST).