Pac-10 Tennis Pulls Off Upsets In NCAA Quarterfinals
May 17, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Play continued Sunday at the 2009 NCAA Tennis Championships at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas. The Pac-10 men came through with two upsets in the quarterfinals as USC upset No. 1 Virginia and UCLA took out No. 2 Mississippi. The California women's team followed suit with an upset of its own, edging top-ranked Northwestern, 4-2.
The USC men's team refused to allow delays, rains, wind and an undefeated Virginia team shake its focus on an NCAA Quarterfinal victory, as the No. 8 Trojans shocked the top-seeded Cavaliers with a 4-0 sweep in College Station. USC's winning effort began on Saturday, but the finishing touches came on Sunday thanks to a singles surge by the Trojans that was capped by a three-set clincher from senior Abdullah Magdas. USC now takes a 23-5 overall record into the NCAA Semifinals against No. 12 Texas at 1 p.m. CT on Monday, May 18 in College Station, Texas.
USC advances to the NCAA semifinals for the first time since 2004. The last time the top seed was knocked out of the team championship in the quarterfinals was top-seeded Stanford versus eighth-seeded Tennessee in 2001 in Athens, Ga. Ironically, the last lowest seed to beat the No. 1 favorite was 11th-seeded USC in the finals against top-seeded Georgia in the 2002 Championship held in College Station. The Trojans were the first team to defeat top-seeded and undefeated Virginia this season.
UCLA (21-4) also advances to the semifinals after taking out second-seeded Mississippi, 4-3, Sunday and will face No. 3 Ohio State (35-1) on Monday at 1:00 p.m. CT. The Buckeyes defeated Baylor, 4-1 earlier in the day.
With Sunday's dual match tied at 3-3, sophomore Nick Meister fended off Mississippi freshman Marcel Thiemann, 3-6, 7-5(5), 6-4 at court No. 6 to seal the victory for the Bruins. Meister, who had lost the first set and at one point was on the verge of going down 6-5 in the second set, pulled out the set in a tiebreaker. Both players held serve early on in the third, although Meister continued to chip away at Thiemann's service games, owning multiple break points in nearly every game. He finally converted a break in the seventh game to go up 4-3, although Thiemann broke him right back for 4-4. After breaking again for a 5-4 lead, Meister was able to serve out the match, winning that last game at love.
In what turned out to be equally as important as Meister's come-from-behind singles win, UCLA's doubles play was key on Sunday, as the Bruins pulled out the point following a huge upset at court No. 1. After Matt Brooklyn and Holden Seguso earned the Bruins' first win with an 8-6 decision at court No. 6, Haythem Abid and Meister clinched the point by knocking off the nation's top-ranked doubles team of Jonas Berg/Bram ten Berge, 8-5.
The No. 9-ranked California women's tennis team (21-4) claimed their 10th consecutive victory in a stunning 4-2 win over top-ranked and top-seeded Northwestern (28-2) today in the quarterfinals. The Golden Bears will return to the NCAA semifinal for the third consecutive year to face No. 5 Notre Dame (28-4) in a 4 p.m. CT match Monday, May 18.
Northwestern opened up the day with the first doubles win as Elena Chernyakova and Samantha Murray put away an 8-4 win against senior Bojana Bobusic and freshman Stephany Chang at court three. The Bears responded in kind as No. 7-ranked sophomore Mari Andersson and freshman Jana Juricova took out the 24th-ranked duo of Lauren Lui and Rose at the top court, 8-6. In as dramatic a finish as possible, No. 35-ranked senior Claire Ilcinkas and Marina Cossou pulled off the 7-5 tiebreaker win at No. 2 doubles over the 29th-ranked team of Maria Mosolova and Keri Robison. The two teams traded punches straight through the tiebreaker until the Bears went up 6-5 after breaking the Wildcat serve. Ilcinkas poached a shot from Mosolova and slammed it to the court to seal the doubles point for Cal
In one of the longest matches of the year, Cal fought off a hard charge by the Wildcats to notch just the second loss on the Northwestern schedule. No. 26-ranked Cossou sealed the victory for the Bears when she completed a come-from-behind win over No. 20 Georgia Rose, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, at the second court.