Virginia's Jenkins heads to NCAA title matches for both singles, doubles
URBANA, Ill. -- Virginia senior Jarmere Jenkins will play for both NCAA individual championships on Monday after a pair of semifinal victories on Sunday at the Atkins Tennis Center. Jenkins followed a singles semifinal victory in the afternoon with a doubles semifinal victory with Mac Styslinger in the evening.
On Monday, Jenkins will look to become the fourth player of the modern era (since 1977) to win the NCAA Tennis Triple Crown by capturing the team, singles and doubles title in the same season. Alex O'Brien of Stanford was the first to accomplish the feat in 1992 and was followed Bob Bryan of Stanford in 1998 and Matias Boeker of Georgia in 2001. Boeker is the last player to reach both the men's singles and doubles final in the season.
Jenkins, the singles tournament's No. 3 seed, reached the final with a 7-6(1), 7-6(3) semifinal victory against No. 9-16 seed Sebastian Fanselow of Pepperdine.
The match began outdoors and Fanselow was up a break 2-1 when the rain came and moved the match indoors. Jenkins broke Fanselow in the first game indoors to get back on serve and both players held the rest of the way to go to a tiebreaker. Jenkins dominated the breaker, winning it 7-1 to take the opening set.
In the second set, the players remained on serve until Jenkins broke to take a 4-3 lead. Fanselow broke back in the next game and the second set also went to a tiebreaker. Jenkins once again played some of his best tennis in the breaker, winning it 7-3 to advance to the NCAA Singles Final.
Jenkins will play another No. 9-16 seed in Blaz Rola of Ohio State in the final. They met earlier this season at No. 1 singles in the Cavaliers' 4-3 victory against the Buckeyes in the semifinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 17. Rola won that match 6-4, 6-2. Jenkins won the two previous meetings, both in the fall of 2011 in the ITA All-American Championships and in the qualifying draw of the Charlottesville ATP Challenger.
It marks the fifth time a Cavalier will play for the NCAA singles championship. Brian Vahaly was Virginia's first finalist in 2001 as he lost to Boeker. Somdev Devvarman reached the final three consecutive years from 2006-08, winning back-to-back titles in 2007, defeating John Isner of Georgia, and 2008, defeating Tennessee's John-Patrick Smith.
"It is an unbelievable feeling to have a chance to play for two national championships," Jenkins said. "I have been playing well and everything seems to be falling into place for me this week. It is going to be a great final against Blaz. He is the ultimate competitor who makes you work for every point. It is going to be a fun match."
In doubles, the fourth-seeded duo of Jenkins and Styslinger topped second-seeded Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler of Duke 7-5, 6-3. They become the third Virginia team to reach the NCAA doubles final. Michael Shabaz and Dominic Inglot won the title in 2009 and Shabaz repeated as champion in 2010, teaming with Drew Courtney.
In the semifinal match, Jenkins was broken twice early as the Blue Devil team went up two breaks 5-2. The Cavalier pair broke Hemmeler's serve to get one break back just as the rain returned. The match had a break of more than an hour as the courts were dried. Following the stoppage, the Cavalier team won four consecutive games to take the first set 7-5.
The Virginia pair carried that momentum into the second set as they took a 4-1 lead. But after a brief delay because of a nosebleed for Styslinger, the Duke team rallied to get back on serve at 4-3. However, the Cavaliers broke Hemmeler's serve at love, their fourth break of his serve of the match, to take a 5-3 lead before Styslinger served out the match at love.
Styslinger and Jenkins will play unseeded Chris Camillone and David Holiner of Texas in the final. The Longhorn pair, ranked No. 41 nationally, have upset the No. 1 seed, a 5-8 seed and the No. 3 seed in the last three rounds. The two teams played in March during the Virginia-Texas dual match in Austin. Jenkins and Styslinger led 5-3 in a match that did not finish as the Cavaliers had already clinched the doubles point.
"I am just happy to be here and playing with Jarmere in this tournament," Styslinger said. "We are really looking forward to playing for a national championship. We know that the Texas team is really hot right now and are playing some great doubles. It should be a good match."