Finals Await Tulsa Doubles Team
Nov. 5, 2011
FLUSHING, N.Y. - Senior Ashley Watling and junior Clifford Marsland are one win shy of winning Tulsa's first national championship since 2006. The No. 4-ranked doubles team, seeded third in the tournament, won their semifinal match in straight sets Saturday morning at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center.
Watling and Marsland defeated No. 36 Nassim Slilam and Billy Federhofer of Florida 6-3, 7-5 in the semifinals of the 2011 USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Men's Doubles Championship.
"Cliff and I are playing very solid right now and taking care of the basics like we always do," Watling said. "Our volleys have been getting us through the matches, and I think that's probably the best part of our game."
Marsland agrees that attacking the net has been one of the biggest assets in their success as a doubles team.
"We weren't trained to serve-and-volley on every point, but we have learned the craft because we're from England and Australia, where we play on grass more as youngsters," Marsland said. "We learned old tricks that some people around here don't know about. I'd say we have an advantage in that respect, but it's a double-edged sword because the courts are so slow these days that you can't really use it in singles anymore."
They will now face the No. 3 team of Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola (Ohio State) in Sunday's championship match at 9 a.m. (CST).
Buchanan and Rola, seeded second in the tournament, dispatched of No. 5 Nick Andrews and Christoffer Konigsfeldt (California) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in their half of the bracket. Buchanan and Rola won the outdoor ITA All-American championship that was hosted by Tulsa back in early October.
Watling and Marsland are looking to become the first USTA/ITA Indoor National Champions in school history. Their win Saturday made them the first players from Tulsa ever to advance to the finals of either the singles or doubles draw at this tournament.
"Reaching the finals of the National Indoors is something that you can only do once a year, so we are both very excited for the final tomorrow," Watling said. "This is my last year as well, so to make it to the final is a good achievement."
A victory Sunday would make them just the second national champions in school history and the first since 2006, when Arnau Brugues captured the outdoor ITA All-American singles championship.
2011 USTA/ITA NATIONAL INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Flushing N.Y.
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