Putterman def. Skinner 6-2, 6-3... Skinner def. #1 Putterman 6-4, 7-5
I really don’t know what to say about this one. When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. I really didn’t think Putterman, who rolled through the Central region could possibly lose to Skinner, and that wasn’t even supposed to disrespect Skinner. I’m sure he has been playing great tennis, but I didn’t think he was any better than Burgin and Gerber and Kaye. Again, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Let’s see if he can repeat the feat tomorrow.
#4 Hersh def. Smith-Dennis 6-4, 6-2
Ah, it’s nice to see a match that went exactly as I expected it to go. I have nothing to add.
Kjellberg def. #3 Loutsenko 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
Kjellberg continues to show his penchant for coming from behind to win big matches. I wonder if the effort will affect his play tomorrow against Burgin. He’s had a full day to recover. Compared to what he had to do in the regional tournament, this recovery should be nothing.
#2 Burgin def. Kotrappa 6-3, 6-3
This victory gives a little fuel to my “Kotrappa rented a hammock in home tree theory,” but not really. Burgin has beaten a lot of #1 played by similar scores in his day, so we shouldn’t take anything from Kotrappa. Tomorrow’s match will tell more about whether or not he’s ready to play high in CMS’ lineup.
Aaron “Do you like apples?” Skinner (Trinity) vs. #4 Andy Hersh (Hopkins)
I beat Putterman! How do you like them apples!? That’s just a creative interpretation of what’s going on in Skinner’s head right now. Anyways, after stunning the top seed, who’s to say that Skinner can’t go all the way? If he beat Ybarra and Putterman, I suppose it’s about time I give him some credit, right? Skinner has the advantage of having played two matches (and a doubles match), so he’s probably more grooved. With a whole day of rest, I doubt he’ll be tired. I’m gonna pick Hersh anyways. It’s against my nature to go against a proven player, and Hersh has been here before. I think he’ll benefit from the experience, and come away with a three-set victory.
Robert “I think he plays for Oklahoma Christian” Kjellberg (NCW) vs. #2 Paul “Anyone Else Getting Flashes of Alabama Losing in the Regular Season and then Winning the National Championship?” Burgin (Kenyon)
That was a long way to go for a fake nickname, but I’m always willing to go the extra mile for a bad joke. Anyways, there’s been a lot of talk about Burgin and his chances to win the tournament, but I really feel like Kjellberg has been flying under the radar. Because he comes from an isolated school like NCW, he doesn’t get the same recognition as Burgin because hardly anyone has seen him play. When these two met in their dual match last year, Burgin prevailed in three, but I think Kjellberg is going to reverse that result. Ballou is just straight up wrong about Emory this year. Ruderman, Halpern, and the rest of the guys could all hang with Goodwin and Pottish last year, and they are going to be very good. The fact that Kjellberg was better than all of them for a weekend is frightening. I thought Kjellberg was going to win this tournament going in, and I’m sticking with him. It’s undoubtedly going to be an absolute battle, but I’ll take the Bishop in three.
#1 Adam Putterman (Wash U) vs. Mya Smith-Dennis (GAC)
Just because he lost one match, doesn’t mean I don’t believe in Putterman anymore. He could either go full hulk in this match, or just say f*** it and talk. I’m going with full hulk and a straight set victory. Donkena managed to finish 7th in last year’s tournament with a 3-set victory over Perepelov. I think 7th is the best Smith-Dennis can do here.
#3 Oliver Loutsenko (Skidmore) vs. Neel Kotrappa (CMS)
Loutsenko will be deflated from his 3-set loss. Kotrappa still has a lot to prove. This match has upset written all over it. In the end, I think Loutsenko’s toughness will pull him through, but not after a huge struggle. I think Kotrappa will win the first set, but Loutsenko will battle back to win the 2nd and 3rd, reversing his heartbreak from today.
I’m just going to throw all the scores out and then talk about them
Brown/Lim (Hopkins) def. #1 Osborne/Balkin (UWW) 7-5, 6-4
#4 La Cava/Rivers (Whitman) def. Szczurek/Isaacs (Emory) 6-1, 6-1
#3 Wood/Dorn (CMS) def. Heerboth Turlington (Kenyon) 6-1, 6-0
#2 Micheli/Meyer (Williams) def. Latrop/Smego (Drew) 6-2, 7-6 (3)
#4 La Cava/Rivers (Whitman) def. Brown/Lim (Hopkins) 6-3, 5-7, 10-7
#2 Micheli/Meyer (Williams) def. #3 Wood/Dorn (CMS) 1-6, 6-3, 10-4
Isaacs/Szczurek (Emory) def. #1 Osborne/Balkin (UWW) 7-6 (5), 6-4
Heerboth/Turlington (Kenyon) def. Lathrop/Smego (Drew) 6-3, 7-5
Well, there was basically just a lot of good doubles played today. Any time you get a bunch of good doubles teams together, there are bound to be a bunch of close sets since it’s so difficult to break. From the sound of things, it seems like Szczurek and Isaacs had a bad match, but you can’t take all the credit away from the Whitman team. Rivers and La Cava managed to beat Hopkins in the next round, so they’re obviously doing something right. The second set of the Whitman/Hopkins match sounds like it was quite dramatic, but La Cava came through in crunch time, as you would expect out of the only proven doubles player on the court. Wood and Dorn really had things going for a little bit this afternoon, but Wood is like a runaway freight train. He picks up speed, but eventually, he’s going to come off the tracks. That happened in a big way against Williams. Micheli and Meyer did a great job staying composed until their moment came. Once they took the second set, the 10-pointer was a formality.
Even though the Drew team hasn’t won a match yet, they have impressed so far. You wouldn’t expect a doubles team from a school nobody’s ever heard of to hang with the big dawgs, but they played both Williams and Kenyon close. It will be interesting to see who wins the battle of the weak regions tomorrow. Since neither Heerboth or Turlington have any huge weapons, it’s not too surprising that they didn’t have an answer for Dorn and Wood in the quarters, but they came back well. Tough couple of matches for Balkin and Osborne. Hopefully they’ll be able to salvage a victory tomorrow.
#4 Rivers/La Cava (Whitman) vs. #2 Micheli/Meyer (Williams)
I can’t even begin to tell you how many e-mails I’ve gotten making fun of me for saying Whitman has good doubles. Vindication at last! La Cava has always been an unbelievable doubles player. His hands are as soft as a baby’s bottom, but his Achilles heel has always been his serve. It seems like he’s been serving much better so far this tournament. Rivers is a bit of an unknown, but he must be complimenting La Cava well for them to get to the finals. Unfortunately for them, I’m thinking Micheli and Meyer will probably be on a different level. I’m not saying that they couldn’t win this match, but none of the teams they’ve beaten so far really have much history of doubles success. Those teams were definitely good doubles teams, but when the matches got tight, they didn’t have a lot of experience they could fall back on. Micheli and Meyer do. Meyer won this tournament with Chow last year, and Micheli was half of the best #2 doubles team in the country last year. Both Meyer and Micheli have played so many big matches, when push comes to shove, I think they’ll come away with this match. I’ll take the Purple Cows in three.
#3 Wood/Dorn (CMS) vs. Brown/Lim (Hopkins)
I don’t know what to make of this match. Wood and Dorn probably have the highest ceiling of any doubles team in the tournament, but I’m wondering how much they’ll care about this 3rd place match. Brown and Lim are a fiery duo who will play with passion tomorrow no matter what. I’m thinking something similar will happen in this match that happened to Wood and Dorn today. CMS will come out and clearly be the better team, but they will lose focus, and Hopkins’ relentless tenacity will start to take over. They usually play a 10-pointer for consolation matches, and if that’s the case, I think Hopkins will win in that 10-pointer.
Isaacs/Szczurek (Emory) vs. Heerboth/Turlington (Kenyon)
It really is amazing how many unproven doubles teams are in this tournament this year. Heerboth and Turlington obviously played great to win their regional, but a 3 and 5 win over Drew doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. As far as Isaacs and Szczurek go, their regional was basically “Which Emory team is hot this weekend?” and someone reached into a bag of Eagles and pulled out these guys. Then, they laid an Eagle-sized egg against Whitman, but pulled it together enough to beat Osborne and Balkin (AKA, the weaked #1 seeds of all time). I really have no idea, but I’m going to go with Emory over Kenyon because that’s how things usually happen. Two close sets.
#1 Osborne/Balkin (UWW) vs. Lathrop/Smego (Drew)
I know I just said Osborne and Balkin were the weakest #1 seeds of all time, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good doubles team. They have a lot of good wins on their record (to go with a couple really bad losses. *cough* Westminster *cough*). That’s the nature of a proset, but that’s not what happens to national champion doubles teams. These Warhawks have way too much pride to lose this match. They beat the national runners up two weeks ago, and I like them to walk away from this tournament with a win in their back pocket. Two close sets.