PALM DESERT, Calif. – Friday was already shaping up to be newsworthy at the inaugural Oracle ITA National Fall Championships, and then the men’s doubles bracket was flipped upside down in less than an hour.
The No.’s 1, 2 and 5 seeds all went down in quarterfinal play, making for several great storylines on top of what was an entertaining and exciting day of men’s and women’s singles action that saw Round of 16 and quarterfinal matches spread across the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, California, and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California.
The Texas men’s doubles duo of Rodrigo Banzer and Leonardo Telles, the No. 8 seed in the draw, toppled top-seeded Johannes Ingildsen and Alfredo Perez of Florida 6-2, 6-1. Ingildsen and Perez won the 2017 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championship earlier this fall.
Wake Forest scored an upset of its own when Petros Chrysochos and Skander Mansouri recorded a 7-6 (6), 6-3 victory over the No. 2 seed out of Baylor, Will Little and Johannes Schretter. Joining the upset party on Friday was the red-hot Wisconsin team of Chema Carranza and Josef Dodridge. They dispatched the No. 5 seeded Georgia team of Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski 6-1, 6-3.
Saturday’s semifinal matchups feature Banzer/Telles taking on Carranza/Dodrige and Chrysochos/Mansouri against the No. 4 seed from Louisville, Chris Kougoucheff and Parker Wynn. The Cardinals defeated Florida’s McClain Kessler and Duarte Vale, the No. 7 seed in the tournament, 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
In women’s doubles, Wesleyan’s Cinderella run came to an end on Friday, as they fell to the Ole Miss duo of Alexa Bortles and Arianne Hartono 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. The Rebels will face the No. 7 seed out of Georgia Tech, Paige Hourigan and Kenya Jones. Hourigan and Jones scored a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Georgia’s Mariana Gould and Katarina Jokic in the quarterfinals.
The other women’s doubles semifinal features No. 3 Duke’s team of Kelly Chen and Samantha Harris against Stanford’s Emily Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon. Chen and Harris won their quarterfinal match over Georgia’s Elena Christofi and Morgan Coppoc 6-4, 7-6 (4), while the Cardinal needed a third-set 10-point tiebreak to outlast the No. 5 seed from Virginia, Rose Johanson and Meghan Kelley 3-6, 7-6 (5), 1-0 (4).
Semifinals are also set in men’s and women’s singles, following two rounds of action on Friday.
Harris is the highest-remaining seed in the women’s singles draw. She advanced to the semifinals with wins over Denver’s Julia O’Loughlin 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Round of 16, and No. 2 Ashley Lahey of Pepperdine 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
“I’m feeling really confident; I’ve played some great tennis this week,” said Harris, who will face Bianca Turati of Texas in the semifinals. Turati topped a pair of seeded foes on Friday, first No. 12 Gordon of Stanford 6-2, 7-6 (7) and then No. 8 Gabriela Talaba of Texas Tech in the quarterfinals 6-2, 6-3.
The 2017 Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Women’s Singles Champion, Fernanda Contreras of Vanderbilt, advanced to the semifinals thanks to a 7-5, 6-1 win over Loyola Marymount’s Veronica Miroshnichenko in the Round of 16 and a 7-5, 6-4 decision versus Marie Leduc of Clemson in the quarterfinals.
“It just feels awesome to play here. It’s freezing in Nashville and California is warm, so there’s incentive to stay,” said Contreras. “I’m just grateful for the opportunities to play and I’m having fun.”
Contreras will take on Andrea Lazaro of Florida International in the semifinals. Lazaro had a productive Friday, picking up wins over Vladica Babic of Oklahoma State 6-4, 7-5 and No. 5 seed and Oracle ITA Masters Champion Alle Sanford of North Carolina 6-2, 6-4.
“It feels awesome, even though I’m exhausted,” said Lazaro of making her second ITA national event semifinal. She reached the Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships semifinal in October. “I really love the environment here and am happy to be back in another semifinal.”
The men’s semifinals feature some big hitters, with top-seeded Nuno Borges of Mississippi State taking on No. 5 Martin Redlicki of UCLA, while No. 3 Chrysochos of Wake Forest faces No. 16 Thomas Laurent of Oregon.
Borges was dominant on Friday, earning a pair of straight set wins. He opened the day with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Alex Lebedev of Notre Dame, and then took down No. 6 Emil Reinberg of Georgia 6-1, 6-4. Redlicki gutted out a pair of three-set victories, first a 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-1 decision over Timo Stodder of Tennessee, and then a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) win against No. 4 Mansouri of Wake Forest.
Chrysochos slipped past No. 10 JJ Wolf of Ohio State 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in the Round of 16 and then took down No. 9 Perez of Florida 7-5, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Laurent handed Aswin Lizen of Virigina a 6-4, 6-2 defeat in the Round of 16, and in the quarterfinals, he ended Georgia Gwinnett’s Kevin Konfederak’s run with a 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (6) decision.
Laurent said his match against Konfederak was difficult for a few reasons.
“It was a tough match all the way up to the end,” said Laurent. “In the first set, I didn’t know what to do. He’s a really good player and I didn’t know much about him being from another division. In the second set I came out strong and in the third set I tried to stay as calm as I could. He came back, again and again, even in the (tiebreak). I was able to finish and it was a great feeling.”
Draws, schedule of play, daily recaps and photo gallery links can be found on the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships event page. Live scoring via Tennis Ticker is available at both site locations, while TempuZ is providing live streaming coverage from two courts at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Links to both live scoring and streaming are also available on the event page. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter by following @ITA_Tennis and @OracleTennis and using the hashtag #ITAFallNats.
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