Cavalier junior becomes third player to win tournament twice.
TULSA, OK (Oct. 7) – Courtesy of the ITA - History was made today at the 2012 ITA Men’s All-American Championships as Virginia’s Alex Domijan became the first player in 11 years to win two All-American title. Meanwhile, Auburn’s doubles team of Dan Cochrane and Andreas Mies brought home Auburn’s first ITA All-American championship in school history.
2010 ITA All-American champion Alex Domijan kicked-off his junior season the best way any player could by winning the ITA’s first men’s national title of the year. “It’s nice [winning the title], I like playing here” said Domijan, who in two ITA All-American tournament appearances has brought home titles both times. “I don’t know what it is about this place but I wish I could do it at every tournament. The courts suit my game well and playing here just works out well for me.”
Domijan earned the singles championship by defeating Ohio State’s Peter Kobelt in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1, which ironically enough is the reverse score of last year’s final when fellow Cavalier Mitchell Frank won the championship.
In today’s championship match, Domijan got down early in the first set, falling behind 3-1. “At the beginning he [Kobelt] served really well and I had three break points on his first service game” said Domijan, who was unable to convert on his three chances. “I think I let down a little bit mentally after that and he took advantage of it and broke me back right away.”
As the set progressed, Domijan seemed to handle Kobelt’s serve with more success. “I think the balls started to get worn down a little bit and I think it took a lot of heat off his serve” Domijan said, he continues “so I was able to return a lot better and get into games on his serve which I think kind of threw him off a little bit.” Eventually Domijan got his break back at 3-all and went on to take the set at 7-5 by breaking late in the set.
Entering the second set, Domijan zeroed in on building off of the late success he found in the first set as he jumped out to an early 3-1 lead. Then it happened, a critical game on his serve that could have been a change of momentum game for Kobelt. “The biggest game of the match was when I was up 3-1” said Domijan, who went down 15-40 on his serve, giving Kobelt two immediate break chances to get back into the set. “That was basically the match I think because if I won that game then I felt I was going to win the match.” In total, Domijan fought off three break points and with an emphatic forehand winner held serve to go up 4-1 and eventually took the match at 7-5, 6-1.
Looking ahead at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, Domijan will have his sights on a better performance than he had in 2010. “Two years ago when I won it [ITA All-American Championships], I went to national indoors and lost in the first round of main draw and consolation so I’m looking forward to getting one match under my belt in Flushing.”
Transitioning to the main draw doubles final, Domijan’s teammates Mac Styslinger and Jarmere Jenkins were looking to take both singles and doubles titles back to Virginia for the first time since 2010. However, Auburn’s Dan Cochrane and Andreas Mies had other plans as the duo served as Auburn’s first representatives in an ITA All-American final in school history.
The pair from Auburn showed zero nerves in the early going, racing out to a quick 5-2 lead. After a Virginia hold, Cochrane looked to serve out the set but a good lob on break point led to a missed overhead, giving the break back to Virginia. “We were ahead 5-2 and I played a shaky game at 5-3” said Cochrane. “I wasn’t feeling too good after that but Andreas played a great service game to keep us in the set.”
“It was really important to stay positive” said Mies, he continues “especially after we got broken. I just tried to keep him [Cochrane] positive because he had served well all tournament.”
Following Mies’ hold and a hold from Virginia, the set went into a tiebreaker. Auburn found themselves in an early hole at 2-5 and would go on to see a set point against them as Virginia served, leading at 4-6.
A resilient Auburn team seemed unrattled as they fought off two set points and won the final four games of the breaker to take it at 8-6. “We played well in the tiebreak at the right times” said Cochran. “That gave us huge momentum going into the second set.”
Feeding off their first set victory, the Auburn duo broke Virginia twice and held two of their own service games to take a commanding 4-0 lead. The two breaks of serve turned out to be more than enough as they went on to take the set at 6-2.
“We are both really aggressive players and that paid off at this tournament” said Mies. “We had a really great tournament, and I mean, there’s nothing really more to say than that.”
The consolation singles title was claimed by Mississippi’s Jonas Lutjen, who defeated Ohio State’s Connor Smith in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. “It’s never easy playing the final after playing so many matches” said Lutjen, who played six singles matches en route to today’s title. “But I just tried to play my best and I ended up winning and it was a great tournament in the end.”
Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland of Georgia walked away with the consolation doubles championship as they defeated Columbia’s Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur in today’s only three set match, 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1. “I felt like we were a little bit flat in the beginning” said Pieters. “They came out and played a really good game but I felt like we needed a bit more energy and we got that towards the end.”
Wagland added “We started playing more aggressively at the end of the second set. We had a few chances on their service games but we didn’t break. But in the tiebreaker we played really aggressive and that’s what got us through in the third set as well.”
By winning the consolation titles, Pieters, Wagland and Lutjen punched their tickets to USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in November. They will be joined by the eight main draw singles quarterfinalists and both main draw doubles finalists.