TULSA, Okla. – The margins between victory and defeat are often narrow.
Nuno Borges of Mississippi State knows and understands how just a couple of points can turn the tide – and ultimately the decision – in a match.
That’s why the senior let out an impassioned yell after he battled past UCLA’s Keegan Smith in a tight three-set affair 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 on Friday in a Round of 32 contest at the 2018 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the University of Tulsa campus.
The reigning SEC Player of the Year and 2017 Oracle ITA National Fall Championships singles champion, Borges said his experience playing in high-stakes matches such as Friday’s helps, but only so much.
“Going through this kind of pressure helps, but it’s still so different,” said Borges, who also received the 2018 ITA Division I Men’s National Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award. “I’m playing different guys with different strategies and everyday is a different challenge. I think I can deal with the pressure better because I’ve been through it a few times.”
One way to deal with the pressure is feeding off the energy of your teammates, and Borges is thankful to have his coaches and teammates watching and cheering him on in Tulsa.
“We have the same team, essentially, as last year, with a couple of new guys,” said Borges. “It’s been good for us to spend the tournament together and it’s more fun when guys are here supporting each other during the matches.”
In the Round of 16 on Saturday, Borges will face Tulsa’s Majed Kilani. Kilani scored a straight set victory over USC’s Daniel Cukierman 6-4, 6-4 in Fridays’ Round of 32.
Just two of the Top 8 seeds in the singles draw remain; No. 1 Borges of Mississippi State and No. 6 Thomas Laurent of Oregon. Laurent advanced to the Round of 16 with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Henry Patten of UNC Asheville.
Three seeded singles players fell for the second straight day, with Emil Reinberg of Georgia topping No. 8 Mitch Harper of Virginia Tech 7-5, 6-4, Axel Geller of Stanford rolling past No. 3 Giovanni Oradini of Mississippi State 6-3, 6-2 and Bar Botzer of Wake Forest taking down No. 2 Mazen Osama of Alabama in three sets 6-0, 6-7, 6-3.
In doubles, Florida’s Brian Berdusco and Johannes Ingildsen had the biggest win of the day, as the Gator duo topped SEC foe and No. 2 seed out of Vanderbilt, Cameron Klinger and Billy Rowe 6-3, 6-1. Berdusco and Ingildsen advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinal round with the victory. Florida teammates Andy Andrade and Oliver Crawford are also through to the quarterfinals.
A day after defeating the No. 1 seed, Cal’s Jacob Brumm and Yuta Kikuchi advanced to the quarterfinals following a straight set win in the Round of 16 over Virginia Tech’s Carlo Donato and Harper. The Golden Bears will meet the another Lucky Loser team in the quarters; Ohio State’s Alex Kobelt and Kyle Seelig.
Saturday’s play will feature two rounds of Main Draw singles, beginning with Round of 16 play at 9 a.m. CDT, while the main draw doubles enters the quarterfinal round. For updated draws, schedules, live scoring and video, photo gallery and main draw recaps, visit the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships event page .