FLUSHING, N.Y. – Semifinal Saturday at the 2015 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., featured groundbreaking moments in the broadcasting of college tennis.
With ESPN3 and WatchESPN carrying the men’s and women’s singles semifinals live, mid-match interviews with players and coaches took place for the first time.
Sunday’s men’s and women’s singles finals will be broadcast by ESPN3 and WatchESPN, available at WatchESPN.com. The NIIC broadcast will feature Patrick McEnroe and Stephen Amritraj as the on-air talent. Finals coverage gets underway at 10 a.m. ET.
To view updated draws, live scoring and the USTA’s live chat from the 2015 NIIC, visit the ITA Championship Central page http://www.itatennis.com/Events/USTA-ITA-Championships-Events/NationalIndoors.htm. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter by following @ITATennis and using the #NIIC hashtag.
Women’s singles semifinals kicked off Saturday’s ESPN3 telecast, with Clemson’s Joana Eidukonyte and Florida’s Belinda Woolcock engaging in a three-set affair that saw the Tigers’ Eidukonyte outlast the No. 7 seed Woolcock 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
“I was definitely nervous at the beginning of the match,” said Eidukonyte. “My coach was trying to calm me down, because I was really nervous. I knew (Woolcock) and that she’s a great player and that it was going to be a tough match. I over-played a little bit, because I wanted to play better, but I came through in the end.”
A day following the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, Eidukonyte was quick to acknowledge that her teammate, Jenny Moinard, is from France and that the entire Tigers team were thinking of all of those affected by Friday’s events.
“It’s really sad news what happened yesterday in Paris,” said Eidukonyte. “We were keeping up with the news the whole time, because our teammate (Moinard) is from France and her family is all there. So, it makes it hard to be happy about the match, because what happened yesterday is very sad.”
Facing Eidukonyte in Sunday’s final is Ohio State’s Francesca Di Lorenzo. The Buckeye freshman defeated No. 8 seed Stephanie Wagner of Miami (FL) in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
“I think the difference in the match was my aggressiveness,” said Di Lorenzo. “I know (Wagner) likes to be an aggressive players, especially with the backhand, so I was trying to keep the ball deep and out of her strike zone. I think that was the biggest thing for me.”
Di Lorenzo was proud to take part in Saturday’s historic broadcast.
“It’s very cool,” she said. “I’ve never been on ESPN, so that was a cool experience and I’m excited for (Sunday) to represent my school again and hopefully it goes my way.”
In the men’s singles semifinals, Cal’s Andre Goransson outlasted Georgia Tech’s Chris Eubanks in a three-set match that featured two of the bigger serves in the tournament. Goransson won the first set 7-5, dropped the second 1-6 and claimed three of the match’s final four games to earn the third and final set 7-5.
“(Eubanks) has a really big game, so at first I was just trying to be aware that when I get opportunities, I need to take advantage of them, because there aren’t going to be many,” said Goransson. “In the first set, I got some opportunities in the last two games and took advantage of them. In the second set, he came out strong and I didn’t make as many first serves and that gave him more chances to come in. In the third set, I was able to break back quickly and ended the match on a break.”
Goransson will face Dominik Koepfer of Tulane in the final. Koepfer, the No. 3 seed, is playing in his second straight ITA national championship match, having reached the final of the 2015 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championship in October. Goransson and Koepfer squared off at the ITA Men’s All-American, with the Green Wave senior emerging victorious in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
Koepfer defeated Virginia Tech’s Joao Monteiro 6-4, 6-4 in the NIIC semifinals on Saturday. He’s hoping to use the experience of Tulsa in Sunday’s match.
“I got a little unlucky in Tulsa the first couple of games with the deuce points, but I was also nervous my first time being in a (national) final,” said Koepfer. “I’m going to try and change that up and come out fired up and go for my shots no matter what.”
The doubles finals are also set for Sunday. On the men’s side, Texas Tech’s Hugo Dojas and Felipe Soares slipped past New Mexico’s Bart Van Leijsen and Hayden Sabatka in a three-set thriller 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (9). The Red Raiders will face the No. 2 seed out of North Carolina, Brett Clark and Robert Kelly, who defeated Notre Dame’s Quentin Monaghan and Alex Lawson 7-6 (3), 4-6, 1-0 (6).
North Carolina will also be represented in the women’s doubles final. Fourth-seeded Hayley Carter and Whitney Kay bested Dartmouth’s Kristina Mathis and Taylor Ng 6-4, 6-4. Kentucky’s third-seeded team of Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi defeated top-seeded Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr of Cal 6-4, 6-2.
The men’s doubles consolation championship went to Georgia’s Ben Wagland and Austin Smith. The Bulldogs defeated Virginia’s Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Mac Styslinger 6-4, 6-4 in the semis and Columbia’s Michal Rolski and Mike Vermeer 6-3, 1-6, 1-0 (6) in the final.
Sunday will see the consolation women’s doubles, men’s singles and women’s singles draw to a close. In women’s doubles final, Taylor Davidson and Caroline Doyle of Stanford will face Ohio State’s Miho Kowase and Anna Sanford. Florida State’s Benjamin Lock takes on Dartmouth’s Dovydas Sakinis in the men’s singles consolation final and in the women’s singles consolation final, Cal’s Klara Fabikova will play Michigan’s Brienne Minor.
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