Tomorrow’s national championship matchups are set as the semifinals wrapped up Thursday at the NCAA Division I Men’s & Women’s Tennis Individual Championships.
In women’s singles, defending national champion and No. 2 seed Estela Perez-Somarriba (Miami) defeated Oregon’s Janice Tjen 7-6(4), 6-0 to advance to her second consecutive national championship match. The win also tied the record for all-time NCAA tournament wins at 17, which she will break with a victory tomorrow. She’ll face No. 3 seed Emma Navarro, as the Virginia freshman knocked off the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Sara Daavettila of North Carolina, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to set up an all-ACC final.
Fresh off winning the men’s team championship with Florida, No. 6 seed Sam Riffice knocked off No. 1 seed Liam Draxl of Kentucky, 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-1, to advance to the men’s singles final. He’ll now face the tournament No. 2 seed, South Carolina’s Daniel Rodrigues in an all-SEC final, as Rodrigues advanced after Baylor’s Adrian Boitan retired while Rodrigues led 7-6(1), 3-1.
“It’s incredible,” Sam Riffice said about reaching the NCAA finals tomorrow. “I mean, it’s really incredible. There are so many good players in college tennis, especially this year I feel like the draw was so deep with some of the fifth-years and some of those guys. To be able to be in the finals, it’s a huge accomplishment for me.”
Navarro came up just short of also advancing to the women’s doubles final, as she and partner Rosie Johanson fell in a super-tiebreaker to Kylie Collins and Lulu Sun of Texas, 4-6, 7-5, [10-8]. They’ll face the fourth-seeded pair of Makenna Jones and Elizabeth Scotty of North Carolina, who defeated Anna Rogers and Alana Smith of NC State, 6-3, 6-4.
“It feels really good,” Emma Navarro said after her semifinal win. “I’ve worked really hard this season and I wasn’t feeling my best at the start of this tournament. I was feeling a little tired, a little worn out. So I’m happy with how I was able to fight today
and the past four or five days and get to this point. It’s really special playing for a school like UVA. I’m very grateful.”
And finally, in men’s doubles, tomorrow’s final will also feature two SEC teams as Auburn’s Tad Maclean and Finn Murgett knocked off Pepperdine’s Guy Den Ouden and Adrian Oetzbach 6-4, 6-1. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s third-seeded pair of Adam Walton and Pat Harper defeated Baylor’s Constantin Frantzen and Sven Lah, 7-5, 6-4.