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May 14, 2006

CHARLOTTESVILLE – The No. 8 seeded Virginia men’s tennis team captured a thrilling 4-2 win over Wake Forest Sunday afternoon at the Boyd Tinsley Courts at the Boar’s Head Sports Club to advance to the round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers will be making their third consecutive trip to the NCAA final site, and will meet ACC rival Miami in the round of 16 Saturday night at the Taube Tennis Center on the campus of Stanford University.

The Cavaliers (23-8) took a 1-0 lead by winning the doubles point. Treat Huey (Alexandria, Va.) and Somdev Devvarman (Chennai, India) gave Virginia an early advantage with their 8-3 win over Todd Paul and Cory Parr at No. 2 doubles. The Demon Deacons (16-11) drew even as Marius Adamski and Andrew Hamar scored an 8-5 win over Darrin Cohen (Lafayette, Calif.) and Doug Stewart (Malibu, Calif.) at No. 3 doubles. With the opening point on the line, the Cavalier duo of Rylan Rizza (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) and Nick Meythaler (Owensboro, Ky.) downed Brett Ross and Charles Sartor 8-5 at No. 1 doubles to give Virginia the first point of the match.

“The doubles point was critical,” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. “In a match like this, it will turn the balance and give a lot of momentum to one team heading into singles. Whenever two great teams are playing, it is tough to win four of six singles matches”

However, in singles it was Wake Forest that came out strong, winning four of six first sets. One of the Cavaliers to win a first set was Cohen, who cruised past Liron Strauss 6-1, 6-2 at No. 6 singles to increase the advantage to 2-0. Wake Forest would rally to tie the match at 2-2 as Parr defeated Huey 7-5, 6-0 at No. 4 singles and Hamar topped Rizza 6-2, 6-4 at No. 2 singles.

At No. 3 singles, Ross rallied to win the second set against Stewart to force a decisive third set. In the other two matches, the Cavaliers needed to win the second set to rally. In those matches, Devvarman started a second set tiebreaker in his match at No. 1 against Paul at the same time Marko Miklo (Bratislava, Slovakia) started a second set tiebreaker in his match at No. 5 against Adamski. The Cavaliers needed to win at least one of the tiebreakers to prevent Wake Forest clinching the match. Both Devvarman and Miklo came through to win and force third sets.

The match then came down to the team that could win two of the three three-set matches. Devvarman started strong and went up an early break in the third set at 2-1. He held that advantage until he was up 4-3 in the final set. He then held to go up 5-3 before breaking Paul again to clinch the match 6-7, 7-6, 6-3. At No. 3, Stewart and Ross held serve until Ross broke Stewart’s serve at 5-5 to have a chance to serve for the match at 6-5. Stewart broke back to force the tiebreaker. Stewart took an early lead in the tiebreaker, 3-1, when Ross had to take an injury timeout. After the break, Stewart continued to build on his advantage as he won the tiebreaker 7-3 to clinch the win for Virginia. At No. 5, Miklo lost the first three games of the final set against Adamski before rallying to win five straight games to take a 5-3 lead when the match was stopped.

“We have had so many tough matches this year with our schedule that I though we handled the situation well,” said Boland. “Of course today the stakes were a lot higher because it was NCAA Tournament. This was as close of a match as you will see. I am glad to see how well we dealt with adversity. We see pressure as an opportunity. That will only help us as we progress in the tournament.”

The Cavaliers will meet Miami in the round of 16 as the Hurricanes won 4-0 today against Minnesota. The two teams split a pair of meetings this season as Miami won 4-3 at the Snyder Tennis Center in the regular season, while Virginia won 4-2 in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. Match time Saturday night is set for 6:00 p.m. PDT at the Taube Tennis Center.

#7 Virginia 4, #28 Wake Forest 2

1) #7 Rizza/Meythaler (UVa) def. Ross/Sartor (WF) 8-5
2) Huey/Devvarman (UVa) def. Paul/Parr (WF) 8-3
3. Adamski/Hamar (WF) def. Cohen/Stewart (UVa) 8-5

1. #14 Somdev Devvarman (UVa) def. #18 Todd Paul (WF) 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 6-3
2. Andrew Hamar (WF) def. #54 Rylan Rizza (UVa) 6-2, 6-4
3. #95 Doug Stewart (UVa) def. Brett Ross (WF) 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(3)
4. Cory Parr (WF) def. #63 Treat Huey (UVa) 7-5, 6-0
5. Marko Miklo (UVa) led Marius Adamski (WF) 1-6, 7-6(4), 5-3 DNF
6. Darrin Cohen (UVa) def. Liron Strauss (WF) 6-1, 6-2

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