By Bobby Knight. Pictured Marcos Giron
UCLA and Virginia survived both their opponents and the gusting winds to advance to Tuesday‘s National Championship match. Virginia held off a game Georgia squad 4-1 as Alex Domijan got a late break before serving it out while UCLA got past Ohio State 4-3 with Marcos Giron breaking Peter Kobelt to send the Bruins to the finals. If you want to see the finish of those matches along with several other video clips from Monday’s semifinals you can check out my YouTube
So let’s cut right to it and look at the tomorrow’s Championship tilt.
(1) vs. Virginia
(2) – 1pm CST – The weather could play a role in this one as rain is expected on and off throughout the day so if the match happens to go indoors that would seem to give Virginia an advantage with the Hoos being the reigning National Indoor Champs and since UCLA’s only loss this year came indoors. The doubles point will be tightly contested and could very well decide the winner of the match if things go the way they’ve gone the last few matches. UCLA played exceptionally well in doubles against Ohio State and without that point they likely would not be in this match. I’m leaning toward Virginia to take the point but would not be surprised if it went the other way. In the singles matches there are several that could go either way depending on which way the wind is or isn’t blowing. I’ll do my best to predict a winner assuming they play outdoors.
- Dennis Novikov vs. Jarmere Jenkins – Both are coming off losses as Novikov dropped his match to Blaz Rola 5-7 6-3 6-2 while Jenkins went down in straight sets to Ben Wagland 7-5 6-3. Jenkins hasn’t been as sharp as normal these last 2 matches while Novikov has played pretty well. Prediction: Novikov (UCLA) in 3
- Marcos Giron vs. Alex Domijan – Both of these guys provided the match clincher for their teams in the Semis with Giron knocking off Peter Kobelt 4-6 7-6 6-4 and Domijan beating Nathan Pasha 3-6 6-3 6-4. Domijan struggled with the wind on Monday but if the conditions are back to normal I like the big guy to pull through. Prediction: Domijan (UVA) in 3.
- Adrien Puget vs. Mitchell Frank – Puget was upset by Connor Smith 6-2 7-6 while Frank continued his winning ways with a 6-3 6-3 win over Austin Smith. Frank is as close to an automatic win as Steve Johnson was over the last few years so you know where I’m going with this pick. Prediction: Frank (UVA) in 2
- Dennis Mkrtchian vs. Ryan Shane – Mkrtchian was beaten soundly by Devin McCarthy 6-1 6-3 while Shane was down a break in the 3rd set to Hernus Pieters so both have something to prove in this one. Shane has a big game but has only played a handful of matches in the last month and was down a break late in the 3rd set in each of his last 2 matches so I don’t think he’s got the confidence right now to beat someone like Mkrtchian. His best bet would be to have this match go indoors out of the elements but if it is played outdoors I like the Bruin to take it. Prediction: Mkrtchian (UCLA) in 3.
- Clay Thompson vs. Mac Styslinger – Thompson hammered Chris Diaz 6-1 6-1 while Styslinger was on serve in the 3rd set against Garrett Brasseaux after letting 5 match points slip away in the 2nd set. I think the UCLA veteran will step up on the big stage and knock off the Virginia freshmen. Prediction: Thompson (UCLA) in 2.
- Karue Sell vs. Julen Uriguen – Sell squeezed by Constantin Christ 6-4 7-6 while Uriguen beat Marco Nunez 6-3 7-5. In this matchup between a pair of former top 35 ITF Juniors I like the one that’ll be wearing the Navy Blue and Orange. Prediction: Uriguen (UVA) in 2