FLUSHING, NY – The indoor courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center suit Ohio State’s Mikael Torpegaard just fine.
Through three matches, the top-ranked and top-seeded junior has dropped just 10 games on his way to the semifinals at the 2016 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. While he’s apparently breezed through the competition thus far, Torpegaard insists the wins haven’t come as easy as they’ve appeared.
“Each match is a battle,” said Torpegaard, who defeated Virginia’s J.C. Aragone 6-3, 6-0 and UCLA’s Gage Brymer 6-1, 6-2 on Friday in the Round of 16 and quarterfinals, respectively. “I feel like I’ve had a couple of good matches and have worked my way into the tournament. The no-ad points have gone my way and that’s probably why the score probably looks a lot easier than the actual matches were.”
Torpegaard has had to adjust to what he described as a slower playing surface at the National Tennis Center, but still feels very comfortable playing indoors.
“I’m an indoor player. I try to play first-strike tennis and take the initiative in all points and I feel like my game has adapted really well to these courts now and I feel great on them going into these future matches.”
Playing as the No. 1 seed in a tournament brings its share of pressure, but Torpegaard credits his experience from this past spring when he was the nation’s top-ranked player for being able to accept and handle that extra weight of expectation placed upon him.
“Every time (opponents) came into our home building in Columbus, they were trying to take my ranking, so I got a little more used to it,” said Torpegaard. “Of course, you can’t get completely used to that sort of thing, but I don’t think about (the pressure) too much. I try to take it one match at a time and try to focus on every point.”
In the semifinals, Torpegaard will take on Mississippi State’s Nuno Borges, the No. 4 seed in the tournament. The other semifinal pits Michael Redlicki of Arkansas against Chris Eubanks of Georgia Tech.
If you’re going to come to New York City, best to make your first experience in the city that never sleeps a memorable one.
That’s just what at-large selection Meibel Chi is doing.
The Duke freshman was an at-large selection to compete at the National Indoors, and thanks to wins over No. 3 seed Luisa Stefani of Pepperdine in the Round of 16 and Josie Kuhlman of Florida in the quarterfinals, Chi is just two victories away from an ITA National Championship.
“I’ve never been to New York City and I wasn’t sure I could even get into this tournament, so every day has been a lot of fun,” said Chi.
Chi will face defending National Indoors women’s singles champion and top-seeded Francesca Di Lorenzo of Ohio State in one semifinal, with No. 4 Hayley Carter of North Carolina facing No. 5 Astra Sharma of Vanderbilt in the other matchup. Sharma is the first player from Vanderbilt to reach the National Indoors semifinals.
DAY TWO NOTES
-The women’s doubles semifinal matchups are set. Kentucky’s Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi take on Syracuse’s Gabriela Knutson and Valeria Salazar, and UCLA’s Ena Shibahara and Jada Hart face Oklahoma State’s Vladica Babic and Carla Tur Mari.
-The men’s doubles semifinal matchups feature Jathan Malik and Kevin Wong of Michigan take on Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim, the No. 2 seed out of Wake Forest. The other matchup pits Jeffrey Schorsch and Charlie Emhardt of Valparaiso will play Columbia’s Richard Pham and Victor Pham.
-The women’s semifinals feature a freshman (Chi, Duke), a sophomore (Di Lorenzo, Ohio State), a junior (Sharma, Vanderbilt) and a senior (Carter, North Carolina).
-The men’s semifinals have one sophomore (Borges, Mississippi State), two juniors (Eubanks, Georgia Tech and Torpegaard, Ohio State) and one senior (Redlicki, Arkansas).
-The women’s singles Round of 16 saw the No. 2 seed (Ena Shibahara, UCLA) and No. 3 seed (Luisa Stefani, Pepperdine), fall. Baylor’s Blair Shankle took down the Oracle ITA Masters champion Shibahara 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, while Duke’s Meible Chi scored a 7-6 (3), 7-6 (13) decision over Stefani.
-In the men’s singles Round of 16, Georgia’s Wayne Montgomery continued his strong run through the tournament with a three-set victory over No. 2 seed Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of Virginia 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. Wake Forest’s Skander Mansouri topped No. 8 Arthur Rinderknech of Texas A&M in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
The USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, which runs Nov. 3-6, is the fourth national championship of the 2016-17 ITA National Tournament calendar. Earlier this fall, national champions were crowned at the Men’s and Women’s All-American Championships, the Oracle ITA Masters and ITA Oracle Cup.
FloTennis is providing exclusive live streaming coverage of the entire 2016 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, with at least one camera positioned on all nine competition courts. A subscription-based company, FloTennis offers its users monthly and annual rate payment options. For more information and to view the live stream, click on this link.
Live scoring is also be available for the entire tournament, which along with updated draws, daily recaps, photo gallery links and other tournament information, can be viewed on the official ITA event page here. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter by following @ITA_Tennis and using the hashtag #NationalIndoors.
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