By Dan Johnson
ITA Director of Communications & Marketing
TEMPE, Ariz. – The opening weekend of the 2018 Division I National Tennis Championships did not disappoint.
While many of the host sites defending home turf and punched their respective tickets to Winston-Salem and the campus of Wake Forest University, site of the 2018 Division I National Tennis Championships, the big story were the unseeded teams that caused a disruption in the brackets.
On the men’s side, Mississippi shocked many with a 4-3 win at No. 4 Stanford on Sunday. The Rebels’ Finn Reynolds, a freshman, fought off four match points to rally and win his No. 6 singles match in three sets to clinch the contest for Ole Miss. It is the first Sweet Sixteen appearance for the Rebels since 2012. They’ll take on SEC foe and No. 13 seed Florida on Friday.
Alabama’s men’s team managed to score a pair of upsets in Tallahassee, defeating No. 23 Tulane 4-1 in the opening round and the host and 12th-seeded Seminoles 4-2 in the second round to book the Crimson Tide’s first trip to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2007, and fourth time in program history. Another all-SEC matchup awaits Alabama, as they will play No. 5 Texas A&M in the next round.
Speaking of the Seminoles, while the men’s team saw their season come to a close, the women are still in the mix, thanks to a huge 4-3 win over rival and 2017 Division I Women’s National Champion, Florida, in Gainesville. Florida State will see another unseeded team in the Round of 16, as Tulsa makes its first-ever appearance at the final site of an NCAA tournament. The Golden Hurricanes overcame No. 8 Oklahoma State 4-2 in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in the second round.
Back to the men and the University of Minnesota had an impressive showing in Norman, Oklahoma, as the Golden Gophers defeated Georgia 4-3 and the host and 14th-seeded Sooners 4-0 to advance to Winston-Salem. Minnesota will see a familiar foe in the Round of 16, as they’ll take on fellow Big Ten competitor and No. 3 seed Ohio State.
There will be a new national champion on the men’s side as well, as three-time defending national champs Virginia fell to host and No. 16 seed Columbia in the second round.
The ACC has the most teams remaining in the women’s draw with five (Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Duke and North Carolina), followed by the SEC with four. For the men, the SEC leads the way with five teams (Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Mississippi State) remaining, followed by the Big Ten with four.
Women’s Round of 16 – Thursday, May 17
No. 1 Vanderbilt vs. No. 16 Miami (Fla.) – 4 p.m.
Tulsa vs. Florida State – 4 p.m.
No. 5 Mississippi vs. No. 12 UCLA – 7 p.m.
No. 4 Georgia Tech vs. No. 13 Pepperdine – 7 p.m.
No. 3 Duke vs. No. 14 Northwestern – 9 a.m.
No. 6 Texas vs. No. 11 Texas Tech – 9 a.m.
No. 7 Georgia vs. No. 10 South Carolina – 12 p.m.
No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 15 Stanford – 12 p.m.
Men’s Round of 16 – Friday, May 18
No. 1 Wake Forest vs. No. 16 Columbia – 4 p.m.
No. 8 Illinois vs. No. 9 TCU – 4 p.m.
No. 5 Texas A&M vs. Alabama – 7 p.m.
No. 13 Florida vs. Mississippi – 7 p.m.
No. 3 Ohio State vs. Minnesota – 12 p.m.
No. 6 Mississippi State vs. No. 11 Texas – 12 p.m.
No. 7 North Carolina vs. No. 10 USC – 9 a.m.
No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 15 Michigan – 9 a.m.
*All times listed as Eastern Daylight Time.