Georgia Tech, Columbia capture doubles wins
FLUSHING, NY (Nov. 10) - Freshman Jamie Loeb of North Carolina won her second-straight college tennis major, while senior Clay Thompson of UCLA won his 15th straight match to win the men's singles title at the 2013 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, held at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and hosted by Columbia University.
Loeb faced Robin Anderson of UCLA in a repeat of their Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships matchup, which Loeb won 6-4, 6-0.
On Sunday, Loeb struck first early, breaking the Bruin two straight times to take a 4-1 lead. Anderson fought back and recovered one break but served to stay in the first set at 3-5. An ace took her to game point, but she followed that up with a double fault and then netted a forehand to give Loeb a set point. Loeb would win the set after winning a long rally, 6-3.
|Senior Clay Thompson and freshman Jamie Loeb show off their new hardware|
In the second set, Anderson kept fighting to defend her title and she broke Loeb for the early lead, only to be broken twice in a row to trail 4-1 as Loeb proved too powerful and steady from every part of the court. Both women held serve for 5-2, putting had all the pressure on Anderson's shoulders to hold, but the Tar Heel broke again to capture the title, 6-3, 6-2.
In facing Anderson again for the second-straight major, Loeb said she thought her opponent played a lot better today."When we played at All-Americans, I think she was a little more nervous, especially at the beginning of the match," she said. "She wasn't serving as well; I think today she served a lot better. Overall, I think both matches were really great."
Loeb did not drop a set throughout the tournament and she now boasts a 19-1 start to her collegiate career. When talking about her successful fall, Loeb said she's been improving in practice and working very hard.
"During matches, I'm more confident now and I believe more in my shots and in myself," she said. "I'm using my legs more on my serve, making my first serve a weapon, but also consistent. I'm just mixing it up with my placement and using more variety with my shots in general."
Thompson, like Loeb, has also been on fire this fall season, and he extended his winning streak to 15 matches after defeating Jared Hiltzik of Illinois, 6-4, 7-5. The Bruin did not drop a set in winning his first college major.
The 6'6" Thompson got the key break at 4-all in the first set and served out the set for a 6-4 lead. His booming forehand, serve and net play have been in fine form all tournament, and his aggressive play continued to shine in the final. He broke Hiltzik to take a 2-0 lead and he hung on to the break until it was time to serve for the match at 5-4.
Thompson admitted he got tight while serving for the match, and two double faults helped Hiltzik get the break to level the set at 5-all. Thompson did not relent and he broke straight back, and held his serve a final time to clinch the victory.
He said after the match that he'd also felt tight at the beginning of the match. "I've never won a major tournament at any level. I got to the finals at Easter Bowl and that was the closest I've ever gotten," he said. "But I was having a blast out there. It's such a cool tournament. To be in New York at Flushing Meadows where all the greats have played, it was an amazing experience."
Thompson ended the 2012-2013 season ranked No. 107 in the ITA Men's Singles rankings and started this season No. 74 in the ITA Preseason Rankings.
Asked how he turned his collegiate career around this fall, he said: "Maturity is a funny thing, it just kind of clicks. People have their weeks here or there. For me, the right time is now. We'll see if I can be lucky enough to keep the momentum going, but honestly I'm thankful for this experience and the maturity losing at Tulsa has brought me for these 15 matches."
|Megan Kurey and Kendal Woodard also won the 2013 ITA/USTA National Summer Championship|
In women's doubles, Georgia Tech's Kendal Woodard and Megan Kurey won their program's first national title with a hard-fought 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Julia Fellerhoff and Rebecca Shine of Louisville. In the first set, neither team was able to break serve until the Cardinals broke Woodard at 5-4 to capture the first set. But the Yellow Jackets grabbed an early lead in the second and held on to level the match and they built a 3-0 lead in the third set.
But with Woodard serving at 3-1 up, the Cardinals showed they were not about to fold and they broke back then held to level the set at 3-3. Georgia Tech broke Fellerhoff's serve for a 5-3 lead, but they could not close out the win and the Cardinals broke then held for 5-5. With Shine serving, Georgia Tech dug deep and on their third match point of the game they were able to close out the victory.
The Yellow Jacket duo said they were thrilled to bring the national title back to Atlanta. Kurey said. "It feels great. We're so lucky to be part of such a great program and we're so excited."
In men's doubles, Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur of Columbia thrilled their local fans by defeating top seeds and ITA Preseason No. 1 team Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee. The Lions had a boisterous section of teammates, family, friends and alumni cheering them on and they captured their program's first national title with a 6-3, 6-2 win.
The match turned at 3-3 in the first set, when Narayana hit two backhand volleys to help break Reese's serve for the 4-3 lead. From there, the Lions kept up their clean play, and they broke Libietis' serve to take the first set, 6-3.
In the second set, the vocal Lions fans were in full effect and Narayana and Schnur would win six straight games to take a 3-0 lead in set two. The Lions never relented and they closed out the win 6-3, 6-2.
|Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur made sure two trophies stayed in New York|
After the win, the Columbia pair said all the home team support definitely helped them.
In consolation play, Beatrice Capra of Duke beat Abigail Tere-Apisah of Georgia State 7-5, 6-4 to capture the women's singles consolation final, while Marcos Giron of UCLA defeated Baylor's Patrick Pradella 6-4, 6-2 in the men's final. In doubles, Brynn Boren and Zoe Katz of USC defeated Pleun Burgmans and Emily Flickinger of Auburn 8-7(4) and Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka of Ohio State batted back from 6-7 down to win 8-7(5) over Giron and Mackenzie McDonald of UCLA in the men's doubles consolation final.
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