Monday, May 29, 2017

Virginia, Michigan players win NCAA singles titles

   Thai-Son Kwiatkowski pulled off an impressive double in the grueling NCAA Championships.
   Belinda Woolcock, however, fell short.
   Kwiatkowski, who helped Virginia win its third consecutive NCAA team title last week, defeated William Blumberg of North Carolina 6-4, 7-6 (5) today in an all-Atlantic Coast Conference men's singles final in Athens, Ga. Both players were seeded 9-16.
   Woolcock, who led Florida to the NCAA team title, lost to Brienne Minor of Michigan 6-3, 6-3 in the women's singles final. Woolcock was seeded sixth, and Minor was unseeded.
   Kwiatkowski, a senior from Charlotte, N.C., became the second Virginia man in three years to win the NCAA singles crown. Ryan Shane triumphed in 2015.
   Kwiatkowski and Blumberg played for the 12th consecutive day. Kwiatkowski lost to Blumberg 6-3, 6-2 on Court 2 in the team final last Tuesday, but the Cavaliers defeated the Tar Heels for their third consecutive championship.
   "Thank goodness the rest of the guys picked me up, because Will really took it to me when we met indoors last week," Kwiatkowski told reporters. "Today I felt that the coaches gave me a  really good game plan, one that was different than what we had before."
   Minor, a sophomore from the Chicago suburb of Mundelein, Ill., became the third Michigan player and first woman to win the NCAA singles title. Barry MacKay took the 1957 crown, and Mike Leach prevailed in 1982.                            
   "I'm still soaking it all in," Minor said. "When I threw my racket at the end of the match, I just felt this wave of relief because I was just so happy I could get that win. I was super tired, so I was excited to let that racket go and just be done with the match."
   Woolcock, a senior from Australia, also played for the 12th straight day. But Michigan lost to Stanford in the round of 16 on May 19, so Minor had four days off between the team and individual competition.
   Meanwhile, Andrew Harris added to his doubles resume. The unseeded team of Harris and Spencer Papa of Oklahoma edged top-seeded Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski of host Georgia 4-6, 6-2 [10-6] for the title.
   Harris, a senior, won the 2012 Wimbledon and French Open boys doubles titles with fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios, now ranked No. 19 in the world in singles.
   In the women's doubles final, unseeded Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase of Ohio State gave the Big Ten Conference a title sweep by nipping No. 5-8 seeds Maddie Pothoff and Erin Routliffe of Alabama 6-7 (6), 6-4 [10-7].
   Di Lorenzo lost in the first round of singles as the top seed to Pepperdine's Mayar Sherif Ahmed, a transfer from Fresno State.
   Routliffe won the NCAA doubles title in 2014 and 2015 with Maya Jansen, who played for Cal this season as a graduate student. Jansen and Maegan Manasse reached the NCAA semifinals, losing to Di Lorenzo and Kowase 6-2, 6-3.

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