Super Regionals set
Arthur Kapetanakis | May 7, 2019
With the opening weekend of the 2019 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships in the books, the 16 remaining teams in the men’s and women’s tournaments are now just one win away from booking a ticket to the USTA National Campus.
For the first time, college tennis’ year-end finale will be hosted at the USTA’s state-of-the-art facility in Orlando, Fla., with Tennis Channel set to broadcast over 50 hours of matches across 10 days of team and individual competition. And while the men’s and women’s fields have narrowed to the Super Regionals—the Sweet 16, in NCAA basketball parlance—it is only the Elite Eight quarterfinalists that will earn the privilege of the Orlando spotlight.
The 16 seeded teams in both draws played hosts for the opening two rounds of play, with all but four—two each in the men’s and women’s fields—advancing on their home turf.ADVERTISEMENT
In the men’s draw, it was smooth sailing for the top seeds: No. 1 Ohio State, No. 3 Florida, No. 7 Mississippi State, No. 8 USC, No. 11 UCLA, No. 12 Stanford and No. 16 Columbia all cruised with back-to-back 4-0 victories.
Oklahoma scored the biggest upset in the men’s draw, as the Aggies edged host Texas A&M, seeded 13th, in the only 4-3 match of Round 2. The Sooner’s Mason Beiler, of New Port Richey, Fla., won a 9-7 third-set tiebreak at No. 4 singles to seal the dramatic victory. Their reward is a trip to Wake Forest to face the defending champions and No. 4 seeds.
California also claimed a seeded scalp, dominating No. 15 Illinois, 4-1. It will only get harder for the Bears, as they now travel to Texas to face the second-seeded Longhorns.
In the women’s draw, nine of the 16 seeds remain perfect: No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 North Carolina, No. 5 Duke, No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 7 UCLA, No. 8 Vanderbilt, No. 10 Washington, No. 13 USC and No. 16 Michigan all secured two 4-0 wins.
A pair of in-state upsets shook up the bracket in Round 2. Texas A&M outdueled Texas, 4-1, in a match that was sealed at the No. 1 singles spot by Katya Townsend of Coconut Creek, Fla. Central Florida, which plays its home matches at the USTA National Campus, dismissed No. 11 Florida State by the same score.
The tightest women’s match of Round 2 came in No. 15 Oklahoma State’s 4-3 win over Miami, as the Cowgirls edged the Hurricanes in a Top-20 matchup.
The upcoming Super Regionals round will feature seeded opponents in 12 of the 16 matches across both draws, with the higher-seeded team hosting May 10-11.
The final rounds of the team tournament will be played out from May 16-19 in Orlando, followed by the individual singles and doubles competitions from May 20-25.
While Division I men’s tennis has 62 percent international players overall, a 61-percent majority of players (109 of 179) on Sweet 16 rosters hail from the U.S., according to the USTA’s manager of collegiate tennis, Brian Ormiston.
For the women, 59 percent of Division I players are internationals, but 72 percent of players on Sweet 16 rosters are American (106 of 147). Americans make up at least half of the rosters for 11 of the 16 remaining teams in both the men’s and women’s fields.
Pictured above: Jake Van Emburgh. Photo courtesy of Oklahoma University.