Loeb, Anderson in ITA All-American final rematch
FLUSHING, NY (Nov. 9) - The finals are set at the 2013 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and hosted by Columbia University.
The women's singles final will be a rematch off the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships final as Jamie Loeb of North Carolina and Robin Anderson of UCLA both won their semifinals in straight sets on Saturday.
The two top seeds will contest the women's final for the first time since 2008, and Anderson will attempt to be the first repeat women's singles champion since Aurelia Miseviciute of Arkansas won back to back titles in 2007 and 2008.
Loeb, the Rivera champion and top seed, made quick work of No. 4 seed Sabrina Santamaria of USC. The match started with three straight breaks, but Loeb held for 3-1 and never looked back. The Tar Heel's powerful shots kept Santamaria under pressure. Loeb said after the match that she was happy with her play.
|Defending champion Robin Anderson of UCLA seeks to become the first repeat winner in five years.|
"I think I played very well," Loeb said. "I just kept my composure and stuck to my game plan and didn't adjust to what she was doing. I just dictated and made her change according to my shots."
Loeb is now 18-1 to start her freshman season, and she'll look to repeat her All-American success against Anderson in Sunday's final.Loeb won the All-American final over Anderson 6-4, 6-0 in their first collegiate clash.
The Bruin found herself down 1-5 against Loeb's teammate Hayley Carter, but Anderson turned it around to win six straight games to take the opening set, 7-5. Anderson then kept the momentum to take the second set 6-3 to advance to her second-straight USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships final.
Despite getting herself into a big hole in the first set, the defending champion said she knew she could turn it around.
"I was being really aggressive and that was my game plan, but I was just making errors and in those first six games she did not make a single error," she said. "I just needed to make more balls and just keep her out there as I know she played a long match yesterday."
UCLA will have a chance to sweep both singles finals, as Clay Thompson won his semifinal match 6-3, 7-5 win over Axel Alvarez of Oklahoma. His opponent will be Illinois' Jared Hiltzik, who ousted Ray Sarmiento of USC 6-2, 7-5(5).
Thompson and Alvarez were on serve until the Bruin got the key break for a 5-3 lead, and he crushed a forehand winner on set point to grab the set, 6-3. In set two, Thompson broke at 5-all and held his serve once more for the straight set win.
|UCLA's Clay Thompson moved into the final with his 14th straight victory.|
Thompson, a senior, beat an Oklahoma Sooner for the second straight match. This one was extra sweet, as it was Alvarez who knocked Thompson out in the first round of the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships in Tulsa.
Since that loss, Thompson has been on a 14-match winning streak and he says that loss spurred on his current form and since then he's played much more relaxed.
"I just went out here and played loose with nothing to lose. That's been the game plan since I lost in the first round in Tulsa. I felt like in the first round in Tulsa I was so tentative and scared if I was going to miss. I'm just treating it as a game [now] and am having fun" he said.
Hiltzik, who qualified for the Indoor Championships by making the quarterfinals in Tulsa, took a 4-0 lead in the first set over Sarmiento and held on to win it 6-2. However, the Trojan went up 3-0 and then 5-2 as the threat of a third set loomed large. But the Illini fought off seven set points and forced a tiebreaker, which he won 7-5 to clinch a spot in his first major final.
Hiltzik said he's been steadily improving since his run at the All-Americans.
"I've taken what I did at All-Americans and how I was playing and improved it by about five or 10 percent; just a gradual climb of improving my game," he said. "I've just been really calm out there. I've been enjoying being out there and having fun."
Hiltzik's teammates Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski of Illinois, the fourth seeded doubles team, took on ITA Preseason No. 1 and top seeds Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee in a semifinal match featuring the main draw and consolation doubles champions from the ITA All-American Championships.
|Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur of Columbia kept their title hopes alive on Saturday.|
The match began with three straight breaks before the Volunteers pair held for a 3-1 lead and they kept the break lead to take the first set 6-4. Illinois fought back to take the second set, winning it 6-3 to keep their finals hopes alive. After exchanging breaks midway through the final set, the Vols had match point on the Illini serve, and Reese ripped a return winner to seal the hard-fought 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win.
The Vols will face Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur of Columbia, who thrilled local fans with their 6-4, 6-4 win over Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez of Florida State.
The Lions scored a late break in the first set, gathering momentum they would carry into the second set. Columbia broke twice early in the final set, and would give one break back, but hold on for the victory.
In women's doubles, Georgia Tech's Kendal Woodard and Megan Kurey will face Julia Fellerhoff and Rebecca Shine of Louisville in Sunday's final.
The Yellow Jackets got off to a great start against Giuliana Olmos and Zoe Scandalis of USC, the runners up at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships. Georgia Tech didn't drop a game in the first set, and as Woodard said, "We just came out and started with a bang."
The Trojans regrouped to take the second set 6-4, but Woodard and Kurey said they started over in set three and they didn't drop a game to clinch a 6-0, 4-6, 6-0 win.
Kurey said the duo was very excited to make the final. "We only dreamed of this coming here and now we're here, so we can't wait to get back out there tomorrow morning."
The Yellow Jackets' opponents in Sunday's final had to battle hard to get past Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase of Georgia. With Shine serving at 4-5 in the first set, a marathon game ensued with multiple game and set points for each team. Shine finally held and the Cardinals broke for a 6-5 lead, only to get immediately broken back and forced to play a tiebreaker. Louisville managed to squeak out the tiebreaker 8-6, and then held onto the lead to advance to the final with a 7-6(6), 6-3 victory.
|Georgia Tech's Megan Kurey and Kendal Woodard registered two bagel sets in a three-set win over USC.|
The Cardinal duo said they keep telling themselves to keep it simple and stay focused in that first set.
"They are a good team," Shine said. "They took us out of our element a little bit in the beginning. Lauren Herring has great volleys and she was all over the net. It was hard for us to focus in on our game plan."
Shine and Fellerhoff said they have not been a regular doubles team, but always play really well together. "The fact that we've gotten time to practice together and play matches, I feel like we get better every match we play. We're really excited for tomorrow. They are a good team - so we think it's going to be a great match," said Shine.
In tomorrow's consolation matches, the singles finals will be Marcos Giron of UCLA against Patrick Pradella of Baylor and Beatrice Capra of Duke versus Abigail Tere-Apisah of Georgia State. In doubles, Brynn Boren and Zoe Katz of USC face Pleun Burgmans and Emily Flickinger of Auburn in the women's consolation final, while Marcos Giron and Mackenzie McDonald of UCLA play Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka of Ohio State in the men's doubles consolation final.
Sunday's finals begin at 10am with main draw and consolation doubles finals, and singles finals are all slated to begin at 11.30am.
For complete coverage of the 2013 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, including access to draws, live scores and more, please visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA onTwitter, @ITAtennis, or like the ITA Facebook page for updates and news from Flushing. Use the hashtag #NationalIndoors for all tweets in regards to the event, or search the term "NationalIndoors" to find others who are tweeting about the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, Nov. 7-10.