Fourth-seeded William Blumberg won the 2017 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 6-4, 6-4 over UCLA’s Martin Redlicki Monday.
The third seed doubles team of Blumberg and Robert Kelly lost in the finals 6-7 (6), 6-3, 7-10 to fourth seed Florida’s Johannes Ingildsen and Alfredo Perez Monday.
The tournament, which was held at The University of Tulsa, spanned five days. Kelly and Blumberg were the lone Tar Heels that qualified.
Blumberg won six matches in the 64 person draw, including a win over top-seeded Mikael Torpegaard from Ohio State in the semifinals. Kelly was eliminated in the first round by Florida State’s Lucas Poullain.
Blumberg and Kelly were also the only North Carolina representatives in the 32-team doubles draw. The pair dropped only one set on their way to the final before falling in a third-set tiebreaker to Ingildsen and Perez.
Who stood out?
Blumberg cemented his status as one of the premier players in the country by reaching the championship match in both singles and doubles.
If Blumberg and Kelly had been able to take the final match, Blumberg would have become only the fifth player ever to win singles and doubles titles in the same year at the tournament.
When was it decided?
Blumberg was in control for most of his championship match. After claiming the first set, the sophomore broke Redlicki to open the second set and never looked back.
The championship doubles match, however, was a nail-biter. The teams split the opening two sets before the Florida pair won the deciding tiebreaker in a tight finish.
Why does it matter?
The strong tournament showing for the doubles team of Blumberg and Kelly means the team has the potential to be among the best in college tennis.
“I don’t think it was too shocking or big news to see them do well,” associate head coach Tripp Phillips said. “It reinforces that they’re on a good path and they’re doing some really good things, and hopefully their best tennis is in front of them.”
Blumberg’s title puts him on the short list of the best college tennis players in the country. The win gives the sophomore plenty of confidence going forward.
“You expect to win every match that you play,” Blumberg said. “If I didn’t expect to win, I probably wouldn’t step on the court to compete.”
Blumberg isn’t going to settle for his big tournament win, though.
“The ones that really matter are the ones in the spring,” Blumberg said. “The expectation is definitely to win the national championship in the spring. That’s the number one goal for me this year.”
With wins like those in Tulsa, a national championship is certainly possible.
When do they play next?
Next on the schedule for the men’s tennis team is the ITA Carolinas Regional at Duke from Oct. 13-17.
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