Vloedgraven captures ITA Northeast Regional
October 19, 2010Tweet
Binghamton men’s tennis senior Sven Vloedgraven successfully defended his ITA Northeast Regional singles title, capturing his second straight crown with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-0 win over ninth-seeded Matija Pecotic of Princeton on Oct. 19 at Yale’s Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.
Vloedgraven now advances to the 2010 USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, Nov. 4-7, at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing.
Top-seeded Vloedgraven, ranked No. 84 and the defending regional champion, won six matches in five days to capture the 2010 title. A total of 96 players began in the singles draw, which historically is dominated by the Ivy League schools. En route to his title, Vloedgraven eliminated three players from host Yale and knocked off a pair of Princeton opponents. His other win came against a foe from America East rival Stony Brook.
In Tuesday’s final, Vloedgraven won the opening set before dropping the second set 7-5. He broke Pecotic to open the third and deciding set however, and never looked back, roaring to a 6-0 finish.
“It’s a great accomplishment for Sven to win this tournament two consecutive years, especially this year having the pressure of being the top seed and defending champion,” head coach Adam Cohen said. “He had to battle back to win a few of his early-round matches and having those tough matches helped him in the final. Sven is so steady and plays the big points so tough ... it makes him very hard to beat.”
One year ago, a fourth-seeded Vloedgraven won six matches in the 128-man draw at Dartmouth to become the first BU player to win the prestigious ITA event. Vloedgraven agreed that this year’s title was even more special given the added challenge of being the defending champion.
“It was definitely harder because I was the favorite,” he said. “Nobody expected me to win last year but this year I was the guy to beat. The first three matches were harder this year. I’m very happy ... this is my best tennis accomplishment.”
Vloedgraven’s achievements run long off the page since he emerged as a national-caliber player last fall. After leading the team to its historic 25-2 season last year, he earned a berth into the NCAA Singles Championship and a final ranking of No. 1 in the Northeast and No. 115 in the nation. He began the fall at No. 84 but early this fall had to shake off the rust. Consider the rust removed.
“I didn’t play too much this summer but I’ve gotten better each week in the fall,” he said. “I just try to keep improving.”
Now Vloedgraven will return to the ITA national event with more confidence.
“I have more experience than last year,” he said. “But there will be 31 guys ranked higher than me at the event. I think I have a shot to win a round this time.”
The singles draw is comprised of the 12 regional winners across the country, four All-American semifinalists, the Super Bowl Champion (winner of the NCAA III, NCAA II, NAIA, and JUCO playoff), two host wild cards, 12 at-large bids and one ITA wildcard.
Last year, Vloedgraven lost matches to the seventh and then fourth-seeded player to bow out.
Vloedgraven’s win over Pecotic avenged the Princeton player’s 6-3, 6-3 win over BU senior Arnav Jain (No. 116) in Monday’s quarterfinals. Jain, the 11th-seed, upset fifth-seeded Andy Gauthier of Cornell, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in his fourth-round match. In earlier rounds, Jain dropped Roope Kailaheimo (Stony Brook), 6-3, 6-2, and Mike Hill (Brown), 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
“Arnav had a good tournament,” Cohen said. “He beat one of the top players in the region (Gauthier of Cornell).”