While most of the tennis world is focused on the Australian Open, in college tennis over in the United States, the ITA Kick-Off Weekend took place from Friday through Sunday, with plenty of top British players in action and making a big difference to the results of several ties.
To help you better understand the scoring system, here’s a quick guide to how it works. For more information, see this website.
- Team matches start with 3 doubles, followed by 6 singles (3-6 format).
- Doubles matches are played one set to 6
- Singles matches are played 2 out of 3 sets
- 7 total team points to be won
There were 15 different regionals this week with 4 teams in each regional, playing in a knock-out format. The team that won both matches qualifies for the 16-team National Indoor Championships in February. For brevity, our round-up will be focusing on the final round matches – i.e., the ones that decided which team would be heading to the Nationals.
In the biggest result of the weekend, the University of San Diego defeated Duke University, with Britain’s Joshua Page clinching the tie with victory over Duke’s Josh Levine. Jordan Angus, who is currently ranked #34 in Singles and #7 in Doubles, helped San Diego claim the doubles points after he and his partner Filip Vittek won their doubles set. Angus went on to play at position 2 in singles, but Page’s 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory over Levine meant Angus’ match became a dead rubber and remained unfinished. The result means San Diego progress to the National Indoor Championships for the first time in their history.
Two Brits went head-to-head in the match between Texas Christian University and Oklahoma State. Cameron Norrie and Julian Cash study at the respective institutes and faced off in the #1 doubles slot with their partners, but two quick wins at positions 2 and 3 for Oklahoma State meant the tie was suspended at 4-4. However, in the singles, Norrie was the first to finish to level the tie at 1-1 after defeating Temur Ismailov 6-1 6-2 at position #1, while Cash also won his singles match at position #3 after a real tussle, winning 7-6(4) 6-7(4) 6-4. In the end it was TCU who took the victory and advanced to the Nationals.
Ryan Peniston came away from the weekend’s action as the standout performer for the University of Memphis. In their tussle with Georgia, Peniston won both his doubles rubber (at position #1) and his singles match (at position #2) despite Memphis ultimately losing 4-1. Peniston was up against #20 Wayne Montgomery in his singles match and came away with an impressive 6-4 7-6(10) victory. It was a less impressive weekend for fellow Brits Andrew Watson and Shakeel Manji. Watson, playing singles at the #1 position, lost a tight encounter with Austin Smith 5-7 7-6 7-5, while the pair combined to lose in the #3 doubles slot as well.
In Jacksonville, Florida, Jack Findel-Hawkins won two singles matches in one day after a downpour threatened much of the action, but his institution, the University of North Florida, were unable to overcome their final round opponents, Alabama, in the decisive tie. Findel-Hawkins, playing singles at the #1 slot, defeated ITA-ranked #106 Korey Lovett from Alabama but was unable to prevent an eventual 4-2 defeat at the hands of their opponents. In other news, Findel-Hawkins was named Conference Player of the Week after an impressive opening week last week.
There were few Women involved in final-round matches.
For more information, including full round-ups of each tie, keep checking the College Tennis Today website.