Miseviciute Repeats, Koniecko Wins Battle of the Buckeyes at ITA Indoor
by Colette Lewis
, 17 November 2008
Arkansas's Aurelija Miseviciute handled the pressure of defending her ITA Indoor title, downing Clemson's Ani Mijacika for the second straight year, this time by a 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 score, while Ohio State's Bryan Koniecko survived a different kind of tension, winning his first national title by defeating teammate Justin Kronauge 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.
After three years in Columbus, the ITA Indoor moved to the Boar's Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va., the home of the University of Virginia
's tennis programs. But for No. 1 seed Miseviciute and No. 2 seed Mijacika, the venue change was incidental, with both sweeping through the 2008 draw without the loss of a set.
In 2007, the championship match between the two was decided in a third set tiebreaker, but this year's final began with Mijacika playing at a level that far exceeded her previous form, giving Miseviciute little hope of extending it to three sets.
"I was a little nervous, wasn't playing my best tennis, but she was playing great," said Miseviciute, a senior from Lithuania. "She was playing the best I've ever seen her play and I really couldn't do anything about it. My coach said hang in there, see what happens and maybe you can get back in the match."
Miseviciute did just that, limiting her unforced errors, while Mijacika's forehand, so devastating in the opening set, lost a bit of its aggression and power. Still, the junior from Croatia took a 4-1 lead in the third set, and then lost not a physical edge, but a mental one.