May 26, 2012
By Matthew Pearce
ATHENS, Ga. --- Top seed and defending national champion Steve Johnson of Southern California advanced to the semifinals despite dropping his first set of the tournament. Johnson, who advanced to the quarterfinals after LSU’s Neal Skupski retired injured, defeated Virginia’s Alex Domijan 6-0, 5-7, 6-1 on Saturday to advance. Johnson’s match was the only men’s quarterfinal to go to three sets.
In the semifinal Johnson will face the 2010 champion Bradley Klahn of Stanford. Klahn came into the tournament unseeded after injuries disrupted his season but, after defeating the third seeded player he has faced in the tournament Klahn will play for a place in Monday’s final. He defeated Nik Scholtz of Mississippi in straight sets in the quarterfinal booking his place in the semi’s with a 6-1, 6-3 victory.
The biggest shock of the quarterfinals came with the elimination of second seed Mitchell Frank of Virginia. Having won his three previous matches in straight sets Frank was eliminated in the same fashion as Rola recorded a 7-6(5), 6-1 victory.
In the semifinal Rola will face third seed Eric Quigley of Kentucky. Quigley advanced after beating Duke’s Henrique Cunha in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.
Unlike the men’s tournament there will be no unseeded players in the women’s semifinal after the elimination of Southern California’s Sabrina Santamaria. Her elimination came at the hands of California’s 9-16 seed Zsofi Susanyi who recorded a 6-2, 7-6(4) victory.
The tournaments fifth seed Mallory Burdette of Stanford advanced to the semifinals with a straight sets victory over the second seed Beatrice Capra of Duke. Burdette’s victory came courtesy of a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 score. Burdette will meet Susanyi in the semis.
Top seed Allie Will of Florida also advanced to the semifinals with her fourth straight straight sets victory. Will eliminated the seventh seeded Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar on Texas A&M by a score line of 6-3, 6-3.
In the semifinal Will will face off against the third seed in Stanford’s Nicole Gibbs who moved into the next round with a win against California’s sixth seeded Jana Juricova. Gibbs won the match by a comfortable straight sets margin of 6-2, 7-5.
For the second consecutive round none of the women’s matches went into three sets.
The biggest surprise of doubles play came with the retirement of second seeded Southern California duo Steve Johnson and Roberto Quiroz. Having not lost a set prior to the quarterfinals Johnson and Quiroz lost the first to Texas Tech’s Raony Carvalho and Gonzalo Escobar and, trailing in the second, USC retired. Carvalho and Escobar moved into the semi-finals 6-2, 3-2 ret. inj.
Also going out was fourth seeded Klahn and Ryan Thacher of Stanford who were eliminated by Oklahoma’s Costin Paval and Dane Webb. The final score in the match was 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3.
Top seeded Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola of Ohio State moved into the men’s doubles semifinals as they comfortably defeated Kentucky’s 5-8 seed team of Panav Jha and Quigley. The Buckeye duo clinched the match by a final score of 6-3, 6-4.
The Thiemann brothers, Marcel and Chris, from Mississippi also advanced to the semifinals after the beat VCU’s Antoine Baroz and Alexis Heugas in three sets. The match was decided by tiebreak with the Thiemann’s winning 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(4).
In the women’s doubles the only remaining seed moved into the semifinal with a comfortable win. The second seeded team of Burdette and Gibbs from Stanford moved into the next round with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Lorraine Guillermo and Khunpark Issara of Pepperdine. The Stanford duo is yet to drop a set in the tournament.
Advancing to play Burdette and Gibbs is the Tennessee team of Natalie Plustoka and Kata Szekely. Having split the first two sets with Florida’s Joanna Mather and Lauren Embree, Plustoka and Szekely won the match on a tiebreaker clinching a final score of 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3).
The first team to make it through to the semifinals was Courtney Dolehide and Pamela Montez of UCLA. The Bruin duo needed three sets to defeat Ema Burgic and Nina Secerbegovic of Baylor but eventually prevailed 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
Hosts Georgia will have some representation in the semi-finals after the team of Chelsey Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist advanced to the next round. The Georgia duo advanced courtesy of a 6-1, 6-2 victory over California’s Juricova and Susanyi.