MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – Legend has it that back in the old Boston Garden, members of the Boston Celtics knew exactly how the basketball wound bounce on every piece of the famed parquet floor.
Using that knowledge to their advantage, the Celtics would strategize how to steer opposing players to parts of the court where the ball would bounce oddly, likely to result in a turnover and an easy fast break opportunity for the home team.
Tennis is obviously not basketball, but Felix Corwin can likely at least relate to the idea of knowing how one’s home surface plays.
Corwin, who grew up in Elm Grove, Wisconsin, spent the last two days playing in front of friends and family at Western Racquet Club, where his dad Timon, an ITA Hall of Famer, works as the Managing Director of Tennis. The University of Minnesota senior was the No. 2 seed in the men’s singles draw for the 42nd annual Milwaukee Tennis Classic, and, following a pair of victories on Saturday, is headed to Sunday’s championship match with a wildcard spot in the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships, held November 1-5, 2017, in Palm Desert, California, on the line.
“I love these courts; they might’ve helped me a little bit,” said Felix Corwin, who topped Michigan State’s Brett Forman 6-7, 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals and Arkansas’s Josh Howard-Tripp 7-6, 6-3 in the semifinals. “This is the first college tournament I’ve played here, so just having the members from the club cheering me on has been really cool.”
Corwin, who also advanced to the men’s doubles final with teammate Jackson Allen, did note that while having the extra support at his matches was nice, it did add a layer of pressure that he had to adjust to.
“Everyone wants to see me do well; I just had to stay in my own mind and know that I’m playing for myself and not necessarily other people.”
In the men’s singles final, Corwin will square off against Mitch Harper of Virginia Tech. Harper, the No. 4 seed, earned his spot in the championship match with a three-set victory over Corwin’s Minnesota teammate Stefan Milicevic 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals. Corwin and Allen will take on Jacob Nicolussi and Michael Weindl of Old Dominion in the doubles final.
The women’s final is an all-ACC affair, with top-seeded and eighth-ranked Sinead Lohan of Miami taking on No. 4 seed Miranda Ramirez of Syracuse. The women’s doubles final is a No. 1 versus No. 2 seeded contest, with top-seeded Mia Jurasic and Ana Oparenovic of Arkansas taking on second-seeded Tamuna Kutubidze and Maria Kononova of North Texas.
All of Sunday's championship matches will take place inside UWM's 10,000-seat Panther Arena.
Men’s Singles – Semifinals
No. 4 Mitch Harper (Virginia Tech) def. Stefan Milicevic (Minnesota) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
No. 2 Felix Corwin (Minnesota) def. No. 8 Josh Howard-Tripp (Arkansas) 7-6, 6-3
Men’s Singles – Quarterfinals
Stefan Milicevic (Minnesota) def. No. 1 Josh Silverstein (Iowa) 7-5, 6-0
No. 4 Mitch Harper (Virginia Tech) def. Jose Salazar (Arkansas) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
No. 8 Josh Howard-Tripp (Arkansas) def. Aziz Kijametovic (Old Dominion) 5-7, 6-3, 7-5
No. 2 Felix Corwin (Minnesota) def. Brett Forman (Michigan State) 6-4, 7-5
Women’s Singles – Semifinals
No. 1 Sinead Lohan (Miami) def. No. 6 Leolia Jeanjean 6-2, 7-6
No. 4 Miranda Ramirez (Syracuse) def. No. 7 Yufei Long (Iowa) 7-6, 6-4
Women’s Singles – Quarterfinals
No. 1 Sinead Lohan (Miami) def. No. 5 Stefana Andrei (Louisiana Monroe) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
No. 6 Leolia Jeanjean (Arkansas) def. Alexis Keberle (Wisconsin) 6-2, 7-5
No. 4 Miranda Ramirez (Syracuse) def. No. 8 Mia Jurasic (Arkansas) 7-6, 4-6, 6-3
No. 7 Yufei Long (Iowa) def. No. 2 Ana Oparenovic (Arkansas) 7-5, 4-6, 7-5
Men’s Doubles - Semifinals
No. 3 Corwin/Allen (Minnesota) def. Erhart/Bednarczyk (Nebraska) 9-7
Nicolussi/Weindel (Old Dominion) def. Allaf/Silverstein (Iowa) 8-6
Women’s Doubles - Semifinals
No. 1 Jurasic/Oparenovic (Arkansas) def. Popovic/Eggink (Marquette) 8-5
No. 2 Kononova/Kutubidze (North Texas) def. No. 3 Long/Huckleby (Iowa) 8-4