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Buckeyes Capture Men's Doubles Title at ITA/USTA National Summer Championships

Courtesy: Ohio State Athletics

- Members of both the Ohio State men's and women's tennis teams concluded the national collegiate circuit at the 2009 ITA/USTA National Summer Championships Tuesday at the Indiana University Varsity Tennis Center in Bloomington, Ind. Highlighting competition for the Buckeyes was on the men's side as rising juniors and No. 2-seed Matt Allareand Shuhei Uzawawon the doubles championship after defeating No. 4-seed Stephen Havens and Dan Stahl of Notre Dame, 8-2, in the final.

The victory over the Fighting Irish earn the Buckeye duo a wild card into the first national tournament of the 2009-10 collegiate tennis season - the D'Novo Men's All-American Championships in early October. On their way to the doubles title, Allare and Uzawa won five-consecutive matches.

"It's nice to gain tournament experience against good competition during the off-season," Allare said, a native of Mason, Ohio. "This will help us get ready for the upcoming season and earning a wildcard spot for the D'Novo Championships is always exciting."

Starting off the championships was singles action as a total of 10 members from both Buckeye squads competed against competition from across the nation. Six members from the women's squad were in action, while four Buckeyes from the men's squared off in the heart of Hoosier nation.

On the men's side, Uzawa and Allare received byes in the first round as they were the Nos. 3 and 5 seeds, respectively. Rising sophomore Steven Williamsand incoming freshman Peter Kobelt both won their opening rounds of the tournament. Williams downed Shaun Bussert of Ball State in straight sets 7-5, 6-3, while Kobelt, from New Albany, defeated Nicholas Volz of IUPUI 6-3, 6-0. In second-round action, three of the four Buckeyes advanced. Williams faced top-seed Alex Clayton of Stanford and lost 6-2, 6-4, against the singles All-American.

Third-round action picked up Sunday with Uzawa winning against South Florida's Mark Oljaca 6-1, 6-0. However, Allare and Kobelt both were knocked out of the tournament. Allare lost to Tyler Davis of Notre Dame 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (8) in a super tie breaker, while Kobelt dropped a 6-2, 6-2 descision to Alex DiValerio of Vanderbilt.

Uzawa, a native of Chiba, Japan, who finished his sophomore season with a 25-6 record, lost Monday in the fourth round against No. 9-seed Jonathan Wolf of Wake Forest, 7-5, 6-4.

Buckeye underclassmen Kobelt and Williams also competed in doubles action at the championships and grabbed two wins before losing against No. 5-8-seed Abraham Souza and Connor Roth of Illinoi, 8-6, in the third round.

In the singles bracket for the women six members of the team competed in the main draw including rising seniors Christina Keeseyand No. 4-seed Kirsten Flower, rising juniors No. 9-seed Paloma Escobedoand Cami Hubbs, rising sophomore Kelsey Havilandand incoming freshman Gabrielle Steele. Five of the six members received byes in the first round with the exception of Hubbs, who swept Janel Seng of IUPUI in straight sets 6-0, 6-0, during the opening round.

In the second round, No. 4-seed Flower downed Madalyn Kern of Colorado 6-1, 6-2, while No. 9-seed Escobedo took care of Louisville's Mandy Brown 6-1, 6-0. Keesey put away Rachel Denny of Western Michigan 6-2, 6-2, and Haviland advanced passed Denny's teammate Yumi Matsuto in straight sets 6-1, 6-2.  Incoming freshman Steele gained vital collegiate tournament experience and advanced past second-round action with a 6-1, 6-1, performance against Kalla Schaefer of UW-Whitewater. Hubbs was the lone Buckeye to drop out of the main draw after losing 6-1, 6-4 against No. 9-seed Christine McGaffigan of Notre Dame.

The third round seemed to have tough competition against the Buckeyes as only Flower was able to advance to the fourth round, winning 6-3, 6-2, against Courtney Collins of Memphis. Escobedo and Keesey both lost in super tie breakers against their opponents, while Steele dropped a 6-2, 6-2 match against top-seed Kristy Frilling of Notre Dame.

Flower, who had a team-high 19 singles wins last season as a junior, could not make it to the final eight of the tournament after losing 6-3, 6-1, Monday against No. 9-seed Alexa Guarachi of Alabama.

In doubles for the women, three Buckeye duos won a combined seven matches in the main draw of the tournament. Highlighting play for Ohio State was No. 5-8-seed Flower and Haviland as the two were able to advance to the semifinals of the championships before losing, 9-7, to No. 5-8-seed McGaffigan and Kristen Rafael of Notre Dame. No. 4-seed Keesey and Hubbs were the second Buckeye pair to advance to the quarterfinals, but lost to No. 5-8-seed Rosalia Alda and Maria Sorbello of Tennessee, 8-4.

The ITA/USTA National Summer Championships are the pinnacle of the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit, which was played at 27 regional sites throughout the country last month. A record 2,976 players participated in ITA Summer Circuit events this year.