Oct. 15, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio -
There is plenty of Notre Dame blue and gold remaining at the USTA/ITA Regional Championships in Columbus, Ohio, as two singles players and two doubles teams remain among the final eight in the singles and doubles draws.
Senior and No. 4 seed Casey Watt and senior Niall Fitzgerald advanced to Sunday's round of eight in the singles draw with a pair of wins on Saturday, while the doubles duo of Watt and sophomore Greg Andrews and Fitzgerald and junior Spencer Talmadge remain alive in the doubles draw.
Sunday's singles action gets underway at 9 a.m., with the four winners advancing to the final four on Monday morning at 11 a.m. The doubles draw begins at 11:30 a.m., with the finals slated for Monday at 10 a.m.
Endurance will be a key on Sunday, as many of the players remaining in the singles draw are also alive in the doubles draw. Watt and Fitzgerald each played four matches on Saturday and could play as many as three on Sunday.
"We feel good about where we are at right now," said head coach Bobby Bayliss. "We have two guys alive in the singles draw and two teams remaining in the doubles draw. We have played well overall this week against some of the best players in the country. We are excited to see what tomorrow brings."
The No. 4 seeded Watt trailed in the round of 32 match against Filip Dzanko of DePaul, dropping the first set, 3-6. However, the senior battled back to claim the final two sets, 6-2, 7-5, to advance to the round of 16. There he took on Illinois' Bruno Abdeinour. Watt won the match in straight-sets, 6-3, 7-5. He will now meet No. 5 seed Devin McCarthy of Ohio State, who knocked out Notre Dame's Michael Moore in the round of 64 and has won all three matches of the tournament in two sets.
Fitzgerald, who one day earlier took down the No. 7 seed of the tournament in Ohio State's Nelson Vick, 6-4, 7-6, dropped Michigan's Alex Petrone, 6-1, 6-2. There the Wicklow, Ireland native met a familiar opponent in teammate Billy Pecor. Pecor advanced to meet Fitzgerald after taking out the tournament's No. 10 seed in Michigan's Shaun Bernstien in a hard-fought three-setter, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
As expected with teammates that know each other's games, the two played a tight match that went the distance. Pecor claimed set one, 7-5, but Fitzgerald rallied to win the final two sets, 7-5, 6-2. Pecor served for the match in set two, but Fitzgerald broke it and went on to tie the match up at one.
Fitzgerald will now take on No. 2 seed Chase Buchanan of Ohio State, who has virtually cruised through to the round of eight with three straight-set wins.
In addition to Pecor, senior Samuel Keeton, sophomore Greg Andrews and freshman Wyatt McCoy were all eliminated from the singles draw on day two. Keeton and Andrews each won their round of 32 matches, but fell in the round of 16. Keeton dropped Marquette's Dan Mamalat, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, before falling to No. 3 seed Evan King of Michigan, 6-0, 7-5. Andrews defeated DePaul's George Chanturia, 7-6, 6-3, before falling to No. 6 seed Peter Kobelt, 6-3, 6-4, who one round earlier had knocked off McCoy, 6-1, 6-2.
In doubles action, Talmadge and Fitzgerald cruised through two rounds on Saturday, winning 8-1 and 8-4. As the No. 3 seed, they will now meet the No. 6 seed duo of Van Engelen and McCarthy from Ohio State.
Pecor and Keeton put together an easy 8-1 victory over Lied and Linders of Michigan State, before falling to No. 3 seed Rola and Smith from Ohio State.
On the other side of the bracket, the No. 9 seeded Watt and Andrews took care of T. Ismail and Kabil of Youngstown State, 8-4, before upsetting the No. 8 seeded Bertha and Kostanov of Wisconsin, 9-7. They will now meet the bracket's No. 1 overall seeded duo of Buchanan and Kobelt of Ohio State.
In the consolation bracket, Michael Moore, Douglas Barnard, Michael Fredericka and Ryan Bandy all picked up wins. Moore, Barnard and Bandy put together three straight-set victories, but Fredericka saw a battle, as he finally disposed of Northwestern's Tobias Reitz, 7-6, 3-6, 10-4.