By Bobby Knight. Pictured Virginia's Jarmere Jenkins
We are down to the Final 4 after 4 sensational matches yesterday in the Quarterfinals. In the 2 opening matches of the day Virginia and Georgia advanced though Georgia had a much tougher go of it. The Bulldogs dropped the doubles point by getting blown out at 2 and 3 and then fell behind in singles early on but managed to turn the tide to pull out a 4-2 victory. Virginia didn’t have as much trouble as they cruised to a 4-0 win though Tennessee did push the Cavs on a few courts. In the 2 late matches, UCLA shutout Duke 4-0 in a match that was much closer the final score. Duke was up a set at 2, 4, and 5 but UCLA was able to get straight set wins from Dennis Novikov and Karue Sell at 1 and 6 and Adrien Puget clinched the match with a 3 set win at 4. In the other contest between Ohio State and USC all 6 singles matches were straight setters after having 2 of the double matches go to a tiebreak. USC had a set point on serve in the tiebreak at 2 but Emilio Gomez was unable to handle a tough overhead and Ohio State was able to clinch a few points later. In singles play Ohio State got wins from Blaz Rola, Peter Kobelt, and Devin McCarthy at 1, 2, and 4 while USC picked up wins from Yannick Hanfmann, Eric Johnson, and Max De Vroome at 3, 5, and 6.
Let’s look ahead to Monday Semifinal matches that have 4 of the top programs of the last decade butting heads. Live scoring and Live Streaming Video of each match will be provided at the Host Site
NCAA Men's Bracket PDF
| NCAA Women's Bracket PDF
(2) vs. Georgia
(3) – 1pm CST – These 2 were on course to meet last year in the NCAA Semifinals but Pepperdine got in Georgia’s way; however a year later the Bulldogs have cleared the Pepperdine obstacle and here we are. If Virginia takes the doubles point I don’t see anyway they lose 4 singles matches so for Georgia to stay in this one they have to take the doubles point and put the pressure on Virginia to perform in singles. After a poor showing in doubles against Pepperdine, Georgia will have to turn it around quickly. There aren’t any courts where I’d consider Georgia a favorite so the Bulldogs will have to pull off a string of upsets if they want to pull it out. The only question mark in the lineup will be whether Brian Boland puts Ryan Shane in at 4 or pulls him and puts Styslinger in at 4 and Justin Shane at 5. He has used both lineups this week though both Shane’s were down in their respective matches when the Hoos clinched.
- Jarmere Jenkins vs. Ben Wagland – Jenkins was trailing Mikelis Libietis when the Vol went down with an injury which resulted in him retiring in the 3rd while Wagland was on serve in the 3rd against Sebastian Fanselow. A month ago I would have said Jenkins would win this in a rout but Wagland continues to impress since stepping up to 1 and I think he’ll give Jenkins all he wants and more. Prediction: DNF in the 3rd set
- Alex Domijan vs. Nathan Pasha – Domijan handled Hunter Reese 6-2 6-3 while Pasha came from a set down to beat Alex Sarkissian 2-6 7-5 6-2. Pasha has been playing well lately but it would take a career best performance to beat Domijan. I think Pasha hangs in there but Domijan pulls away in the 3rd set. Prediction: Domijan (UVA) in 3
- Mitchell Frank vs. Austin Smith – Frank led Brandon Fickey 6-3 5-5 when play was halted while Smith rebound from a 6-1 6-1 loss to Axel Llamas by drilling Finn Tearney 6-2 6-0. If Austin plays like he did against Tearney he has a shot but Frank is one of the best in college tennis and is just too good. Prediction: Frank (UVA) in 2.
- Ryan Shane vs. Hernus Pieters – Ryan Shane was trailing Jarryd Chaplin 6-4 3-6 4-2 when the match was halted while Pieters lost a 3-set break-fest to Francis Alcantara in match where Pieters served for it in the 2nd set. This is the one court where I’d make Georgia a favorite IF Ryan Shane is on the other side of the net from Pieters. The reason I say that is because Ryan Shane has seen so little action in the later stages of the season. If Styslinger is up at 4 it’s more of an even match that would likely go 3 sets. Prediction: DNF with Pieters (UGA) up a set
- Mac Styslinger vs. Garrett Brasseaux – Styslinger knocked off John Collins 6-4 6-4 while Brasseaux clinched the match for Georgia for the 2nd time in a row with a 6-4 4-6 6-4 win over Mousheg Hovhannisyan. If Styslinger stays in at the 5 spot he’ll take this one in straight sets. If Justin Shane is in this slot then I see it going 3 and probably going unfinished. Prediction: Styslinger (UVA) in 2 or DNF in 3.
- Julen Uriguen vs. Marco Nunez – Uriguen was up against Ed Jones 7-5 5-5 but it wasn’t the type of match that we’ve got used to seeing Uriguen playing (ie a blowout win). Nunez came from behind to beat a game and late-cramping David Sofaer 1-6 6-3 7-6 but this will be by far his biggest test of his young career. Nunez will be playing with nothing to lose but in the end that’s just what will happen. Prediction: Uriguen (UVA) in 2
Prediction: Virginia 4-1
(1) vs. Ohio State
(5) – 1pm CST – Ty Tucker’s Ohio State team took out one Southern California team yesterday in USC but Billy Martin will have his UCLA team ready for the Buckeyes. The top ranked Bruins got off the court a good hour before Ohio State did on Saturday though all the matches in the Ohio State/USC match finished in straight sets so both teams should have plenty left in the tank. Ohio State has been tremendous in doubles over the years and I think they’ll take the point to jump out to the early 1-0 lead. In singles play:
- Dennis Novikov vs. Blaz Rola – Both guys are coming off stout wins with Novikov taking out Duke’s Henrique Cunha 6-4 6-4 and Rola dismantling USC’s Emilio Gomez 6-1 6-0. This is a match Ohio State has to have to get the win and I think Rola will pull it out in straight sets 7-5 7-5. Prediction: Rola (OSU) in 2.
- Marcos Giron vs. Peter Kobelt – Kobelt played lights out against Ray Sarmiento winning 7-6 7-6 while Giron struggled a bit against Fred Saba in a match that Giron trailed before they clinched. If Kobelt continues to serve the way he has been he is nearly unbeatable. Prediction: Kobelt (OSU) in 2.
- Adrien Puget vs. Connor Smith – Puget played a horrible 1st set against Michael Redlicki before coming back to get the win in 3 sets 1-6 6-2 6-1 while Smith was outgunned by the big hitting Yannick Hanfmann 7-5 7-6. I think Smith will hang around and push this one to a 3rd set but Puget will pull through. Prediction: Puget (UCLA) in 3.
- Dennis Mrktchian vs. Devin McCarthy – McCarthy was on fire against Roberto Quiroz and just flat out outworked him in the 7-6 6-1 win. Mrktchian let a big lead slip away against Chris Mengel in the 1st set and was down 7-6 2-1 when the match was halted. If McCarthy plays anything like he did on Saturday he’ll win easily. I think Mrktchian will play better but Devin will still come out on top and will win the deciding match to send the Buckeyes on to the finals. Prediction: McCarthy (OSU) in 3
- Clay Thompson vs. Chris Diaz – Thompson struggled against Raphael Hemmeler and trailed 7-6 4-3 while Diaz was beaten soundly by Eric Johnson 6-3 6-3. If would take Diaz playing unbelievable well and Thompson playing down a bit for Diaz to get the upset. Prediction: Thompson (UCLA) in 2.
- Karue Sell vs. Hunter Callahan – Sell welcomed the big stage with open arms and blew Jason Tahir off the court in less than an hour with a 6-0 6-2 win while Callahan was taken out by Max De Vroome 6-3 6-1. Sell is the better play and will get the win in 2. Prediction: Sell (UCLA) in 2.
Prediction: Ohio State 4-3