FLUSHING, N.Y. – Tulane’s Dominik Koepfer capped off a brilliantly-played 2015 fall college tennis season in style on Sunday at the 2015 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.
Competing at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and in front of a worldwide audience tuning in on ESPN3, Koepfer, the No. 3 seed in the tourney, tamed hard-hitting Andre Goransson of Cal in straight sets 6-1, 7-5 to earn the ITA’s third and final Division I national title of the 2015 fall season.
“It’s just awesome after making the semis in Malibu (Oracle/ITA Masters), making the finals and losing a tough one in Tulsa (Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championship), it’s just an awesome feeling that everything worked out and I’m very happy,” said the Green Wave senior.
Sunday’s final in New York showed that Koepfer did indeed learn from his prior championship experience in Tulsa, where the usually fiery left-hander was uncharacteristically low-key and never recovered from a sluggish start. Against Goransson, Koepfer was the aggressor early and breezed through the first set 6-1. Goransson resiliently battled back in the second set, but Koepfer’s game was too strong and he let out a thunderous yell and pumped his fists when he secured match point.
“I did what I had to do to give myself the best chance to win,” said Koepfer. “I went for my shots every point and started really well, which gave me a lot of confidence.”
Before the men took the court, the women’s singles final kicked off Sunday’s ESPN3 coverage. Ohio State freshman Francesca Di Lorenzo showed why she was the top-ranked freshman/newcomer in the 2015 Oracle/ITA Division I Preseason National Rankings, as she bested Clemson’s Joana Eidukonyte in straights 6-3, 6-1.
“I think (the match) went pretty well,” said Di Lorenzo. “I wasn’t hitting my backhand as well as I would’ve liked or how I had in previous matches, but I think I kept the ball moving well with my forehand, moved her well and came in when I had my opportunities.”
The Buckeye freshman, and like Koepfer a left-hander, opened the match with a break of serve and quickly consolidated for a 2-0 lead. Di Lorenzo stretched the advantage out to 4-1 before closing out the set 6-3. The second set saw more of the same as Di Lorenzo never allowed Eidukonyte to find a rhythm.
“It’s definitely an exciting way to finish out the fall; it could’ve have ended any better,” said Di Lorenzo. “I’m just happy to represent my school and this was a really cool moment.”
Champions were also crowned on Sunday in women’s and men’s doubles. The No. 4 North Carolina duo of Hayley Carter and Whitney Kay outlasted No. 3 Kentucky’s Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi in three sets 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (6). The men’s doubles final also went to the third-set tiebreak, with Texas Tech’s Felipe Soares and Hugo Dojas slipping past No. 2 North Carolina’s Brett Clark and Robert Kelly 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (7).
Florida State’s Benjamin Lock won the men’s consolation singles title with a 7-6 (4), 7-5 victory against Dartmouth’s Dovydas Sakinis. Cal’s Klara Fabikova garnered the women’s consolation title after defeating Michigan’s Brienne Minor 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. Stanford’s Taylor Davidson and Caroline Doyle beat Ohio State’s Miho Kowase and Anna Sanford for the women’s doubles consolation title.