TULSA, Okla. – Everyone expects big matches to be spectacles; to live up to the hype. It is safe to say that the semifinal match between North Carolina’s William Blumberg and Ohio State’s Mikael Torpegaard on day four of the 2017 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championship was one to remember.
Blumberg, the No. 3 seed, showed early he wasn’t afraid of top-seeded Torpegaard. Despite having played a combined three matches on Saturday, Blumberg came out Sunday ready for battle, trading games with Torpegaard in the first set, forcing a tiebreak. Blumberg went on to win the tie break 7-3.
The second set started just like the first, as neither Blumberg nor Torpegaard were able to gain any momentum. The crowd once again found themselves witnessing another nail-biting tiebreak. Torpegaard found success early in the deciding game, putting Blumberg on his heels. Torpegaard gave Blumberg a taste of his own medicine, winning the tiebreak 7-3.
Blumberg came out in the third set reinvigorated, leaping out to a quick 3-0 lead. Torpegaard pulled it together, winning three of the next five games. Blumberg hit a short drop shot in the final game to complete the upset 6-3.
“I have a lot of respect for [Torpegaard] as a player and a person,” said Blumberg. “I knew I had to take care of my serve. We had three matches yesterday so I was a little tired. I stayed mentally solid and my body felt great.”
The other semifinal of the day carried less drama. Martin Redlicki of UCLA faced tough competition in Oregon’s Thomas Laurent, and found himself on the losing end of the first few games. Redlicki’s game plan stayed consistent though, and it served him well enough to come back and pull out the first set 6-4.
Redlicki maintained the mental edge in the second set, securing his spot in the finals after cruising to a 6-3 victory.
“I just told myself to stay steady and keep your mind,” said Redlicki. “Just keep working on your game and executing your game. I think I did a good job of that today. He slowed down a little bit and I took advantage.”
“I think overall [Martin’s] had a great week of tennis,” said UCLA Men’s Tennis Associate Head Coach Grant Chen. “I think everything’s really starting to come together. He got down early in both sets, but he didn’t panic. He just continued his game plan. He had his opportunities down the road and converted. He’s become so much more consistent and it showed. Obviously this is one of the toughest tournaments to play given the size of the event. For anybody to make a deep run at this event you have to be super rock solid.”
In the first doubles semifinal, Florida Men’s Tennis Head Coach Bryan Shelton just watched as his fifth-seeded doubles squad of Johannes Ingildsen and Alfredo Perez faced their teammates from the qualifying draw, McClain Kessler and Duarte Vale. The match was hard fought, going to a tie break in both sets. Ingildsen and Perez proved to the have the edge, however, edging their teammates 7-6(3), 7-6(6).
“I was really proud of they handled themselves,” said Shelton. “I felt like all four of our guys really competed hard. It’s what you want to see. I think it’s something that all four of them can learn from.”
Blumberg must prepare to play two matches on Monday as he attempts to be just the fifth player in ITA Men’s All-American history to win both the singles and doubles main draw. Blumberg and his partner Robert Kelly of North Carolina faced the Baylor squad of Will Little and Johannes Schretter in the semifinals. Blumberg, still feeling the high from taking down Torpegaard, shared that momentum with his teammate to take down the Baylor duo, 6-4, 6-2.
The consolation doubles draw found its champion on Sunday, as Florida State’s Jose Gracia and Lucas Poullain stroked their way to victory over Louisville’s Christopher Kougoucheff and Parker Wynn 6-3, 6-1.
The final of the consolation singles draw is set for Monday between Texas A&M’s Valentine Vacherot and Florida’s Johannes Ingildsen. Vacherot defeated Georgia’s Nathan Ponwith 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to advance while Ingildsen took down Kyle Seelig of Ohio State 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals.
The Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships event page will include draw updates, links to scoring updates, live streaming and photo galleries, in addition to daily main draw recaps. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter by following @ITA_Tennis and using the hashtag #TulsaITA.
This marks the 13th straight year that the University of Tulsa serves as the official tournament host, and all of the main draw action takes place on the courts of the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.
Singles quarterfinalists, doubles semifinalists and consolation finalists (singles and doubles) will receive an automatic entry into the 2017 Oracle ITA National Fall Championships on Nov. 1-5, held at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, California, and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California.