Hello, folks. I hear it’s UAA Week. And when UAA Week comes around, that means the bloggers come together to write multiple previews, give you in-depth analysis, as well as write a ridiculously dope preview for you guys as this tournament deserves maximum coverage. Today, we’ve previewed two matches for you – the big kahuna in CMU vs. Case as well as Chicago vs. NYU, should be a bit less of a kahuna. That means you’ll get myself, D3Midwest, and D3RegNEC (which kind of reads like “redneck” which is kind of funny) in this article. Now, there are still at least two more previews to come, which will happen tomorrow. So, make sure you tune in tomorrow as well because there will be some fireworks. Anyways, I need to start cooking dinner, so here goes the preview.
#4 Carnegie vs. #5 Case
Carnegie Power 6: 74. Daniel Levine (12.59), Michael Rozenvasser (12.81), Chaz Downing (12.55), Vayum Arora (12.11), Kenny Zheng (12.07), Kiril Kirkov (12.05)
Case Power 6: 70.33. James Fojtasek (12.23), Sidd Rajupet (11.45), Rob Stroup (11.53), Kevin Dong (11.51), Josh Dughi (11.83), Sam Concannon (11.78)
D3ASouth: This is by far the biggest match of the first round, as it always is, because it features two teams that will finish the year in the top 15. This is the third or fourth time in a row that this has happened and this match oftentimes decides who will get into Pool C. This year, it’s a bit different because the winner of this match doesn’t necessarily make it into Pool C – this is because Case has had a less than stellar year so far and that has hurt the UAA. The loser of this match is not making the tournament, that is a given. The winner of this match will likely have to win another match at the UAA to be super certain that they will make the tournament. Case might even need more than that, but let’s get there when we get there. Here are the results from their 5-4 battle at Indoors, in Cleveland.
Some key changes from this match are as follows – Rozenvasser has come back to the CMU lineup after dealing with an injury, Zheng has been moved down to #4 singles for CMU, and Kirkov has been entered into the lineup at #6. For Case, Stroup has moved up to #3, Concannon down to #6, Dong up to #4, and Dughi down to #5. This sets up a few key matches that I will get to in a match by match preview, below:
#1 Doubles: Levine/Arora (CMU) vs. Daum/Benedetto (CWRU)
Daum and Benedetto pulled a surprise upset at Indoors last time around, and they will need to do more of the same this time around. This team has not nearly been as mediocre as many thought they would be early in the year and they have really impressed me. Kudos to them for becoming a very good #1 team. On the other hand, Levine/Arora have followed up a great year last year with a mediocre one this year. Early in the year I thought this was a no-brainer, now Case has the advantage. Case, 8-6
#2 Doubles: Chen/Downing (CMU). vs. Gruber/Fojtasek (CWRU)
Another big match here as CMU basically wants to come out of this with a 1-2 doubles deficit at the very least. Gruber/Foj are a streaky team, they’ve put together separate runs of 6 wins and 7 wins in a row, but also have a couple 3 match losing streaks on their resume. They are currently in the midst of a winning streak. I will say that the Chen/Zheng combo (now split) beat this team 8-2 at Indoors, but I’m not that confident in Chaz’s doubles prowess. Give me Case, 8-5
#3 Doubles: Zheng/Rozenvasser (CMU) vs. Kanam/Zakhodin (CWRU)
CMU has the advantage here in talent and should be in the lead here. Kanam/Zakhodin are a team that didn’t play together at Indoors and started with a rough patch against ranked teams. They are a question mark despite being able to take out some regional teams in the past few weeks. We’ll see if that momentum carries over, but I think this is a clear advantage for CMU. Stranger things have happened, and CMU would really be journeying into the Upside Down if they lose this one. CMU 8-4
#1 Singles: Levine (CMU) vs. Fojtasek (CWRU)
This one is not as much of a difference in talent as some may think it is on the surface, as both players have a UTR well within the range of a reasonable upset. Levine is the favorite here with his history of big match play, including a win over Fojtasek to start the year at Indoors, 4 and 4. Fojtasek is kind of due for a big win out of nowhere, but Levine is a big time player and this is not where he falters. CMU, 6-4, 6-3
#2 Singles: Rozenvasser (CMU) vs. Rajupet (CWRU)
This is a bit of a mismatch according to UTR, where Rajupet is kind of out in the unknown at #2 singles. He’s gaining valuable experience against the best players in the nation here but the fact of the matter is his season hasn’t been great so far. He has one win at #2 singles against a ranked team (Maassen, PP, in a super) and that does not bode well against the young freshman from CMU. As long as Rozenvasser keeps his head in the game (I still haven’t gotten on him for that ridiculous point penalty in California), this should be a routine one for him. CMU 6-2, 6-2
#3 Singles: Downing (CMU) vs. Stroup (CWRU)
Here, Stroup has moved up to the #3 spot in the lineup. Comparing against the Indoors match he played at #4 where he lost to Prettyman, things are already off to a tough start. However, Stroup is another guy who has a little “lightning in a bottle” aspect to him so it would be wise for young Chaz to make sure he’s taking this seriously. Downing has the UTR and talent advantage here, he just needs to finish. CMU 7-5, 6-1
#4 Singles: Zheng (CMU) vs. Dong (CWRU)
Here’s where Case hopes to make their mark and they will basically need to take 2 of 3 from the bottom of the CMU lineup to make this thing happen. Zheng, the senior, will be playing in his last UAA Tournament. Same with Dong, who also happens to be part of a senior-heavy Case team. This one is going to be a battle, especially given the game styles. In another three setter, Zheng comes through in the clutch once again to give CMU another point. CMU 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
#5 Singles: Arora (CMU) vs. Dughi (CWRU)
This is a match where it really depends on how Arora is playing that day. Arora has been so up and down over his career at CMU and that means some great wins and some head scratching losses. The consistency of Dughi may frustrate him in the hot Orlando sun, and being that this is Dughi’s swan song UAA Tournament as well, he has the edge here. Give me Dughi wearing down the sophomore in a battle that keeps Case in the match. Case, 7-6, 6-3
#6 Singles: Kirkov (CMU) vs. Concannon (CWRU)
A very good matchup here where we have the redemption story of Kirkov and the stellar year of Concannon. Not sure if that match will be decided by the end of this one, but this features two very solid groundstrokers who should have some good battles from the baseline. This one should also go three sets and it may go to a super breaker if the match is concluded. I’ll take CMU, but this one is a 50/50 tossup. CMU 3-6, 6-1, 10-6
All in all, that counts up to CMU winning by the score of 6-3, but I think all the doubles are swing matches as well as #4-6 being tossups for the Tartans and Spartans. Case has a shot at taking this and historically plays CMU really close, so don’t be surprised if this becomes a 5-4 barnburner. CMU has played in a few of those this year and should come out with the victory, but Case is never an easy task for them. Tune in Friday AM for this match.
D3Midwest: Ditto. Basically, ASouth said everything I would have, so I will keep my overview brief. This year, Carnegie Mellon’s doubles have not been great against top opponents. They’ve played 6 top 20 teams and have lead after doubles against only one of them — Emory. However, the Tartans have the singles advantage. They are the heavy favorites at 1, 2, and 3. Not only are Levine, Rozenvasser, and Downing really good, but Fojtasek, Rajupet, and Stroup have struggled a bit. I think the matches at 4, 5, and 6 are tossups given the unexpectedly good year of Dong, along with Dughi’s and Concannon’s tough grind games. Ultimately, just like ASouth, I predict CMU to overcome a doubles deficit, but I think the Spartans grab a couple singles matches. 5-4 CMU.
#3 Chicago vs. #6 NYU
Chicago Power 6: With David Liu: 75.86. Without David Liu: 75.20. David Liu (12.96), Nick Chua (12.55), Erik Kerrigan (12.71), Charlie Pei (12.39), Luke Tsai (12.88), Ninan Kumar (12.37), Peter Leung (12.30)
NYU Power 6: 68. Umberto Setter (12.32), Matt Demichiel (11.85), Vishal Walia (11.44), Benedict Teoh (11.02), Xavier Pacthod (10.52), Samuel Khoshbin (11.38)
D3Midwest: Here are my questions surrounding this match. 1. Will David Liu finally return?! 2. Will Bob DeMichiel grace us with an epic tweet or two? 3. Who is going to play 5 and 6 singles for Chicago? I don’t want to dismiss NYU, and to even get the 6 seed is a big accomplishment, but I think the Maroons are the stronger team. 8-1 Chicago.
D3RegionalNEC: I see this match as more or less a tune up for both teams. The result is really not in question, so it allows both teams to adjust to the conditions, swing freely, and get ready for their Saturday matches. Chicago will obviously be pumped for their likely rematch with Wash U, and NYU should be similarly fired up for Brandeis, who they just know will be super hungry for revenge after the Violets beat them 6-3 in March. I think the Maroons sweep doubles, and while I could see NYU hanging around in singles and stealing a match and going three sets elsewhere, I agree with Midwest—8-1 Chicago.
And there you have it. Looks like we’re going chalk for these two predictions, but it will be very interesting in the CMU Case match to see who comes out victorious. We have seen those two teams do battle many times over the years and I am sure it will be a good one. On the other side, don’t be surprised to see NYU doing a lot of borderline obnoxious but usually funny tweeting, while Chicago does no tweeting at all unless it gets really close. I see you, Coach Tee. Anyways, check back again for more previews tomorrow and the next day as always. ASouth, OUT.