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2014 USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships Getting Underway

6 Nov, 2014


Event Being Hosted by Columbia University at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

The 2014 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships are about to be played  at the USTA Billie Jean National King Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The event, which begins today, runs through November 9.

The USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships serve as the culmination of the fall college tennis season. Hosted by Columbia University, this prestigious event features a 32-player singles draw and a 20-team doubles draw for both men and women. This is the fifth consecutive year the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships will be held at the home of the US Open.

Gaining automatic entry into the tournament are the men's and women's champions from each of the 12 Division I USTA/ITA Regional Championships held across the country in October, winners of the USTA/ITA National Small College Super Bowl, singles quarterfinalists from the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships, singles semifinalists from the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships and consolation champions and doubles finalists from both All-American events.

The men's singles field competing for the ITA's final national title of the fall showcases eight of the Top 10 players from the ITA Division I Men's Preseason Singles Rankings. Twenty-six different colleges and universities will be represented in the 32-player singles draw. The women's singles draw features six of the Top 10 players from the ITA Division I Women's Preseason Singles Rankings. Twenty schools are represented in the women's singles draw, with California, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina leading the way with three players each. Three schools have two singles players in the women's field.

On the women's side, last year's champion, Jamie Loeb of North Carolina, is back to defend her title. She is seeded first after entering the season ranked No. 1 in the ITA Preseason Singles Rankings. Loeb is 3-1 in 2014-15 after a 53-4 freshman campaign last year. She won the singles consolation draw at the 2014 Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships to earn her bid into USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, a year after winning the Riviera/ITA All-American Championship main draw title as a freshman.

Loeb's lone loss this season came in the first round of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships to Maegan Manasse of California, the 43rd ranked player in the ITA Preseason Singles Rankings. Manasse is seeded fifth in Flushing after a stellar fall season in which she had three wins over top-25 competition.

Seeded second behind Loeb is UCLA's Chanelle Van Nguyen, who reached the final of this year's Riviera/ITA All-American Championships. At Riviera, each of Van Nguyen's four main draw victories came against players who qualified for this event: Josie Kuhlman and Brooke Austin, both of Florida, and Zsofi Susanyi and Manasse of California. Brooke Austin is seeded fourth and Manasse is fifth.

The third-seeded player in the women's draw is Hayley Carter, a teammate of Loeb's at North Carolina. Carter earned her bid by making a semifinal appearance at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships. She is ranked third in the ITA Preseason rankings.

The doubles field is comprised of twenty participating tandems from eighteen different schools, led by Clemson's Beatrice Gumulya and Jessy Rompies. Gumulya and Rompies, ranked 8th in the ITA Preseason rankings, earned their bid by winning the Riviera/ITA All-American doubles championship. The formidable Clemson duo defeated the No. 1, No. 6, No. 21 and No. 40 doubles teams en route to the Riviera title. They are the top seed at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.

Seeded second behind the Clemson pair is Auburn's Pleun Burgmans and Emily Flickinger, the 6th ranked doubles team in the ITA Preseason Rankings, who lost to Clemson's Gumulya and Rompies in the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships semifinals. Burgmans and Flickinger went on to win the 2014 USTA/ITA Women's Southeast Regional doubles championship a week later, earning an automatic bid into this week's championships.

Rounding out the seeds in the women's doubles draw are two teams from Cal: Klara Fabikova and Zsofi Susanyi, seeded third, and Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr, seeded fourth. Fabikova and Susanyi won the USTA/ITA Women's Northwest Regional doubles championship, while Manasse and Starr received the USTA Wildcard. Manasse and Starr are ranked 11th in the ITA Preseason Rankings.

A new men's singles champion will be crowned at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships this year, as none of this year's participants have gone all the way at Flushing before. Axel Alvarez Llamas of Oklahoma and Jared Hiltzik of Illinois are the most decorated singles players returning from last year's championships, both having made the semifinals. Hiltzik advanced one match further into last year's title match, finishing as runner-up to UCLA's Clay Thompson after a 6-4, 7-5 loss in the championship.

Louisville's Sebastian Stiefelmeyer sits atop the draw as the number one seed, earned after an incredible performance at the 2014 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships this October. Stiefelmeyer first won three matches in the qualifying draw to advance into main draw play. His run to the championship continued with main draw wins over six ITA preseason ranked players including No. 5 Søren Hess-Olesen (Texas) in the second round and No. 2 Yannick Hanfmann (USC) in the finals.

Stiefelmeyer may ultimately face a couple of his vanquished Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships foes again this week. Hanfmann is seeded second and Hess-Olesen is seeded eighth.

Joining Stiefelmeyer and Hanfmann as top-five seeds are Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA), Julian Lenz (Baylor) and Romain Bogaerts (Wake Forest). McDonald entered the 2014 season as the 13th ranked player in the ITA Preseason Singles Rankings, and posted an 11-1 record this fall, winning the USTA/ITA Southwest Regional Championship and the Main Draw Consolation Bracket at the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships. Lenz began the year as the No. 1 ranked player in the ITA Preseason Singles Rankings. Lenz is 3-1 this fall with his lone defeat coming at the hands of Virginia's Kwiatkowski in the ITA Men's All-American Championships. Bogaerts is 4-1 this fall with three top-25 wins and a semifinals appearance at the ITA Men's All-American Championships, where he lost to Hanfmann.

The doubles field is led by top-seeded Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz of USC. The USC seniors are 4-1 this season and made the finals of the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships, where they lost to the No. 1 doubles team in the country. Hanfmann and Quiroz entered the season ranked No. 19 in the ITA Preseason Doubles Rankings.

Columbia's Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur, the reigning USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships doubles champions, are back in the draw this year. Ranked 6th in the ITA Preseason Doubles Rankings, the pair from Columbia is unseeded in this event, as they were last year before they ran the table for the title.

Roberto Cid and Sasha Gozun of South Florida are seeded second behind USC's Hanfmann and Quiroz. Ranked 12th in the ITA Preseason Doubles Rankings, Cid and Gozun are 11-1 together this fall and are champions of the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional. Their lone loss on the season came against Notre Dame's Alex Lawson and Billy Pecor, an at-large selection into the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships and one of two doubles teams in the draw from Notre Dame.

Seeded third and fourth respectively are Gonzales Austin and Rhys Johnson of Vanderbilt and Will Stein and Nick Chappell from TCU. Austin and Johnson won the 2014 USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional championship together, and made the quarterfinals of the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships, where they lost to Hanfmann and Quiroz. Stein and Chappell earned their place in the draw by winning the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships main draw doubles consolation bracket. The two seniors from TCU are 7-2 this year and have played together all four seasons, amassing a 53-23 record.

For complete coverage of the 2014 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, including access to draws, live scores and more, please visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis, or like the ITA Facebook page for updates and news from Flushing. Use the hashtag #NationalIndoors for all tweets in regards to the event, or search "NationalIndoors" to find others who are tweeting about the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.

About the ITA: As the governing body of collegiate tennis, the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which is comprised of nearly 1,700 men's and women's varsity coaches representing over 1,200 institutions, administers numerous regional and national championships and the ITA College Tennis Rankings for over 20,000 college varsity student-athletes at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior College levels. The ITA also has a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership and sportsmanship. The official ITA web site is ITAtennis.com

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