Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Piedmont's McDonald stars in upset-filled NCAAs

UCLA freshman Mackenzie McDonald, shown in the
2012 Australian Open junior boys tournament, upset
fourth-seeded Mitchell Frank of Virginia in the first
round of singles at the NCAA Championships in
Athens, Ga. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Seven of the top eight men's seeds, including No. 1 Clay Thompson of UCLA, exited today in the first round of singles at the NCAA Championships.
   Pulling off two of the upsets in Athens, Ga., were Mackenzie McDonald of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area and Ben McLachlan of Cal.
   Two Oklahoma players, No. 5 Guillermo Alcorta and No. 7 Axel Alvarez Llamas, withdrew from the singles tournament after the Sooners lost to USC 4-2 in Tuesday's team final. The reasons were not immediately available.
   Stanford's Krista Hardebeck, meanwhile, recorded the biggest upset in the first round of women's singles with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over fourth-seeded Julia Elbaba of Virginia.   
   McDonald, a UCLA freshman ranked 35th, knocked off fourth-seeded Mitchell Frank, a junior at Virginia, 6-2, 7-5.
   Frank gave the Cavaliers their first NCAA team title in tennis last year with a 0-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over UCLA's Adrien Puget at No. 3 singles, saving a championship point in the process.
   "I was pretty excited to play Mitchell again because I lost to him at the beginning of the year," McDonald told reporters. "It's the end of the year, and I thought it would be a great match to see improvements and kind of see where I am. I'm really happy I pulled it out because it shows me that I've improved and done better since the start of the year."
   McLachlan, a senior from New Zealand, held off No. 8 Jared Hiltzik of Illinois 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. 
  Thompson, a 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) senior from Venice Beach, lost to 47th-ranked Roberto Cid of South Florida 6-3, 6-3.
   Also falling were No. 3 Julian Lenz of Baylor and No. 6 Alex Domijan of Virginia.
   No. 2 Marcos Giron of UCLA avoided the upset trend, overwhelming 27th-ranked Hunter Reece of Tennessee 6-1, 6-1.
Stanford's Krista Hardebeck overcame her troubles
this season to oust No. 4 seed Julia Elbaba of Virginia
in the first round of singles at the NCAA Champion-
ships. Tri Nguyen/TriNguyenPhotography.com
  Hardebeck, the nation's top recruit coming out of high school in Santa Ana in 2012, rebounded from three consecutive straight-set losses in singles in the women's team tournament. No. 11 seed and defending champion Stanford fell to No. 7 North Carolina 4-3 in the semifinals.
   "I haven't really had the best season, and my team, unfortunately, lost in the semis, so I just came out here and tried to give it all and just swing away," said Hardebeck, who improved to 17-13 in singles this season. "At this point, I don't really have anything to lose. I was really happy that everything was going well and that it worked out in my favor."
   Hardebeck's teammate, third-ranked Kristie Ahn, bounced back from a 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-0 loss to No. 1 Jamie Loeb in the deciding match against North Carolina. Ahn, a senior from Upper Saddle River, N.J., pounded Stephanie Nauta of Virginia 6-3, 6-0.
   Two Cal women eliminated 9-16 seeds. Zsofi Susanyi, a junior from Hungary and NCAA semifinalist as a freshman, defeated Cristina Stancu of Texas A&M 6-0, 6-4. Lynn Chi, a sophomore from Weston, Fla., outlasted Emina Bektas of Michigan 2-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1. 
   Also advancing were Stanford freshmen Carol Zhao, Taylor Davidson and Caroline Doyle; Cal's Anette Schutting; Saint Mary's Jenny Jullien, seeded 9-16; and USC's Giuliana Olmos, from Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   Falling were Ellen Tsay of Stanford, Denise Starr of Cal and Katie Le of Santa Clara.
   The men's and women's doubles tournaments begin on Thursday. All singles and doubles finals are scheduled for Monday.
   Collegiate Hall of Fame -- Matt Anger, who was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and former Stanford star Alex Kim are being inducted in the Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame today with five others in Athens.
   Anger was a three-time All-American at USC, helping the Trojans finish third in the 1983 NCAA Championships. Before his collegiate career, he won the Wimbledon junior boys singles title in 1981 and was ranked as the No. 1 junior in the world by Tennis Magazine. 
   Anger played on the ATP tour for eight years, climbing to a career high of No. 23 in singles and reaching the round of 16 in singles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1986.
   The 50-year-old Anger is in his 20th season as the men's head coach at Washington.
   Kim was a two-time All-American, won the 2000 NCAA singles title as a junior and played on two national championship teams (1998 and 2000).
   Joining Anger and Kim in the Hall of Fame are coaches Billy Chadwick (Mississippi), Timon Corwin (Kalamazoo) and James Wadley (Oklahoma State), player Juan Farrow (Southern Illinois-Edwardsville) and contributor Doug Conant (Northwestern).

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