ATHENS, Ga. - Mikael Torpegaard's run in the NCAA Singles Championship came to an end on Friday as he fell in straight sets to Virginia's Thai-Son Kwiatkowski.
Torpegaard fell behind an early break in the first and would end up falling 6-1 in the opening set. He took the first break of the second set but Kwiatkowski got it back on serve midway through and they two headed to a tiebreaker. In the breaker, Torpegaard won the first two points but the Cavalier then won seven of the next eight points to win the break and the match 7-3.
Torpegaard earned his second-straight singles All-America honor this season and finished the year with a 38-5 overall mark. He was named a first team All-Big Ten honoree for the third-straight year and was the ITA Team Indoor National Championship Most Outstanding Player.
May 25, 2017
Ohio State All-American Mikael Torpegaard continued his run in the NCAA Singles Championship with a quick straight set win but both Buckeye doubles teams would fall on Thursday afternoon.
Torpegaard couldn't have asked for a better start to the day as he dispatched of UCF's Korey Lovett in less than 50 minutes. He broke Lovett in his second and third service games and then closed out the first set with a love hold for a 6-1 win. Torpegaard jumped ahead with another break in the first game of the second set and then won a deuce point for another break and a 4-1 lead. The Denmark native finished the match with yet another break and a 6-1, 6-1 victory.
"The easy answer for me is everything. Everything was working pretty much," Torpegaard said when asked about the strong parts of his game. "I started out the match hitting a high first-serve percentage and putting [Lovett] under a lot of pressure. Got an early break and kept holding serve and that got me a lot of confidence in both sets. I was able to hit out a little bit more and ride the wave, and I felt like everything worked out."
"I hope that I can continue going through this tournament getting better, and getting more and more used to the courts and trust my game more," he continued. "I obviously need to play high-level tennis to beat these players. I've made it this far, so I need to continue a good mentality and play my game."
He advances to face Virginia senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski who is coming off a third-straight team national championship.
Martin Joyce and Hugo Di Feo took on the host and top-seeded team of Jan Zielinski and Robert Loeb in the first round of the doubles tournament. The Buckeyes broke the Dawg duo in the very first game and would hold serve throughout the first for a 6-4 victory. In the second, neither team would give up a serve until Zielinski and Loeb won a big deuce point at 6-5 to take the set 7-5 and send the match to a deciding super-tiebreak. The Bulldogs ran off the first six points in the race to 10 and would eventually close out the match 10-1.
Joyce and Di Feo had a good run this season. The pair won 24 matches while only losing three times this spring.
Torpegaard and Pollanen capped the day with their doubles match against Mike Redlicki and Jose Salazar of Arkansas. The Buckeyes took control of the match early in the first set and won the opening set 6-2. The Razorback duo took back the momentum in the second as they turned the tables with a 6-2 set win of their own. Redlicki and Salazar then kept the momentum in the super tiebreak to win the match 10-5.
May 24, 2017
Ohio State junior Mikael Torpegaard won his opening round match in the NCAA Singles Championship on Wednesday in straight sets over Oregon's Thomas Laurent. He advances to face UCF's Korey Lovett in the second round. Hugo Di Feo and JJ Wolf also competed on Wednesday but both fell in three-set matches.
-- Vira Halim is a contributor for GeorgiaDogs.com and is covering the championships in Athens. Below is her recap of Torpegaard's opening round match --
After coming up short in the semifinals of the NCAA men's tennis team championships, Ohio State's No. 1 seed Mikael Torpegaard returned to play in the NCAA men's singles national championships and defeated Thomas Laurent of Oregon (7-5, 6-2) in straight sets to advance to the round of 32.
After falling into a 3-5 hole in the first set and down set point, Torpegaard rallied to win seven consecutive games and seize control of the match.
"I thought to myself, if I have to lose, might as well lose right, so I tried to hit the ball and go out with a bang," said Torpegaard. "That's honestly my thought process at 3-5, down set point, you know, got lucky on a couple shots there and then I caught on fire and found my serve and it got a little bit easier from there on out."
Ohio State began singles play with three players representing the Buckeyes. No. 1 seed Mikael Torpegaard, No. 7 seed Hugo Di Feo, and freshman early enrollee JJ Wolf. The Buckeyes fell to national champion Virginia in the semifinals of the team championships on Sunday, May 22.
"They give so much to the team event, they're tired, you know it's such a process," said head coach Ty Tucker. "If he can make sure that he's serving well, he can be a threat in this tournament."
Tucker has made sure his team reenergizes physically with ice baths, stretching and rest and the coach is confident in their mental mindsets.
"They just look at me and they get mentally tough," Tucker joked. "Just tell the guys it's two hours. Everything you have for two hours."
Torpegaard was the No. 1 seed in the 2016 men's singles national championships and finished runner-up.
"It's not funny playing with a target on your back at all times, you know, everything to lose and nothing really to win," said Torpegaard. "So it's something that's stuck all the time in the back of my head."
With the win today, Torpegaard advances to the round of 32 and will play Korey Lovett of UCF.
Di Feo was the first Buckeye to take the court on Wednesday as he faced No. 59 Emil Reinberg of host Georgia in the opening round. Reinberg grabbed the first break midway through the first set and would take the opener 6-3. Di Feo then lost the first three games of the set second to find himself in a hole. But the All-American fought his way back and won a crucial deuce point to even the set at 5-5.
After being broken in the ensuing service game, Di Feo again found himself in a hole, facing three match points. He proceeded to win all three points and force a second-set tiebreak. In the breaker, he won the first five points and cruised to a 7-1 victory.
Di Feo kept the momentum at the onset of the third set and went up a break at 2-1. But Reinberg would break Di Feo in each of the Buckeye's next three service games and the Bulldog would go on to take the match 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-3.
Di Feo's singles career ends with 53 victories over the last two seasons and he is just the 12th Buckeye to earn singles All-American honors. He will join Martin Joyce on Thursday to begin the doubles championship.
Wolf was taking on UNC freshman William Blumberg, who earlier this week was named the ITA National Rookie of the Year. Blumberg went up a break early in the first set and led 4-2 when rain delayed the match. After the delay, he would hold serve to win the opening set 6-3.
Wolf responded by winning the first five games of the second set and would force a deciding set with a 6-1 victory. In the third, the players traded breaks to open the set and then Blumberg broke again to take a 3-1 lead. The Tar Heel also won a crucial deuce point on the ensuing serve and Wolf found himself in a 4-1 hole. They would then trade holds the next four games and Blumberg would take the set and the match 6-3.
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