TEMPE, Ariz. (Nov. 4) – National titles in men’s and women’s singles and doubles will be on the line this week when the 2019 Oracle ITA National Fall Championships open Wednesday (Nov. 6) at Newport Beach Tennis Club and The Tennis Club at Newport Beach in Newport Beach, Calif. Admission and parking to the five-day tournament are free.
Sunday’s singles finals at the Newport Beach Tennis Club will air live on ESPN3 with Bryan Fenley, Marc Lucero and Jasmine Minor describing the action. Both finals will re-air on ESPNU with dates and times to be announced. Complete draws will be released on Tuesday.
The tournament will open with the men’s competition taking place at The Tennis Club at Newport Beach and the women playing at Newport Beach Tennis Club Wednesday through Friday before all play moves to Newport Beach Tennis Club on Saturday and Sunday.
The Oracle ITA National Fall Championships features 128 of the nation’s top collegiate singles players (64 men and 64 women) and 64 doubles teams (32 men’s team and 32 women’s teams). In its third year, having replaced the ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, it is the lone event on the collegiate tennis calendar to feature competitors from all five divisions playing in the same tournament.
A total of 40 men and 40 women earn automatic qualification into the singles draw based on their performance in a series of prior fall events (Oracle ITA Masters, Milwaukee Tennis Classic, ITA All-Americans, ITA Cup and ITA Regionals). Additionally, one Oracle Wild Card, two ITA Wild Cards and 21 at-large selections per gender receive entry into the championships. The doubles championships provide 19 automatic qualifiers per gender, with one Oracle Wild Card, two ITA Wild Cards and 10 at-large selections completing the field. (Selection Criteria)
The 2019 Oracle ITA National Fall Championships will produce new champions in all four main draws. USC’s Daniel Cukierman will be seeking to improve upon his runner-up finish from a year ago when he fell in the men’s final to Wake Forest’s Petros Chrysochos in Surprize, Ariz.
USC leads the men’s singles draw with four selections (Mor Bulis, Cukierman, Stefan Dostanic and Riley Smith), while Ohio State, Texas and Texas A&M each have three individuals expected to compete. Baylor, Iowa and Oklahoma State pace all schools with two doubles teams.
North Carolina tops all schools with four players (Sara Daavettila, Alexa Graham, Cameron Mora and Alle Sanford) in the women’s singles draw, followed by California, Duke, NC State, Oklahoma State, UCF and UCLA with three individuals. The Bruins lead the doubles draw with three teams, while NC State, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, UCF and USC each have two teams.
Four of the top 10-ranked individuals in the Oracle ITA Division I Preseason National Rankings are in the men’s singles draw, including No.2 Christian Sigsgaard (Texas), No. 4 Yuya Ito (Texas), No. 8 Cukierman (USC) and No. 9 Jack Lin (Columbia). Ito and Cukierman qualified for the Fall National Championships after capturing the ITA All-American Championships and Oracle ITA Masters Championships, respectively.
The men’s singles draw also includes ITA Cup Champions Alejandro Ibanez Gallego (Barry University; NCAA DII), Jose Dugo (Georgia Gwinnett College; NAIA) and Oscar Gabriel Ortiz (Seward County Community College; Junior College).
Seven of the top 10-ranked individuals in the Oracle ITA Division I Preseason National Rankings are in the women’s singles draw, including No.2 Estela Perez-Somarriba (Miami, Fla.), No. 4 Alexa Graham (North Carolina), No. 5 Kelly Chen (Duke), No. 6 Michaela Gordon (Stanford), No. 7 Sara Daavettila (North Carolina), No. 8 Anna Rogers (NC State) and No. 9 Jada Hart (UCLA).
Perez-Smomarriba defeated Georgia’s Katarina Jokic in last spring’s NCAA singles final, preventing Jokic from accomplishing the rare feat of winning two national singles titles in the same season. The Bulldogs’ sophomore captured the 2018 Oracle ITA National Fall Championships. Among her wins was a semi-final victory over Vanderbilt’s Christina Rosca who will be competing this week.
The women’s singles draw also includes ITA Cup Champions Tatiana Simova (ASA Miami; Junior College), Elyse Lavender (Brenau; NAIA), Justine Leong (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps; NCAA DIII) and Berta Bonardi (West Florida; NCAA DII).
The second-ranked Texas Tech duo of Parker Wynn/Bjorn Thomson, which reached the finals a year ago before falling to UNC Asheville’s Oli Nolan and Henry Patten, is the highest ranked men’s doubles team in the field. The top-ranked NC State tandem of Anna Rogers/Alana Smith highlight the women’s doubles field along with the North Carolina duo of Makenna Jones and Cameron Morra. The Tar Heels team reached the semifinals in 2018.
A series of events around the tournament are planned as Oracle will host a Pickleball and Pints Party at The Tennis Club on Friday, Nov. 8. The event is scheduled from 6-8:30 p.m. and the public is welcome. A Question-and-Answer session on the recruiting process and college tennis with college coaches will take place Sunday at the Newport Beach Tennis Club beginning at 10 a.m. Finals Sunday will also include a Family BBQ starting at 11 a.m.
About the Intercollegiate Tennis Association
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is committed to serving college tennis and returning the leaders of tomorrow. As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA oversees men’s and women’s varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College divisions. The ITA administers a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men’s and women’s varsity players, coaches and teams in all divisions, providing recognition for their accomplishments on and off the court. For more information on the ITA, visit the ITA website at www.itatennis.com, like the ITA on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.