May 6, 2011
| Stay tuned to www.gostanford.com's Countdown To The Championships for daily coverage of the 2011 NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Championships in the form of feature stories, historical profiles, match previews, recaps and other tournament news. One of the nation's finest tennis venues, the Taube Family Tennis Center is playing host to its second combined men's and women's NCAA Tennis Championships, as the tournament's current format was introduced at Stanford in 2006.
In today's edition of Countdown To The Championships, we visit with Stanford junior Bradley Klahn, as he reflects on his incredible run to claiming last year NCAA Singles Championship. The nation's ninth-ranked player, Klahn's title defense in 2011 will take place on his home court.
| "We're really looking forward to the NCAA Championships this year at Stanford. It's nice to have it on the West Coast, as our players are very familiar with the courts and the electric atmosphere. Stanford does such a professional job when hosting events and there is so much tradition there. We're also excited to have our top doubles team of Rikus de Villiers and Remi Boutillier competing in the individuals tourney. Ranked 15th in the nation, they have been playing together for three straight years, possess incredible chemistry and have a chance to go far in the tournament."
Fresno State men's tennis head coach Jay Udwadia, whose No. 38 Bulldogs take on No. 19 Minnesota in a first round NCAA matchup next week in Berkeley, Calif. Fresno State is making back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances under Udwadia.
| Saturday, May 7: The most storied program in women's college tennis, Stanford has claimed 17 team titles (16 NCAA, 1 AIAW). Let's take a closer look.
Sunday, May 8: Happy Mother's Day! The relationships we have with our mothers are truly special, and that's no different for members of the Stanford tennis teams.
Monday, May 9: Check back for a breakdown of the first and second round opponents for the Stanford men and women.
Men's Tournament Central | Women's Tournament Central | NCAA Championships on Facebook
Men's Team Bracket | Women's Team Bracket | Individual Selections Announced
STANFORD, Calif.- Bradley Klahn etched his name in Stanford men's tennis history when he defeated Louisville's Austen Childs 6-1, 6-2 to capture the 2010 NCAA Singles Championship, becoming the school's first champion since 2000.
One of 14 collegiate singles champions in program history, Klahn finished 41-8 overall during an outstanding sophomore year.
Ranked No. 13 in the country at the time and one of eight No. 9-16 seeds in the tournament field, Klahn offered some match-by-match thoughts on last year's championship run in Athens, Ga.
FIRST ROUND (May 26): Klahn d. No. 59 Artem Baradach (SMU) 6-3, 6-2
Klahn: Being eliminated in the first round last year, I was feeling a few nerves ... I remember playing later in the afternoon and it being pretty hot and humid. I was really feeling it here, which I actually thought was surprising considering I had been there for awhile with plenty of days to train (Stanford lost to UCLA in the Round of 16 of the team portion on May 21, but Klahn remained in Athens) ... Had never seen him play before. Prior to the match, I was told he was a lefty and that was really about all I had to go on ... I got up on him early, but he battled back to 4-3 ... Was just playing kind of tight, trying to make it through ... Once I got this win under my belt, it felt like I was now officially "in" the tournament.
SECOND ROUND (May 27): Klahn d. No. 36 Borkis Conkic (Tennessee) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Klahn: Well, I woke up not feeling very sharp that morning, a little sluggish ... I was a step slow and just told myself to keep fighting and gutting through it ... One of those matches where I didn't feel like I played very well, but hung around and stayed competitive on another hot, humid day ... I was a little more familiar with him; he's another lefty. Actually played him in my second career match, which was at Stanford. That match was another battle (Klahn defeated Conkic in three sets on that day) ... I jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first set but he came back ... The second set was a struggle as well; he had some chances to go up an early break ... He started cramping in middle of the third, and even in the beginning of that set, I could sense him losing some quickness ... Coupe (assistant coach Brandon Coupe) was on court with me, talking through some strategy but it came down to me finding a way to get through ... Ryan (teammate Ryan Thacher) and I actually played him in doubles later that day, and it helped us because he was probably exhausted from our singles match."
ROUND OF 16 (May 28): Klahn d. No. 4 Guillermo Gomez (Georgia Tech) 6-4, 6-4
Klahn: This was a match where I think I finally relaxed a little more ... Since I was a No. 9-16 seed, if you go by the rankings, you would think I should have a been a favorite in those first two matches. Although I don't tend to look at the rankings very much ... Because he was the No. 4 seed and the first higher-seeded player I faced, I think I was more relaxed this time around ... Came out and tried to focus on my serve, making sure I was holding and playing smart points. Playing aggressively, looking to attack and using my forehand effectively ... During the first set he was serving real well, holding easily, and I wasn't winning many points ... In the second set, I had some chances early on but just kept sticking around and staying focused toward the end of the set ... As I got deeper into the sets, I made him hit a lot of extra balls and was able to break him down.
QUARTERFINALS (May 29): Klahn d. No. 33 Marcel Thiemann (Mississippi) 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4
Klahn: I had never seen this guy play and he was an unseeded player. All I knew is he had three really great wins to open up the tournament ... And he played a real attacking style, stepping in on my serves and putting me back on my heels from the start. Honestly, I was really surprised. He shocked me, right off the bat ... I wasn't moving well early and my energy was a little low ... After I lost the first set, my arm had been bugging me a little bit so I just tried to focus on holding my serve. I figured if I could just take care of my serve and put a lot of first serves in, I would be able to dictate with my forehand ... In the second set, we got to the tiebreaker and I played a really solid tiebreaker with no mistakes ... Go to the third set, and I had a lot of break opportunities and stuck with it even when he broke me early on ... Just stayed composed and in the moment- that was one of the most important things I did during the whole tourney ... Really, just a physically challenging match and I kept telling myself that I was the fresher player. I could tell he was getting tired and tried to seize that.
SEMIFINALS (May 30): Klahn d. No. 2 Henrique Cunha (Duke) 6-2, 6-2
Klahn: I had seen a lot of this guy, growing up playing with him through juniors and a lot of the same international Grand Slams ... Another lefty with a solid game. Pretty good serve, hits a clean, flat ball and moves well ... I knew it was going to be a good day, as I woke up feeling really good about my chances to play well on that day ... He was the No. 1 seed (Cunha was the tournament's No. 1 seed, but ranked No. 2 in the ITA rankings at the time of the match), so the pressure was on him ... I tried to impose my game on him, push him back, play aggressively and take him out of his element ... We had a rain delay there early in the second game, and after that I was able to save a break point ... Saving that break point got my energy rolling and I broke the next game, then steamrolled from there ... I never let up after that.
CHAMPIONSHIP (May 31): Klahn d. No. 19 Austen Childs (Louisville) 6-1, 6-2
Klahn: I watched a little bit of his match in the semis so I could scout ... He had a lot of support there. I think 10-15 of his college buddies had made the drive down for his previous match in the semis and they were even louder for the finals. But I was able to just block that out, worry about my game and what I can control ... Of course it's the final, so I was shaking a lot at the beginning and it was nerve-wracking. It definitely helped having Coach there, a guy like Whit who has been there before (head coach John Whitlinger was the 1974 Singles and Doubles champion). I was able to draw on his experiences to give me some guidance and settle me down ... The semis and final were by far my two best matches of the tournament. Everything was clicking and I wasn't making mistakes. It was all business and I was just really focused and determined ... Once I got into the match, I was just worrying about one point at a time and not thinking about the big picture ... I remember having to tough out the first game, although he held serve in the second. But then I won five straight. I was able to see his one-handed backhanded, attack that a little more and play smart but within myself ... Think I had four or five break points in the first game of the second set and he ended up holding. But I was able to build a solid lead from there, and had match points at 5-1 in the second ... From there I started thinking about winning, and got a little nervous ... Even trying to serve it out at 5-2, I was a little tight ... On match point, it was a big serve out wide and a forehand to win it.
by Brian Risso, Athletics Communications/Media Relations. Special thanks to Niall Adler.