SKILLMAN, NJ (Nov. 5) – With the completion of 24 USTA/ITA Regional Championships, the field is set for the 2012 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, November 8-11 at the USTA Billie Jean National King Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
The only championship to showcase elite players from every level of collegiate sports, the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships serves as the culmination of the fall season. Hosted by Columbia University, this prestigious event features a 32-player singles draw and a 20-team doubles draw for men and women.
Gaining automatic entry into the tournament are champions from the USTA/ITA Division I Regional Championships held across the country in October, winners of the USTA/ITA National Small College Super Bowl, and the consolation champions, doubles finalists and singles quarterfinalists from the ITA Men’s and ITA/Riviera Women's All-American Championships.
The men’s singles field is loaded with talent this year as seven of the top 10 players from the Campbell/ITA Men’s Preseason Rankings will be competing for the ITA’s final and most prestigious national title of the fall. Not only is the field deep, it is also diverse as 27 colleges and universities will be represented in the prestigious 32 player singles draw, the most since 2009.
After capturing the 2012 ITA All-American championship, Alex Domijan of Virginia heads to Flushing as the tournament’s top seeded player. Domijan is a perfect 10-0 this fall, with four of his wins coming against players ranked in the top 50 in the nation. Domijan will be joined by teammates Jarmere Jenkins, Harrison Richmond and Mac Styslinger, making Virginia one of only three teams with multiple players competing in Flushing. Mississippi and UCLA also have more than one player eyeing a national title.
USTA/ITA Midwest Regional champion and ITA All-American runner-up Peter Kobelt of Ohio State enters the tournament as the second seed. Kobelt has had a phenomenal fall thus far, boasting an 11-1 record with four wins against players ranked 12th or better. Princeton’s Matija Pecotic is the tournament’s third seed after winning the USTA/ITA Northeast Regional championship coupled with a semifinal singles appearance in the ITA All-American Championships. Pecotic is the first Ivy League singles player to be seeded at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships since Harvard’s James Blake back in 1999.
Moving to doubles, the men’s draw is highlighted by 2012 ITA All-American champs and number one seeds Daniel Cochrane and Andreas Mies of Auburn University. Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler of Duke are the second seeds while 2012 ITA All-American runner-ups Jenkins and Styslinger of Virginia are the three seed. The top ranked doubles team of Costin Pavel and Dane Webb from Oklahoma round out the top four seeds in this year’s tournament.
The women’s singles draw features seven of the top 10 players from the Campbell/ITA Women’s Preseason Rankings. With last year’s finalists Marta Lesniak of SMU and Joanna Mather of Florida both graduating at the end of last season, this year’s draw appears to be wide open. Last year’s consolation champion Beatrice Capra of Duke is also out due to injury. The field is slightly less diverse than the men’s singles field with 22 schools represented, as seven schools have multiple players in the draw. USC, North Carolina and Florida all have three players competing for this coveted national title.
Three players bring an unblemished record into the 2012 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, highlighted by Lauren Embree of Florida, the 2012 ITA/Riviera Women’s All-American Championships singles winner. After battling her way through a tough draw in Pacific Palisades, collecting wins over four ranked foes before defeating Virginia freshman standout Julia Elbaba in the finals, Embree has not played in another fall tournament.
UCLA’s Robin Anderson has also only played one tournament this season, taking home the USTA/ITA Southwest Region singles title at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. Anderson will look to maintain the form she showed in the regional final, as she took down Campbell/ITA No. 8 Sabrina Santamaria of USC 6-2, 6-4. The final player coming in undefeated is Gina Suarez-Malaguti of North Carolina, who did not compete in the ITA/Riviera Women’s All-American Championships or the USTA/ITA Carolina Region Championships, but does have wins over Campbell/ITA No. 10 Mary Anne Macfarlane and teammate Whitney Kay, both of whom are in the singles draw.
The doubles field of 20 is highlighted by defending USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships doubles winners Kaitlyn Christian and Santamaria of USC. The Women of Troy duo, ranked No. 1 in the Campbell/ITA Women’s Doubles Rankings, collected another national title earlier this fall by claiming the ITA/Riviera Women’s All-American Championships doubles crown. The odds are in USC’s favor of coming away with the doubles title in Flushing, as two other tandems will join Christian and Santamaria in the draw: Gabriella DeSimone/Zoe Scandalis and Danielle Lao/Valeria Pulido.
There are only two other top 10 pairs in the field this year: No. 7 Lorraine Guillermo and Khunpak Issara of Pepperdine (ITA/Riviera Women’s All-American Championships doubles consolation champions) and No. 9 Stacey Tan and Ellen Tsay from Stanford (USTA/ITA Northwest Region doubles champions). The UCLA tandem of Anderson and Pamela Montez should also be a strong contender in this year’s event, as both players are ranked in the top five of the Campbell/ITA Women’s Doubles Rankings with different partners.
Ken Thomas of RadioTennis.com will be on site throughout the week starting Thursday, providing a live broadcast beginning at 10:15 am ET each day.
This is the third year for the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships to be held at the home of the US Open. In an effort to draw more awareness to the event, this year’s Championships was pushed back a week to not conflict with the annual New York City Marathon. That decision proved to be a wise one with Hurricane Sandy hitting the East Coast early last week.
For complete coverage of the 2012 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, including access to draws, live scores and more, please visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis, 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 from the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, Nov. 8-11.