Auburn and Virginia to Play for Doubles Crown
TULSA, OK (Oct. 6) – With three days of main draw play in the books, the championship matches for the 2012 ITA Men’s All-American Championships are set. All of today’s matches were played inside as a result of cold and rainy conditions.
Alex Domijan of Virginia will be searching for his second ITA All-American Championship after winning two rounds of play today. The 2010 champ opened the day with a straight set win over Emilio Gomez of USC in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-4. On his way to the semifinals, Domijan did not relinquished a single set nor been forced into a tiebreaker. This all changed in his semifinal match against Princeton’s Matija Pecotic.
Domijan looked to be in complete control of the semifinal as he won the first set at 6-4 and took a 5-3 lead in the second. Following a hold of serve by Pectoic, Domijan had the opportunity to serve out the match at 5-4. However, Domijan failed to hold serve at 5-4 and following another break of serve by the Virginia Cavalier, he let another service game get away from him at 6-5.
“I choked” said Domijan, who eventually dropped the second set in tiebreak. “I choked at 5-4 and at 6-5. He played well but I had a lot of opportunities to close it but I didn’t. I got really tight.”
Both players held serve with relative ease in the third set as neither player saw a single break point the entire set which eventually led to a tiebreaker to decide the match. “I thought I was going to lose the whole time in that third set [tiebreaker]” said Domijan. “I was up 6-4 but then at 6-all I thought for sure I was going to lose but then I kind of got lucky I thought.”
Domijan eventually won the tiebreaker at 9-7 as Pectotic ended the match with an unforced error on the forehand side and had a backhand pass attempt sail wide. A win in tomorrow’s finals would make Domijan the first player to win two ITA All-American Championships since Stanford’s K.J. Hippensteel won his second title in 2001. “It’d be good [to win another championship]” Domijan said. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow, it should be a good match.”
Domijan will take on Ohio State’s Peter Kobelt, who has quietly made his way through to the championship match. “I kind of like rolling under the radar” said Kobelt. “That’s always kind of how I have been but it’s nice to see some results.”
Kobelt claimed a 6-4, 6-4 win over Mac Styslinger in the quarterfinals, mostly due to booming serves and heavy forehands. “My games pretty straight forward” said Kobelt, he continues “I hit a big serve and I try to hit a big forehand after it.”
After his straight set win in the quarters, Kobelt looked to carry his previous win’s momentum into the semifinals against Georgia’s KU Singh. Similar to his quarterfinal match, Kobelt utilized his massive serve to take the opening set at 7-5.
However, Kobelt struggled to hold serve in the following set as Singh won the second set at 6-1. “He had a let cord winner to break me the first time and then he held a tough game after that” Kobelt said. “It was a really close set but the score didn’t indicate that but outside the last two games it was pretty tight, but he played well, hats off to KU, he’s a very good player.”
Kobelt’s serve seemed to be letting him down again in the third as Singh raced to an early 3-1 lead. “He got out to an early break and had all the momentum coming out of the second set” said Kobelt. “So I said let’s just fight as hard as I can so I can scrap my way back into the match.” That he did as Kobelt went on to win three of the next four games, including a hold at love to take a 4-3 lead.
Georgia’s Singh would hold his next service game to make it 4-all and jumped on Kobelt’s serve, earning two break opportunities. With the match on the line, Kobelt came up with four timely serves including two aces and two unreturned serves to bring the score to 5-4.
Down 5-4, Singh was on his way to another hold of serve and a 5-5 set score as he took a 40-love lead but three unforced errors and a double fault gave Kobelt a match point. The following point proved to be as anticlimactic as it can be as Singh called a ball wide which was overruled by the chair official, giving Kobelt a 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 win.
Following the win, Kobelt shared his thoughts on his matchup in the finals against Domijan. “He’s obviously a past champion here” said Kobelt. “I have a ton of respect for him and the Virginia tennis program. Tomorrow I’m going to have to come out and play better than I did today to beat him because he’s a world class player.”
The main draw doubles final will feature two unseeded teams in Virginia’s Jarmere Jenkins and Mac Styslinger against Daniel Cochrane and Andreas Mies of Auburn. By reaching the final, both teams have qualified for a spot in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in November.
The consolation singles final will be between Jonas Lutjen of Mississippi and Ohio State’s Connor Smith. The winner of the consolation match will also earn the right to compete at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships as will the winner of tomorrow’s consolation doubles match between Henrus Pieters and Ben Wagland of Georgia and Columbia’s Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur.
Championship Sunday will begin with the consolation finals at 10:00 a.m. CDT followed by the main draw finals at noon at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, OK.