May 31, 2010
By Andy Johnston
Special to NCAA.com
ATHENS, Ga. – Bradley Klahn already plans to make more trips to Stanford’s trophy room.
He’s going to stop by and the check out his photo hanging on the wall next to the school’s other NCAA champions, players like John McEnroe, Tim Mayotte, Bob Bryan, and even his coach John Whitlinger, who won his in 1974.
“I look at all the greats of Stanford tennis who are up there, but I didn’t want to think about that too much until now,” Klahn said. “That would have made me even more nervous.”
Klahn has a reservation for his place of honor thanks to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Louisville’s Austen Childs on Monday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. He is the Cardinal’s 14th men’s singles champion and ninth since the NCAA adopted its current format in 1977.
“It is a special place to be, no question,” Whitlinger said. “The pictures are different sizes. McEnroe has got a pretty big one. Alex O’Brien (does, too). I’ve got a pretty small one. (Klahn’s) is probably going to be smaller than mine, but that’s OK. Naw, it’s a great honor to be on that wall.”
Stanford also won the women’s doubles title on Monday as Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette added to the women’s team championship they helped capture last Tuesday night.
Klahn, who lost in the first round last year, entered this tournament ranked 13th and won his final nine matches and 13 of 14 to finish 41-8.
He ended Childs’ extraordinary run by finally eliminating the Louisville junior who was unseeded, but knocked off four players who had defeated him during the regular season en route to the final.
Louisville coach Rex Ecarma had even compared Childs to the Butler men’s basketball team, which advanced to the championship game before losing to Duke this spring.
“I played really well this week, and I’m pretty happy,” Childs said. “It wasn’t a good draw for me at all. I had lost to nearly everyone that I had to play, but came out in the first round and (beat Tennessee’s John-Patrick Smith) and that gave me a lot of confidence. Now I believe that I can come out and play with anybody … if I go out and compete, I know that I can beat anyone.”
Klahn dominated on Monday, though, winning his second straight match in two sets. He defeated top-seeded Henrique Cunha of Duke 6-2, 6-2 in Sunday’s semifinals.
Against Childs, Klahn lost the first game of the second set, but then won five consecutive games. Childs won the next one before Klahn became Stanford’s first men’s singles champ since Alex Kim in 2000.
“Bradley worked his way through the tournament and got here the right way,” Whitlinger said. “He had a couple of matches early that could have gone either way. But he got hot at the right time and finished off what has been a great year.
“Before the match, I told him to stay in the moment. You can’t get caught up with what has happened before or what could happen in the future. You have to play each point and focus on the present.”
DOUBLES: Virginia’s Michael Shabaz became the first men’s player to win consecutive doubles titles since 1990-91 when he and partner Drew Courtney defeated Tennessee’s John-Patrick Smith and Davey Sandgren 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-3.
Shabaz teamed with Dominic Inglot to win last year’s championship and joins California’s Matt Lucena, who won doubles titles with different partners in 1990-91.
“Last year, we felt like, me and Dom, playing dual matches toward the end, we kind of felt like we were the best team,” Shabaz said. “We had beaten a lot of the top teams. This year, we talked a lot about it, me and Drew. I felt like we had the ingredients to win it. We can’t be more happy than we are right now.”
The title continued Virginia’s championship string to four years.
Somdev Devvarman won the men’s singles title in 2007 and ’08.
Shabaz and Courtney were unseeded, but defeated the first, second and fourth seeds on the way to the championship.
“It’s pretty sweet, pretty sweet,” Courtney said.