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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Minor and Woolcock in Women's NCAA Division I Final, Kwiatkowski and Blumberg Play for Men's Crown; Liu Captures $25K Title in Italy; Anisimova, Sandgren Fall at Roland Garros; Hilderbrand Sweeps Costa Rica Grade 4 Titles

The finals are set at the NCAA Division I individual championships in Athens Georgia, with North Carolina's William Blumberg and Virginia's Thai Kwiatkowski playing for the men's singles title and a US Open wild card, while Brienne Minor of Michigan will take on Florida's Belinda Woolcock for the women's singles championship.

The sixth-seeded Woolcock, the only international finalist and the only player who held the line 1 team position, had a roller coaster of a semifinal encounter with unseeded Miami freshman Estela Perez-Somarriba before securing a 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 victory.  The senior from Australia led 6-1, 5-1 and had three match points in the second set, but Perez-Somarriba won five straight games to force a third. Woolcock went up early in the third and this time closed out the match.

Minor, who played at line 2 for Michigan, took out Vanderbilt's Sydney Campbell, a 9-16 seed, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-0.  The sophomore from Illinois will be the first Michigan woman in history to play in the NCAA final.

Minor and Woolcock have not played before, but the men's final features two regular ACC foes.  In the team final last Tuesday, Blumberg defeated Kwiatkowski 6-3, 6-1 at line 2, and the Tar Heel freshman also beat the Virginia senior in the ACC conference tournament.

Blumberg, a 9-16 seed, advanced to the final by defeating No. 2 seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State 6-2, 7-6(1), while Kwiatkowski, also a 9-16 seed, posted a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 8 seed Tom Fawcett of Stanford.

The winner of the NCAA singles championship, if American, has traditionally received a wild card into the US Open main draw, and I expect that will be the case for tomorrow's champions.

Both singles finals will be played simultaneously, beginning at 11 a.m., with streaming available at NCAA.com.

The doubles finals will follow the singles finals, with Maddie Pothoff and Erin Routliffe of Alabama, 5-8 seeds, playing unseeded Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase of Ohio State for the women's title. Pothoff and Routliffe defeated LSU's Ryann Foster and Joana Valle Costa 6-1, 6-1 in today's semifinals. Routliffe, a senior, was the NCAA doubles champion in 2014 and 2015, with Maya Jansen, who transferred to Cal and reached the doubles semifinals, losing to Di Lorenzo and Kowase today. Jansen and Maegan Manasse fell to the Buckeyes 6-2, 6-3.

Top seeds Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski of Georgia will face unseeded Andrew Harris and Spencer Papa of Oklahoma for the men's doubles title. Loeb and Zielinski beat Jerry Lopez and Reese Stalder of TCU, 6-3, 7-6(4), while Harris and Papa took out No. 4 seeds Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim of Wake Forest 3-6, 6-4, 12-10, saving two match points in the super tiebreaker.

For complete draws, see the tournament website.

Claire Liu, who turned 17 three days ago, won her second $25,000 Pro Circuit title this month, both on clay, but one on the green clay in Naples Florida and this week, on the red clay of Caserta Italy.  Liu, who was unseeded, defeated Paula Badosa Gibert of Spain, also unseeded, 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour.  With the title, Liu should break into the WTA Top 300 for the first time, but with the French Open the next two weeks, there will be a lag in getting those points onto to her ranking calculation.

Amanda Anisimova, who won the USTA's reciprocal wild card this spring made her slam debut in today's opening round of the French Open. The 15-year-old was up a set and a break on Japanese veteran Karumi Nara, but was unable to hold on, dropping the match 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.  Christopher Clarey of the New York Times published this profile of Anisimova, with the news that she intends to play the juniors in Paris again this year, after reaching the finals last year, and that she is now working with Henner Nehles of the USTA, who also has been coaching Kayla Day.

The men's USTA wild card recipient, Tennys Sandgren, also dropped his slam debut today, losing to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.  An Associated Press profile of Sandgren is here.

Four Americans did advance to the second round today, with Shelby Rogers, Venus Williams[10], Madison Brengle and qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands earning victories.

Twelve Americans are on Monday's schedule, with No. 25 seed Steve Johnson three and a half sets into his first round match with Yuichi Sugita of Japan.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Costa Rica, top seed Trey Hilderbrand claimed both the singles and doubles titles. Hilderbrand's 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 8 seed Sebastian Quiros of Costa Rica earned the 17-year-old his fourth ITF singles title. Hilderbrand partnered with Joshua Bode to win the doubles, with the top seeds beating unseeded Diego Giraldo Restrepo and Juan Sanchez of Colombia 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

No. 4 seeds Chloe Hamlin and Sasha Wood took the girls doubles title, beating unseeded Shale Bouchard and Jenna Dean 6-1, 6-1 in an all-US final.

At the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy, unseeded Elena Rybakina of Russia beat No. 8 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 to take the girls title. Alexei Popyrin of Australia, the No. 14 seed, defeated No. 15 seed Marko Miladinovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-2 to take the boys title. The ITF Junior website has a report on the finals here.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Chong, Cuba Win D-III Championships; Semifinals Set for Sunday in Division I; McNally and Osuigwe Capture Grade A Doubles Title in Milan; Liu Reaches Final of $25K in Italy

Eudice Chong of Wesleyan is batting 1000. The top seed and two-time defending champion made Division III history today in Chattanooga by claiming her third consecutive singles title. The junior from Hong Kong defeated No. 2 seed Rebecca Ho of Washington-St. Louis 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, in the final, accomplishment enough for any collegian. But the grueling three-day individual tournament wasn't over for Chong after she claimed the singles title, with the doubles semifinals and if victorious, the doubles final still on her schedule. Chong managed to survive both, as she and Victoria Yu, the top seeds, beat No. 2 seeds Lindsay Brown and Nicole Tan of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 6-2, 6-3 for the doubles title.

The women's Division III tournament page is here.

The top seed in the men's draw, Lubomir Cuba of Middlebury, also claimed both singles and doubles titles. The University of Michigan transfer, now a sophomore, defeated No. 3 seed Nicolai Parodi of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 6-1, 6-1 in the final to become the first player from Middlebury to win a men's singles title.  Cuba and partner William de Quant, the No. 2 seeds, defeated top seeds Brian Grodecki and Alex Taylor of Williams 6-4, 6-2 in the doubles final.

The men's Division III tournament page is here.

The semifinals are set for Sunday at the NCAA Division I individual tournament in Athens Georgia, with two US women and three US men into the final four.

Unseeded Brienne Minor of Michigan reached the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Sara Daavettila of North Carolina and will play Vanderbilt's Sydney Campbell, a 9-16 seed Sunday.  Campbell defeated Pepperdine's Ashley Lahey 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The other women's semifinal will feature two international players: No. 6 seed Belinda Woolcock of Florida and unseeded Estela Perez-Somaribba of Miami.  Woolcock eliminated teammate Anna Danilina 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Perez-Somaribba beat Michigan's Kate Fahey 6-4, 6-3.

All four of the men's semifinalists are seeded.  Virginia's Thai Kwiatkowski, a 9-16 seed, will face No. 8 seed Tom Fawcett of Stanford after Kwiatkowski came back for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 5 seed Chris Eubanks of Georgia Tech and Fawcett beat unseeded Alex Ghilea of Oklahoma 6-2, 6-2.

North Carolina freshman William Blumberg has reached the semifinals

In the other quarterfinals, North Carolina freshman William Blumberg, a 9-16 seed, beat unseeded Jack Findel-Hawkins of North Florida 6-4, 6-4 and No. 2 seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State defeated Wake Forest's Skander Mansouri, a 9-16 seed, 7-6(2), 6-3.

Both Blumberg and Borges are the first two NCAA singles semifinalists in their program's history.

Doubles semifinals are also set for Sunday, with teams from Georgia, Oklahoma, TCU and Wake Forest still alive in the men's draw, and teams from Ohio State, Alabama, Cal and LSU still competing for the women's title.

Live streaming and times for Sunday can be found at the tournament website.

At the ITF Grade A in Milan, Caty McNally and Whitney Osuigwe won the doubles title, defeating Hsuan Cho of Taiwan and Ayumi Miyamoto of Japan 6-3, 7-6(5).

Axel Geller of Argentina and Nicolas Mejia of Colombia won the boys doubles title, beating Vasil Kirkov and Danny Thomas 6-1, 4-6, 13-11. As with the girls finalists, both teams were unseeded.

No. 13 seed Oliver Crawford, the last US junior still in singles, lost in the semifinals today to Marko Miladinovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-4. Miladinovic will face No. 14 seed Alexei Popyrin of Australia in the boys final.

The girls final is between unseeded Elena Rybakina of Russia and No. 8 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland.

Claire Liu is into the finals of a $25,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit event in Italy.  The unseeded Liu, who turned 17 two days ago, defeated No. 5 seed Camilla Rosatello of Italy 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(5) today and will face unseeded Paula Badosa Gibert of Spain in Sunday's final.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Kwiatkowski Downs Top Seed Torpegaard to Reach NCAA D-I Quarterfinals; D-III Finals Set for Saturday; Crawford into Milan Grade A Semifinals; Fratangelo and Mattek-Sands Qualify for French Open

Thai Kwiatkowski reaches singles quarterfinals for third straight year
The quarterfinals are set at the NCAA Division I singles championships in Athens, with eight of the 16 players remaining unseeded.

Only two seeds remain in the women's draw, No. 6 seed Belinda Woolcock of Florida and Sydney Campbell of Vanderbilt, a No. 9-16 seed.

Two Midwest sectional junior rivals will meet in the top quarter, with Michigan sophomore Brienne Minor facing North Carolina freshman Sara Daavettila.  Minor defeated Mayar Sherif Ahmed 6-3, 7-5, while Daavettila ousted Cal's Karla Popovic, a 9-16 seed, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Campbell, a senior who has been on top of her game in Athens, defeated No. 4 seed Ena Shibahara of UCLA 6-2, 6-4 and will face Pepperdine freshman Ashley Lahey, who beat No. 5 seed Blair Shankle of Baylor 4-6, 6-0, 6-4.

In the bottom half of the draw, a second Michigan player has advanced to the quarterfinals, with sophomore Kate Fahey defeating Jessica Livianu of St. Johns 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.  She will face Miami freshman Estela Perez-Somarriba, who defeated Mia Horvit of South Carolina 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.

Woolcock will take on Gator teammate Anna Danilina after Woolcock beat Joana Valle Costa of LSU 6-3, 6-1 and Danilina eliminated home favoried Ellen Perez, a 9-16 seed, 6-4, 7-6(3).

None of last year's quarterfinalists advanced to the final eight this year.

The men's draw features only two unseeded players, and 2016 finalist Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State, the No. 1 seed, is not one of them after he fell to Virginia's Thai Kwiatkowski, a 9-16 seed, 6-1, 7-6(3). Senior Kwiatkowski, who now has reached at least the quarterfinals of the singles championships three years in a row, will play No. 5 seed Chris Eubanks of Georgia Tech next.  Eubanks beat unseeded Yuya Ito of Texas 6-3, 6-0.

No. 3 seed Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest also fell in the third round, losing to unseeded Alex Ghilea of Oklahoma 7-6(5), 7-5. Ghilea's quarterfinal opponent is Stanford's Tom Fawcett, the No. 8 seed, who beat No. 9-16 seed Florian Lakat of Cal 7-5, 7-5.

Freshman William Blumberg continued his impressive run in Athens, with the No. 9-16 seed beating No. 6 seed Alfredo Perez of Florida 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.  He will play unseeded Jack Findel-Hawkins of North Florida, who defeated Borna Gojo of Wake Forest 6-3, 2-6, 6-0.

No. 2 seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State got past No. 9-16 seed William Bushamuka of Kentucky 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 and will play No. 9-16 seed Skander Mansouri of Wake Forest, a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 winner over Jolan Cailleau of Texas Tech.

Eight different teams are represented in the men's quarterfinals, but four are from ACC teams.

Draws are available at the tournament website.

The finals are set for the Division III singles championships Saturday, and at that tournament the seeding has held up very well.  The men's final will feature No. 1 seed Lubomir Cuba of Middlebury against No. 3 seed Nicolai Parodi of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

Top seed Eudice Chong of Wesleyan will go for her third straight women's singles title against No. 2 seed Rebecca Ho of Washington-St. Louis.

The D-III tournament website is here, but I find it easier to use the Slam Tennis scoreboard because you can check results from men's and women's matches on the same page.

At the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy, No. 13 seed Oliver Crawford has advanced to Saturday's semifinals. Crawford defeated Uisung Park of Korea 6-4, 6-2 and will play No. 15 seed Marko Miladinovic of Serbia. Caty McNally and Whitney Osuigwe will play in Saturday's girls doubles final, while Vasil Kirkov and Danny Thomas are through to the boys doubles final.

The live scoring for Milan is available here.

Two Americans qualified for the main draw of the French Open, which begins on Sunday.  No. 32 seed Bjorn Fratangelo, the 2011 boys champion at Roland Garros, defeated No. 15 seed Gerald Melzer of Austria 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(1) in third round qualifying action today. Bethanie Mattek-Sands[12] defeated Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-1 to earn her place in the main draw.

The singles draws were revealed today and can be found here.

Check out this usta.com article for news on the Americans and their first round opponents.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fifteen Collegians Earn All-American Honors at NCAAs; Pedroso Named to Replace Boland at Virginia; Four American Juniors Reach Quarterfinals at Milan Grade A; French Final Round Qualifying Features Four From US

The opportunity to earn All-American status comes every year in the second round of the NCAA singles championships and today in Athens, 15 collegians were able to earn that highly coveted title with wins today.  All players seeded in the tournament, regardless of their performance this week, had already received that title, but a rash of upsets on Wednesday opened the door for the ten women and five men who had come into the tournament unseeded.

The women earning All-American honors with wins today:
Mayar Sherif Ahmed, Pepperdine
Brienne Minor, Michigan
Sara Daavettila, North Carolina
Ashley Lahey, Pepperdine
Jessica Livianu, St. Johns
Kate Fahey, Michigan
Mia Horvit, South Carolina
Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami
Joana Valle Costa, LSU
Anna Danilina, Florida

The men earning All-American honors with wins today:
Yuya Ito, Texas
Alex Ghilea, Oklahoma
Jack Findel-Hawkins, North Florida
Borna Gojo, Wake Forest
Jolan Callieau, Texas Tech

The doubles tournament began today, and just like in singles, three of the top four seeds in the women's tournament are gone.  Top seeds Astra Sharma and Emily Smith of Vanderbilt withdrew, No. 2 seeds Jasmine Lee and Lisa Maria Rioux of Mississippi State lost to Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum and Nina Khmelnitckaia of Kansas and No. 4 seeds Jessie Aney and Hayley Carter fell to Eleni Christofi and Kennedy Shaffer of Georgia.  The top four seeds in the men's doubles all advanced to the second round.

For complete results, see the tournament website.

The University of Virginia announced the hiring of a new head coach, with former associate head coach Andres Pedroso returning to Charlottesville to take over for Brian Boland.  Pedroso worked under Boland for four years before leaving to coach privately in South Florida in 2014.  Pedroso, who was a USTA National Coach prior to joining Virginia as an assistant, will become director of tennis for the University as well.   Although there has been no announcement, my assumption is that Dustin Taylor, Boland's current assistant, will be leaving to join Boland at the USTA. Taylor was the USTA's National Collegiate coach prior to joining Virginia when Pedroso left.

Two US girls and two US boys advanced to Friday's quarterfinals at the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy with wins today.

No. 13 seed Oliver Crawford defeated qualifier Sangeet Sridhar 6-3, 6-2 and No. 4 seed Trent Bryde came back to beat Nicolas Mejia of Colombia 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

No. 6 seed Whitney Osuigwe defeated Tatiana Pieri of Italy 7-6(3), 6-2 and unseeded Ann Li topped No. 2 seed Amina Anshba of Russia 6-4, 7-5.   Li, the reigning USTA 18s Clay Court champion, is having the best Grade A of her career this week, which should help her chances for making the main draw at Wimbledon.

Osuigwe and Caty McNally are into the doubles semifinals, as are Vasil Kirkov and Danny Thomas.

The final day of French Open qualifying is Friday, with two US men and two US women needing one more win to make the main draw.

Nicole Gibbs[20] defeated Hiroko Kuwata of Japan 6-4, 6-1 in today's second round and will face top seed Sara Errani of Italy Friday. Bethanie Mattek-Sands[12] defeated Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia 7-6(6), 6-4 and will play Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

Bjorn Fratangelo[32] will play Gerald Melzer[15] of Austria and Denis Kudla faces Paul-Henri Mathieu[16] of France.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Conversation with Tracy Austin; More Rain in Athens; Williams and Emory Claim D-III Championships; Eight US Juniors Advance at Milan Grade A; Opelka, Fratangelo and Kudla Reach Final Round Qualifying at French Open

While I was at Ojai late last month, I had an opportunity to sit down with two-time US Open champion Tracy Austin to talk about her roles as tennis parent and television commentator, resulting in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network. She spoke of the different commitment levels her three sons had to the sport, with middle son Brandon Holt, who is now a freshman at USC, electing to devote most of his free time mastering it.  Austin, who didn't turn pro until after she had made the US Open women's quarterfinals twice, has some interesting thoughts on the decision of going pro or going to college.

Holt lost his first round match today in the NCAA individual tournament in Athens, with the rain that has plagued the the event since Saturday continuing to cause disruptions today.  With matches delayed and moving inside and no apparent updates of scores except on twitter, it's been a challenge to keep track of what's going on.

The big news tonight (matches are still in progress) was the losses of women's top two seeds Francesca Di Lorenzo of Ohio State and Hayley Carter of North Carolina.  Di Lorenzo was beaten by Mayar Sherif Ahmed of Pepperdine 6-4, 6-2 and Carter lost to Florida's Anna Danilina 6-2, 6-3.

Di Lorenzo, a sophomore, had won the previous two collegiate majors last fall and was going for the major title triple crown, which has never been done in the same academic school year. Carter, a senior, was the 2016 NCAA singles finalist.

Vanderbilt's Astra Sharma, the women's No. 3 seed, withdrew.

The top 3 men's seeds--Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State, Nuno Borges of Mississippi State and Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest--advanced in straight sets, but No. 4 seed Arthur Rinderknech of Texas A&M lost to Borna Gojo of Wake Forest 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

The All-Tournament teams have been announced, with almost all positions filled from those teams in the finals. Usually the team that wins the championship produces the Most Outstanding Player, but this year the men's MOP was North Carolina freshman Will Blumberg, whose team lost to Virginia 4-2.  Belinda Woolcock of Florida took the honor for the women.

No. 1 doubles: Anna Danilina & Ingrid Neel, Florida
No. 2 doubles: Brooke Austin & Kourtney Keegan, Florida
No. 3 doubles: Josei Kuhlman & Belinda Woolcock, Florida

No. 1 singles: Belinda Woolcock, Florida
No. 2 singles: Melissa Lord, Stanford
No. 3 singles: Taylor Davidson, Stanford
No. 4 singles: Anna Danilina, Florida
No. 5 singles: Emily Arbuthnott, Stanford
No. 6 singles: Kourtney Keegan, Florida

Most Outstanding Player:
Belinda Woolcock, Florida

No. 1 doubles: William Blumberg & Robert Kelly, North Carolina
No. 2 doubles: Thai Kwiatkowski & Alexander Ritschard, Virginia
No. 3 doubles: Collin Altamirano & JC Aragone, Virginia

No. 1 singles: Mikael Torpegaard, Ohio State
No. 2 singles: William Blumberg, North Carolina
No. 3 singles: Robert Kelly, North Carolina
No. 4 singles: Collin Altamirano, Virginia
No. 5 singles: JC Aragone, Virginia
No. 6 singles: Blaine Boyden, North Carolina

Most Outstanding Player:
William Blumberg, North Carolina

The Division III team championships were decided today in another rainy national finals site, Chattanooga Tennessee.  The women once again brought the drama, with Williams defeating Emory 5-4, with the match coming down to a third set at line 1.  Juli Raventos of Williams got an early break in the final set against Emory's Bridget Harding, held on to that one then earned another and served out the match for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 win and the Ephs' tenth team title. Williams and Emory had met in the finals the past three years, with Williams winning 5-4 in 2015 and Emory taking the title by a 5-4 score last year.

An excellent recap of Williams' victory can be found at their athletic website.

Unlike the Division I finals, with the men playing indoors and the women outdoors, both Division III championship matches were played inside.  Emory won all three doubles matches from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps but probably knew better than to think they would coast to victory as CMS had won five singles matches against Middlebury in the semifinals to earn a 5-4 victory. The Eagles took a 4-1 lead but the Stags fought back, with four singles matches going to a third set, but the CMS effort fell short when Adrien Bouchet closed out Daniel Morkovine at line 3 5-7, 6-2, 7-5. That gave Emory a 5-2 win and its fourth National title, with the last one coming in 2012.
All results can be found at the tournament website.

Eight US juniors have advanced to the third round of the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglioi in Milan Italy, including five boys who won second round matches today.  Trent Bryde[4], Oliver Crawford[13], Patrick Kypson, Sebastian Korda and qualifier Sangeet Sridhar will play for a place in the quarterfinals Thursday, with Crawford and Sridhar going head-to-head.  The only two US girls playing second round matches today were Elysia Bolton and No. 4 seed Taylor Johnson and both lost, leaving Whitney Osuigwe,[6] Natasha Subhash and Ann Li, who won on Tuesday, as the last American girls remaining.

Live scoring for the tournament is available at Tennis Ticker.

Day three of the French Open qualifying is complete, with three US men into the final round of qualifying: Bjorn Fratangelo[32], Denis Kudla and Reilly Opelka.  Fratangelo defeated Bradley Klahn 6-4, 7-6(6), Kudla beat Ricardo Ojeda Lara of Spain 6-4, 6-3 and Opelka outlasted Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 5-7, 7-6(7), 6-3.  Opelka is the only one of the three scheduled to play Thursday.

Three US women advanced to the second round of qualifying with wins today: Kristie Ahn, Sonya Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.  They join Tuesday winners Nicole Gibbs[20] and Kayla Day in Thursday's second round.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Virginia Men Beat UNC to Capture Third Straight Title; Florida Women Defeat Stanford for Championship; Division III Finals Set

One defending champion kept its winning streak alive, while the other saw its run come to an end Tuesday on another rainy day in Athens Georgia.

2017 NCAA Division I Champions Virginia
The University of Virginia men won their third straight title and fourth overall, beating the University of North Carolina 4-2 on the indoor courts on the University of Georgia campus. After a three-hour rain delay, the match was moved to the four indoor courts, making it the second year in a row that Virginia had claimed its NCAA national team championship indoors.

The No. 9 Tar Heels, who had lost their three previous meetings this season with No. 2 Virginia, needed the doubles point, and they came close, with the point decided by a tiebreaker at line 2.  After Virginia had easily taken line 3 with Collin Altamirano and JC Aragone beating Anu Kodali and Ronnie Schneider 6-1, North Carolina's William Blumberg and Robert Kelly followed with an equally lopsided 6-2 victory over Luca Corinteli and Carl Soderlund at line 1. That left line 2 to decide it in a tiebreaker, in which UNC's Jack Murray and Simon Soendergaard led Thai Kwiatkowski and Alexander Ritschard 3-1 and 5-4.  The match was on Soendergaard's racquet at 5-4, but he lost both points on serve, and Kwiatkowski and Ritschard converted their match point for a 7-6(5) win at a 1-0 Virginia lead.

Ritschard gave Virginia a 2-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Schneider at line 1, but Blumberg got the Tar Heels on the board with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Kwiatkowski at line 2, the ITA Rookie of the Year's fifth win in this year's NCAA championships.  With two matches complete, lines 5 and 6 could begin their matches, but before they could start, Altamirano brought Virginia within one point of the title with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Soendergaard. Kelly made it 3-2 a few minutes later, beating Soderlund 6-2, 6-4, leaving the two matches, just underway, to decide it.

Virginia's Aragone and Henrik Wiersholm have been two of Virginia's strongest points all season, and both took the first sets from Murray and Bo Boyden, respectively. Both went up breaks in their second sets, and it was senior Aragone who finished first, beating Murray 7-6(2), 6-2 to clinch the title.

The Cavaliers, who have now played in six out of the last seven NCAA team finals, say goodbye to three seniors in their top 6--Ritschard, Kwiatkowski and Aragone--as well as head coach Brian Boland, who is leaving after the upcoming individual championships to become head of men's tennis at the USTA.

For more on Virginia's title, see virginiasports.com.

2017 NCAA Division I champions Florida
The weather cleared midway through the men's final and the women's championship was able to be played outdoors, starting a 8 p.m., three hours past its originally scheduled time.  It didn't look like it was going to last much more than two hours, when top seed Florida had a 2-0 lead on defending champions Stanford and match points on courts 1 and 5 within seconds of each other.  Florida had dominated the doubles point winning 6-2 at line 1 and 6-1 and line 3, and Kourtney Keegan had dealt freshman Emma Higuchi her first loss all year by way of a 6-0, 6-0 thrashing at line 6.

Needing just two more points, Florida looked to have them in hand when Belinda Woolcock was up 6-1, 5-3 on Caroline Doyle at line 1 and Brooke Austin had a match point on Emily Arbuthnott serving at 6-2, 5-4. On that match point, a deciding point, Austin missed a volley, making it 5-5, and although Woolcock closed out Doyle seconds later to make it 3-0, the Cardinal was back in the match, particularly after Arbuthnott won the next two games to send that contest into a third set. Once Stanford had gotten on the board with Melissa Lord's 6-4, 7-5 win over Josie Kuhlman, all the remaining matches were in a third set, with Florida's Ingrid Neel and Anna Danilina coming back from a set down against Taylor Davidson and Caroline Lampl.

Neel took a 3-0 lead in the third over Davidson, who had clinched Stanford's dramatic 4-3 win over Ohio State in a third-set tiebreaker ending close to midnight on Monday.  The Cardinal senior had needed time in the hospital to recover and had her leg heavily taped, but she had continued to battle, shortening points when she could.  She received a medical timeout at 3-0 in the third and got back on serve, but Neel broke back to take a 4-2 lead, held and broke again to give the Gators their seventh team title and their first since 2012.

The Florida website's article on the Gators title is here.

For more on the finals, see the tournament page.

#2 VIRGINIA (34-1) 4, #9 NORTH CAROLINA (29-5) 2

1. #12 William Blumberg/Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #17 Luca Corinteli/Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 6-2
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def. #82 Jack Murray/Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6(5)
3. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Anu Kodali/Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-1

1. #91 Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def. #22 Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-1, 6-3
2. #16 William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #14 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA), 6-3, 6-2
3. #116 Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 6-2, 6-4
4. #40 Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA) def. Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-3, 6-1
5. #109 J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Jack Murray (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6(2), 6-2
6. #102 Henrik Wiersholm (VIRGINIA) vs. Bo Boyden (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-4, 4-2, DNF
Doubles (3,1,2) Singles (1,2,4,3,5)


#1 FLORIDA (29-3) 4, #6 STANFORD (26-3) 1

1. #11 Anna Danilina/Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) def. #39 Emily Arbuthnott/Taylor Davidson (STANFORD), 6-2
2. #46 Caroline Doyle/Melissa Lord (STANFORD) vs. 20 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA), 4-3, DNF
3. #45 Josie Kuhlman/Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. Emma Higuchi/Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 6-1

1. #6 Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. #38 Caroline Doyle (STANFORD), 6-1, 6-3
2. #28 Melissa Lord (STANFORD) def. #23 Josie Kuhlman (FLORIDA), 6-4, 7-5
3. #31 Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) def. #54 Taylor Davidson (STANFORD), 5-7, 6-3, 6-2
4. #44 Anna Danilina (FLORIDA) vs. #90 Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 4-6, 6-1, 5-4, DNF
5. Emily Arbuthnott (STANFORD) vs. Brooke Austin (FLORIDA), 2-6, 7-5, 4-2, DNF
6. #59 Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) def. Emma Higuchi (STANFORD), 6-0, 6-0

The finals are set for the Division III Team Championships, with the women's title to be decided, for the third year in a row, between Emory and Williams.  Defending champion Emory defeated Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 5-1, while Williams defeated Middlebury 5-4, coming from 4-1 down to earn a rematch with the Eagles.  Williams won the 2015 women's title over Emory by a 5-4 score, the same score as Emory's win over Williams last year.

The men's championship match will feature two new finalists this year, although they are two of the elite of Division III tennis.  Emory defeated 2016 champion Bowdoin 5-2, avenging their semifinal loss to the Polar Bears last year. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps lost all three doubles points to 2016 finalist Middlebury, but came back to win five of six singles matches to beat the Panthers 5-4.

For more on the Division III championships, see the tournament page.