TULSA, OK – Learning to manage expectations is an important life lesson.
Notre Dame’s Quentin Monaghan, the top seed in the singles main draw at the 2015 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships, admits he’s still working on that.
“That’s a huge lesson that I’m trying to learn,” said Monaghan, who holds the No. 5 spot in the Oracle/ITA Division I Preseason Men’s Collegiate Tennis Rankings. “Every single player here is really good. I’m sure most of the matches (Thursday) were close and my match was close. Anyone can beat anyone, so it’s just about who is the tougher guy that day. Being the one seed doesn’t matter, I just have to prove how good I am every match.”
While Monaghan may not find the solution to compartmentalizing the expectations placed upon him this week at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he proved in one match that his mental toughness should not be questioned.
After jumping out to a 5-2 lead in the opening set against Alabama’s Korey Lovett, Monaghan saw his lead and then the first set, disappear into the hands of the game Lovett, who claimed the set 7-5. Monaghan may have let the first set slip away, but he was determined to not repeat his mistakes. Monaghan won the second set 6-4 and took the final three games of the third set to clinch the match 6-3.
“He definitely raised his level and at the same time, I got a little defensive,” said Monaghan. “I didn’t go after him as much and let him back into the set. After that, I had compete harder and raise my level after he raised his level.”
In other opening round action, it seemed only fitting that Stanford’s Tom Fawcett closed out his match against Miami (FL)’s Piotr Lomacki (Fawcett won 6-4, 6-4) with an ace.
“Today, I feel I worked (the serve) into the match; it wasn’t quite there in the beginning,” said the 6-foot-6, 205-pound Cardinal sophomore. “Usually, when I’m feeling it I go for it and that’s what I did at the end of the match.”
With both sets decided by two games apiece, Fawcett’s ability to control the big points swung the content in his favor.
“A lot of deuce points went my way in the first set,” said Fawcett. “This is the first time this year I’ve been playing with the no-ad scoring rules, so I think that was huge. A couple of big serves here and there I thought made the difference.”
Georgia freshman Walker Duncan is certainly building up plenty of experience in his young collegiate career. Duncan played, and won, his third straight third set tiebreaker on Thursday, knocking off Kentucky’s William Bushamuka 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (5) in a matchup of SEC foes and two players that each advanced through the qualifying draw.
“That was my third 7-6 third set, so I’ve definitely had a few points on these courts,” said Duncan, who won three qualifying round matches to earn a spot in the main draw. “But, (Bushamuka) played qualies, too, so it didn’t give me too much of an advantage, but it was definitely nice to be comfortable out here. I was up 6-3 in the tiebreaker with two looks at forehand passes and I just told myself to stick to my game plan and I’d connect on one of them. I kept fighting and that’s what helped me the most.”
Tulsa’s Or Ram-Harel looked right at home as he made quick work of LSU’s Jordan Daigle 6-1, 6-2 in the opening round. Ram-Harel will take on Ohio State’s Chris Diaz (2-6, 7-5, 3-0 (ret.) win over Virginia Tech’s Edoardo Tessaro) the Round of 32 on Friday.
“It’s great having fans here to cheer for me and it’s something that’s always had a good impact on my tennis throughout my career,” said Ram-Harel.
The high-intensity level surrounding doubles play is infectious. Watch a match and you’ll hear teammates yelling ‘come on!’ or ‘let’s go!’ numerous times … unless you’re watching LSU’s Daigle and Boris Arias.
The soft-spoken Tigers, seeded third in the tournament, battled back from a set down to top Valparaiso’s Charlie Emhardt and Jeffrey Schorsch in a thrilling three-set affair 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (7).
“We’re pretty much a low-key team, not a rah-rah kind of team like some of these guys are,” said Daigle.
Arias and Daigle have been playing together for a year now, first teaming up last year in USTA/ITA Regional Championships, and finishing the 2014-15 season ranked No. 12 in the nation. They entered the 2015-16 Oracle/ITA Preseason Men’s National Doubles Rankings as the fourth-ranked team.
Added Arias: “That’s how we’ve been playing since we teamed up, so we really don’t want to change anything.”
Opening Round Notes:
-Six players that earned main singles draw spots from the qualifying draw won their opening round matches on Friday. Auburn’s Marko Krickovic, San Diego’s Jordan Angus, Northwestern’s Konrad Zieba, Ohio State’s Hugo di Feo, USC’s Max de Vroome and Georgia’s Smith are all now 4-0 for the tournament.
-In doubles, Ohio State’s Herkko Pollanen/Mikael Torpegaard took down No. 4 Skander Mansouri/Christian Seraphim of Wake Forest 7-5, 6-4.
-Four qualifying doubles teams, Ohio State’s Pollanen/Torpegaard, New Mexico’s Hayden Sabatka/Bart Van Leijsen, SMU’s Nate Lammons/Arkadijs Slobodkins and Tulane’s Chi Shan Jao/Dominik Koepfer are headed to the Round of 16 following straight set victories in the opening round.
-Denver’s Diogo Rocha upset No. 5 seed Romain Bogaerts of Wake Forest in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. Bogaerts was the only player seeded in the top eight to drop his opening round contest.
-California, Denver, Georgia, Ohio State, San Diego, Texas A&M, USC all have two singles players remaining in the draw. Florida and Ohio State each have a pair of doubles teams alive in the draw.
-Round of 32 singles matches and Round of 16 doubles take place on Friday, in addition to opening round consolation matches in each draw. Championship matches for both singles and doubles scheduled for Monday, Oct. 12.
The 2015 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships is the second national championship tournament of the 2015-16 men’s season.
This marks the 11th straight year that the University of Tulsa will serve as the official tournament host. Live video and scoring for each main draw match at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center can be viewed at www.tulsahurricane.com, while updated draws and main draw daily recaps can be found at the ITA Championship Central page http://www.itatennis.com/Events/ITANationalChampionships/MensAllAmerican.htm. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter by following @ITATennis and using the hashtag #TulsaITA.
Men’s singles quarterfinalists, doubles finalists and consolation champions will receive an automatic entry into the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships on Nov. 12-15, held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York.