Pictured - USC's Emilio Gomez
Courtesy of CTO Correspondent - Bobby Knight - Day 2 of the National Indoors brought us closer matches but the powerhouses all managed to pull through to set up 2 great semifinal matches on Sunday. DRAW
Here is a quick recap of Saturday’s Quarterfinal action:
#3 UCLA defeated #6 Georgia 4-1
– Despite being down another man with Nick Wood out due to illness, Georgia came out on fire in doubles and really took it to UCLA on all 3 courts in route to claiming the doubles point. With Wood and Singh out Georgia had its #7 and #8 singles players playing up 2 spots at 5 and 6 which put them in a quick 2-1 hole as Karue Sell dispatched Eric Diaz 6-2 6-1 at 6 and Clay Thompson followed that up with a 6-2 6-3 win over Garrett Brasseaux at 5. All other courts were tight with Georgia getting 1st sets at 2 and 4 and UCLA getting 1st sets at 1 and 3. Dennis Novikov was the next to finish with a 6-2 4-6 6-2 win over Nathan Pasha at 1 and then it was Adrian Puget providing the clincher for UCLA with a 6-4 7-6 win over Hernus Pieters at 3. Marcos Giron and Dennis Mkrtchian were both up a break in the 3rd set at 2 and 4 when those matches were halted.
#2 USC defeated #7 Kentucky 4-1
– USC came out well prepared and took the doubles point by winning both 1 and 2 doubles by an 8-5 score. In singles action USC picked up 4 1st sets while Kentucky managed 2 but unfortunately for Kentucky the Trojans were able to convert 3 of those into straight set wins with Roberto Quiroz, Yannick Hanfmann, and Max De Vroome taking care of business at 3, 4, and 5. Kentucky was able to get on the board with Anthony Rossi knocking off Ray Sarmiento at 1 by a score of 6-3 6-4. On the 2 remaining courts USC held a lead at the time of the clinch.
#4 Ohio State defeated #5 Pepperdine 4-0
– The showdown that we expected never materialized because it was all Buckeyes from the get go. The Buckeye tandem of Blaz Rola and Kevin Metka cruised to an 8-0 win at #3 doubles and Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen got it done at #2 doubles winning 8-4. Ohio State took all 6 1st sets and Connor Smith, Chris Diaz, and Hunter Callahan won in straight sets at 4, 5, and 6 singles with Callahan providing the clincher. It was a dominating performance all around by Ohio State.
#1 Virginia defeated #9 Duke 4-0
- This was a match that was closer than what the final score indicated. Virginia won a hard fought doubles point with the tandem of Jarmere Jenkins and Mac Styslinger winning the deciding match at #1 doubles by an 8-6 score. In singles action Duke was without the services of its #1 singles player Henrique Cunha so everyone had to shift up one spot in the lineup. Virginia picked up 4 1st sets with Duke getting the other 2. Alex Domijan was the first to finish with a 6-3 6-1 win over Michael Redlicki at 2 but it’d be a while before the next match concluded because 4 of the other courts went to a 3rd set. Justin Shane would put Virginia up 3-0 with a 6-1 3-6 6-1 win over Bruno Semenzato at 6 and seconds later Jarmere Jenkins provided the clincher at 1 with a 6-2 2-6 6-3 victory over Fred Saba. At the time of the clinch Duke’s Raphael Hemmeler was up a break in the 3rd at 4, UVA’s Ryan Shane was up a break in the 3rd at 5, and UVA’s Mitchell Frank was up a set and on serve at 3.
vs. #3 UCLA
– The Battle for LA should be a good one with these 2 teams very familiar with each other. USC won the last meeting by a 4-1 margin in the semifinals of last year’s NCAA Tournament. I look for USC to claim the doubles point and pick up wins from Ray Sarmiento, Roberto Quiroz, and Yannick Hanfmann while Marcos Giron and Clay Thompson pick up wins for UCLA. Prediction: USC 4-2
vs. #4 Ohio State
– This is a rematch of last year’s NTI semifinals and in that clash it was Ohio State that got the 4-1 upset. I think we’ll have another good match this year and I look for Ohio State to take the doubles point and pick up singles wins from Blaz Rola and Chris Diaz but I see Virginia getting the other 4 courts to advance to the finals. Prediction: Virginia 4-3