May 30, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. - -
University of Louisville junior Austen Childs defeated Auburn's Tim Puetz in the NCAA Singles Semifinals 7-6(2), 6-0 Sunday and will face Stanford's 13-ranked Bradley Klahn in Monday's title match at 2 p.m.
Childs, the 19th ranked player in the nation, edged No. 16 Puetz 7-6 (2) in the first set and rolled to a 6-0 victory in the second.
For the fourth time in five NCAA singles championship matches, Childs avenged a loss in the 2009-10 season. On Nov. 1, Puetz defeated Childs 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the South Carolina Fall Invitational.
"At the start, he [Tim Puetz] had a lot of momentum," said Childs. "He was dictating play. He had a few opportunities I just had to hang in there during the first set. Things really changed after the tiebreak. He got a little rattled and the pace of the match changed. I appreciate the support of the Louisville fans who drove down here just to see me play. I've been playing good out here. I'm lucky to be here. I could have lost in the second round, but I now I feel like there is no pressure."
Childs improves his singles record to 33-11 and is the first tennis player in Louisville history to compete for the national title. This is Childs' third consecutive season competing in the NCAA singles championship and the first time the two-time BIG EAST Player of the Year has advanced past the first round. He has now won five-straight matches, upsetting four higher ranked opponents, including the nation's top-ranked player along the way.
"I was really proud of Austen," said U of L head coach Rex Ecarma. "He stayed on script again. We really tried to simplify his passing shot targets. It looked like Tim Puetz was in control most of the first set and early in the tiebreaker. Once Austen took the tiebreaker, he dictated the match. His groundstrokes started getting bigger and deeper. He has seemed to close out these matches exactly the way a coach would design for him to close out. We've been keeping the mindset one match at a time and trying to stay away from talking about national championship. We appreciate the student-athletes who came down here to support us, they really made a difference. Today if you were here, it seemed like the Georgia Tennis Center became the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center and home court advantage for Austen. This was really a banner day for Louisville tennis, we couldn't have scripted it any better. If you have nothing better to do on Memorial Day, come to Athens and watch a Cardinal contend for a national championship."
WatchAusten Childs in action in the national championship.
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NCAA Singles Semifinals
May 30, 2010 - Athens, Ga.
#19 Austen Childs, LOUISVILLE vs. #16 Tim Puetz (9-16), AUBURN