College Tennis

Domijan repeats as champion at ITA All-American Championships

October 9, 2012 12:15 PM
Runner-up Peter Kobelt (l) and winner Alex Domijan pose with their trophies following the ITA men's final.
TULSA, Okla. -- 2010 ITA All-American champion Alex Domijan kicked off his junior season the best way any player could by winning the ITA's first men's national title of the year -- the ITA Men's All-American Championships -- with a straight-sets win over Ohio State's Peter Kobelt, 7-5, 6-1.

With the win, Domijan became the first player in 11 years to win two All-American titles.

"It's nice [winning the title]. I like playing here," said Domijan, who in two ITA All-American tournament appearances has brought home titles both times. "I don't know what it is about this place, but I wish I could do it at every tournament. The courts suit my game well, and playing here just works out well for me."
 
In the championship match, Domijan got down early in the first set, falling behind 3-1. "At the beginning, he [Kobelt] served really well, and I had three break points on his first service game," said Domijan, who was unable to convert on his three chances. "I think I let down a little bit mentally after that, and he took advantage of it and broke me back right away."
 
As the set progressed, Domijan handled Kobelt's serve with more success. "The balls started to get worn down a little bit, and it took a lot of heat off his serve, so I was able to return a lot better and get into games on his serve. I think that kind of threw him off a little bit," Domijan said.

Eventually Domijan got his break back at 3-all and went on to take the set at 7-5 by breaking late in the set.
 
Entering the second set, Domijan zeroed in on building off of the late success he found in the first set, as he jumped out to an early 3-1 lead. Then he won a critical game on his serve that could have been a change-of-momentum game for Kobelt. 

"The biggest game of the match was when I was up 3-1," said Domijan, who went down 15-40 on his serve, giving Kobelt two immediate break chances to get back into the set. "That was basically the match, I think, because if I won that game, then I felt I was going to win the match."

In total, Domijan fought off three break points and, with an emphatic forehand winner, held serve to go up 4-1 and eventually took the match at 7-5, 6-1.
 
Looking ahead at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, Domijan will have his sights on a better performance than he had in 2010.

"Two years ago when I won it [the ITA All-American Championships], I went to the National Indoors and lost in the first round of main draw and consolation, so I'm looking forward to getting one match under my belt in Flushing."

Transitioning to the main-draw doubles final, Domijan's teammates Mac Styslinger and Jarmere Jenkins were looking to take both singles and doubles titles back to Virginia for the first time since 2010. However, Auburn's Dan Cochrane and Andreas Mies had other plans, as the duo served as Auburn's first representatives in an ITA All-American final in school history.
 
The pair from Auburn showed zero nerves in the early going, racing out to a quick 5-2 lead. After a Virginia hold, Cochrane looked to serve out the set, but a good lob on break point led to a missed overhead, giving the break back to Virginia.

"We were ahead 5-2, and I played a shaky game at 5-3," said Cochrane. "I wasn't feeling too good after that, but Andreas played a great service game to keep us in the set."
 
"It was really important to stay positive, especially after we got broken," said Mies. "I just tried to keep him [Cochrane] positive because he had served well all tournament."
 
Following Mies' hold and a hold from Virginia, the set went into a tiebreaker. Auburn found themselves in an early hole at 2-5 and would go on to see a set point against them as Virginia served, leading at 4-6.
 
A resilient Auburn team seemed unrattled as they fought off two set points and won the final four games of the breaker to take it at 8-6. 
"We played well in the tiebreak at the right times," said Cochran. "That gave us huge momentum going into the second set."
 
Feeding off their first-set victory, the Auburn duo broke Virginia twice and held two of their own service games to take a commanding 4-0 lead. The two breaks of serve turned out to be more than enough, as they went on to take the set at 6-2.
 
"We are both really aggressive players, and that paid off at this tournament," said Mies. "We had a really great tournament, and I mean, there's nothing really more to say than that."

The consolation singles title was claimed by Mississippi's Jonas Lutjen, who defeated Ohio State's Connor Smith in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. "It's never easy playing the final after playing so many matches," said Lutjen, who played six singles matches en route to today's title. "But I just tried to play my best, and I ended up winning, and it was a great tournament in the end."
 
Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland of Georgia walked away with the consolation doubles championship, as they defeated Columbia's Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur in Sunday's only three-set match, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1.

"I felt like we were a little bit flat in the beginning," said Pieters. "They came out and played a really good game, but I felt like we needed a bit more energy, and we got that towards the end."
 
Wagland added, "We started playing more aggressively at the end of the second set. We had a few chances on their service games, but we didn't break. But in the tiebreaker we played really aggressive, and that's what got us through in the third set, as well."
 
By winning the consolation titles, Pieters, Wagland and Lutjen punched their tickets to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in November. They will be joined by the eight main-draw singles quarterfinalists and both main-draw doubles finalists.

For complete coverage of the 2012 ITA Men's All-American Championships, including access to updated draws and live scoring, please visit  ITAtennis.com. Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis, for updates.
 

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