Nikolai Parodi Advances to NCAA Singles Quarterfinal Round with Two Opening Day Wins

Nikolai Parodi Advances to NCAA Singles Quarterfinal Round with Two Opening Day Wins

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Junior Nikolai Parodi won a pair of opening-day matches in the NCAA Division III Singles Championships on Friday at the West Hills Athletic Club, advancing through to tomorrow's quarterfinal round for the third time in his three-year career.

Parodi defeated Daniel Levine of Carnegie Mellon in his opening round match 6-2, 6-3 and then came back two hours later to defeat SCIAC rival Chase Lipscomb 6-1, 6-3 in the Round of 16. It was the third time that Parodi and Lipscomb have matched up this season, with Lipscomb winning the first meeting in the regular season and Parodi bouncing back to take the win in the SCIAC semifinals. 

Parodi, who secured ITA All-America honors with his first win, moves on to face Bernardo Neves of WashU in tomorrow's quarterfinal round at 10:30 a.m., trying to advance to the semifinals, which are scheduled for later on Saturday (2:30 p.m.). If he advances it will be the third time he will reach the final four of the NCAA singles competition, after finishing as the national runner-up as a freshman and reaching the semifinals a year ago. 

Sophomore Jack Katzman, who was last year's national runner-up, was unable to make a similar run this season as he fell in the Round of 16 to Sean Wei of Amherst 6-1, 6-3. Katzman began his day with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Patrick Whaling of Gustavus Adolphus to reach the Round of 16 and give him All-America honors in singles for the second straight season.

After a slow start in the first set, when Wei jumped out to a 5-0 lead before taking the 6-1 win, Katzman was able to break twice in the second set to try to turn his fortunes around. Both times, though, he wasn't able to hold his next serve to keep the momentum going as he dropped his first singles match of the spring to finish the year 29-3 (his other two losses were in fall tournaments).

All of the singles matches on Friday were held indoors due to a pair of rainstorms, one in the morning and one in the afternoon just as the tournament was trying to get started up again on Kalamazoo College's outdoor courts. The weather did clear up for the doubles competition to be held outdoors, but Parodi and senior Julian Gordy were unable to shake off a slow start and fell to Chicago 6-1, 7-5. Gordy had three big serve returns to give CMS a break of serve and a 5-3 lead in the second set, but the Maroons broke back and rode the momentum to win the final four games for the straight set win. 

If Parodi wins his quarterfinal match tomorrow, it could set up another battle with Emory's Jonathan Jemison, who is also in the quarterfinal round against Jerry Jiang of Bowdoin. Parodi and Jemison matched up at No. 1 singles in the national championship match on Wednesday, with Jemison winning in three sets to help the Eagles to the 5-3 win.