MOBILE, AL - Day one is complete at the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, AL. A total of 80 matches were played today in NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College including a round of men's and women's singles, one round of women's doubles and two rounds of men's doubles.
Today, for the most part, was a great day to be a seeded player in the Division II field as seven of eight singles seeds advanced. Three of the top four seeded women made it through to the semifinals, including the top seed and defending divisional champion Annie Hwang of BYU-Hawaii, who posted a 6-1, 6-4 victory over NYIT's Nelly Ciolkowski. Third seeded Barbora Krtickova of Armstrong needed three sets to make it through after giving up the first set to California PA's Alexandra Borgenhoff. She eventually rallied in the next two sets, taking 12 of 13 games to win 2-6, 6-1, 6-0. The only upset on the day was Florida Tech's Kristina Huba who knocked off No. 4 Fanni Varga of Southwest Baptist in straight sets 6-2, 6-4. In doubles action, the top four seeds won their opening round matches.
On the men's side, all of the top four singles seeds cruised to straight set wins in their opening matches. The same held true in doubles action as none of the top four seeded teams dropped a single set en route to the semifinals. In the semis, the top seeded tandem of Georgi Rumenov and Daniel Regan had to fight their way into the divisional title match as they scraped together a 6-0, 3-6, 10-8 win. They will take on No. 3 Marco Mokrzycki and Fabian Groetseh of Barry, who knocked off No.2 Abilene Christian in straight sets.
In Division III play, the top seeded women's players in both draws found mostly success in their first round matches. All four seeds in the singles draw posted wins in the opening round. The top two seeds produced straight set wins while No. 3 Brittni Fauseet of Mary-Hardin Baylor and No. 4 seed Meghan Buell of Washington & Lee needed three sets to advance to the semifinals. In doubles action, three of the top four seeds advanced with the the only upset coming from Washington & Lee's duo of Meghan Buell and Claire Cahill, who, took down the third seed from UC Santa Cruz, 5-7, 6-4, 10-8.
On the men's side, several upsets left both draws wide open for the taking. Trinity's Aaron Skinner provided the day's biggest upset as he shocked top seeded Adam Putterman of Washington of St. Louis in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4. Skinner will look to defeat another seeded player tomorrow as he takes on fourth seeded Andy Hersh of Johns Hopkins. The other upset in the men's singles draw came in the form of Robert Kjellberg outlasting Skidmore's Oliver Loutsenko in three sets, 2-6, 7-5, 6-2. Similar to the singles draw, the top seeded doubles team of Byron Balkin and Mirch Osborne of Wisconsin-Whitewater bowed out early as Tanner Brown and Erik Lim of Johns Hopkins provided the upset with a 7-5, 6-4 win. However, tomorrow's divisional final will feature Whitman's James Rivers and Andrew La Cava against Matt Micheli and Trey Meyer of Williams. Both teams made their way to the divisional final by surviving a three set super tiebreaker in the semis.
Moving to NAIA, all four seeded singles players in the women's draw made it through to the semifinals in straight sets with the exception of Cumberlands' Neesha Thirumalaichelvan, who, after dropping the first set rallied for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 win. In fact, the only upset in both draws came as Olivet Nazarene's doubles tandem of Seraphine Buchmann and Aurelie Hascoet defeated No. 4 Nicci Yvanovich and Tara Yekrang of Westmont in straight sets, 7-6(2), 6-2.
All four singles seeds in the men's draw were just as impressive on day one as all of them advanced to the semifinals. The only scare came when No. 2 Patrick Besch of Embry-Riddle lost the first set in a breaker before rallying to win the final two sets 6-7(8), 6-1, 7-5. In the doubles draw, only the No. 4 seed failed to make it to the semifinals as Olivet Nazarene's Julian Kurz and Diego Gonsalvez provided the upset. However, the duo, would eventually fall to top seeded Patrick Besch and Simon Felix of Embry-Riddle. The duo from Embry-Riddle is set to take on No. 2 Nicolas Pinones and Tim Hewitt from Auburn Montgomery in the divisional final.
The JUCO women's singles and doubles draws saw only two seeds go down today. The top two seeds managed to get through but not without some resistance as both needed three sets to reach Friday's semifinal. Shannon Beckett of Johnson Community College recorded the lone upset by taking down No. 3 Ivanna Enchezuira of Meridian in convincing fashion, 6-3, 6-0. Doubles play worked out in similar fashion with the top three seeds winning their opening round matches. The lone upset came as Cowley's Ana Ruzin and Sarah Giraldo edged the No. 4 seed from Collin College 1-6, 6-2, 13-11.
The only division that did not witness an upset in the opening rounds came from the JUCO men as the top eight players/teams held their seeds to move into the semifinal rounds. Tendai Tapfuma of Seminole State was the only top seeded player to be pushed to a third set but after recording two breaks in the final set would go on to win 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. All four seeded doubles teams won their opening round matches in straight sets but tomorrow's divisional final will feature No. 1 Donovan McSeverey and Brady Bohrenstedt of Collin College against Wikus Myburgh and Tendai Tapfuma of Seminole State.
In between today's matches, several collegiate players and coaches volunteered an hour of their time to help out with a 10 & Under Tennis Kids' Day event hosted by the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center. Well over 100 elementary students participated in the event in which college players and coaches helped introduce and further promote the sport of tennis to the local community.
Play resumes tomorrow in Mobile at 8:30 a.m. CDT with the semifinals of women's singles which will be followed by the men's singles semifinals at 10:30 a.m.
For complete coverage of the 2012 USTA/ITA National Small College Championships, including access to updated draws, please visit ITAtennis.com. Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis, for updates and news from Mobile. Use the hashtag #SmallCollegeNationals for all tweets in regards to the event, or search the term "SmallCollegeNationals" to find others who are tweeting about the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships, Oct. 11 to Oct. 14.
-Don Sherman, ITA