Top Seed Smith Advances to the Semifinals ITA National
Intercollegiate Indoor Championships
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The possibility of J.P. Smith's quest to sweep
back-to-back singles and doubles titles at the fall ITA National
Championships came to a halt as Tennessee's top-ranked doubles team of
Smith and Davey Sandgren were upset by an upstart Texas A&M squad today
at the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, hosted by Yale
University, November 5-8 at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center in New
The Texas A&M tandem of Austin Krajicek and Jeff Dadamo stunned the
top-ranked Vols that were selected as the 2009 Campbell/ITA Doubles Team
of the Year in an 8-3 victory.
"We got off to a very fast start," Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton
said. "These doubles pro-sets indoors are usually a sprint. We were more
aggressive than Tennessee which was the difference. For an early morning
match, our guys came out with a lot of energy and were fired up, ready
to play. Once we had the momentum and had the second break at 5-2,
Austin and Jeff relaxed and played even better."
Krajicek and Dadamo have won seven-straight matches (7-0) since the
beginning of their successful tournament run at the Wilson/ITA Texas
Regional Championships held in College Station which resulted in an
automatic bid to the ITA National lndoors as the doubles titlists. The
victory matched Krajicek's highest career doubles victory, while it was
the first for Dadamo who is a transfer from the University of Florida
playing in his first season for the Aggies.
The two Aggies may have only played a total of seven matches together
but have loads of chemistry stemming from their days growing up in
Florida. "Both of us are from the Tampa area and knew each other from
local tournaments", said Dadamo. "We just need to take care of what we
need to do for the next match, knowing that if we win the last point, we
win the match", said Krajicek. "Champions are made when no one is
Smith recently achieved a feat that only two others have accomplished in
the history of the ITA Men's All-American Championships, by capturing
the singles and doubles titles in early October. Even with the loss in
doubles, Smith's singles title hopes are still very much alive as he
picked up two more wins today to advance to tomorrow's semifinals. The
road was perhaps paved a bit easier for Smith as five of the remaining
seven seeds in men's singles were all ousted in today's competition.
"I've been practicing a lot and getting stronger physically and
mentally", said Smith. "Last year I didn't know what to expect, being my
first time playing in this event, the pressure got to me a little bit.
This year, I learned from the mistakes I made last year. Winning the
All-American has given me a lot of confidence especially knowing that I
can win big matches."
"As far as the doubles loss today, we've been mixing it up a lot to
create some depth on our team as I've already played with four partners
this fall", said Smith. "Coming here not having played with Davey in
nearly two months, it really takes a lot of time to get used to your
partner again, which is something we'll have to work on looking forward
to the spring."
Entering play today, there were seven players, including Smith, with an
opportunity to advance to the semifinals in both singles and doubles. Of
those seven not one was able to complete the feat. Also, entering the
quarterfinal singles, five sets of teammates had the opportunity for
both to reach the semifinals. Of those five, not one team was able to
accomplish the task.
On the women's side, Georgia Tech's Irina Falconi, the highest remaining
singles seed continues her quest to pad an already incredible summer and
fall resume. The 2009 Riviera/ITA All-American singles champion
outscored eighth-ranked Vanessa Chan of Washington and ninth-ranked
Josipa Bek of Clemson, an astounding 24-4 to head into tomorrow's
semifinals as the assumed favorite.
However, two other top seeds will square off tomorrow in hopes of
dethroning Falconi, should she advance past Baylor's Lenka Broosova to
the women's finals. Cal's Jana Juricova is the next highest seed at No.
4 and will see a familiar face across the net in Pac-10 rival Denise Dy
of Washington, the No. 7 seed. Ironically, both Washington and
California were two of the teams who had the opportunity to place a set
of teammates in the semis.
The women's doubles draw continues to offer up very few surprises as
three of the top four seeds have all made it into the semifinals. The
only team to take a fall was the No. 3 seeded Cal team. Oddly enough, on
the men's side, the only seeded squad still alive is the No. 3 seed,
Stanford's Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher.
These championships feature a 32-player singles field and 16-team
doubles field for men and women, including: champions from Wilson/ITA
Regional Championships held across the country during October, the ITA
National Small College "Super Bowl" champions, the singles semifinalists
and doubles champions of the D'Novo/ITA Men's All-American Tennis
Championships and Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships, and
at-large and wild card selections made by the ITA National Tournament
Play resumes Saturday with semifinal doubles matches beginning at 9 am
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