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May 24, 2006

STANFORD, Calif. – Two members of Virginia men’s tennis team advanced to the second round of the 2006 NCAA Singles Championship on the first day of play Wednesday at the Taube Tennis Center. Somdev Devvarman (Chennai, India) and Rylan Rizza (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) both advanced to the second round of the tournament for the second consecutive year.

Devvarman, a 9-16 seed, defeated Matko Maravic of Michigan 6-4, 6-0 in his first round match. Maravic opened the match strong, breaking Devvarman’s serve to take a 3-1 lead in the first set. After Maravic held to go up 4-1, Devvarman began to take control of the match. He held to make the score 4-2 before breaking Maravic’s serve at love to get back on serve at 3-4. Devvarman held to tie the score at 4-4 and then broke the Wolverine’s serve again at love to take a 5-4 lead. He then served out the first set, hitting an ace on set point.

In the second set, Devvarman continued his roll, winning the first three games of the set. While serving at 3-0, Devvarman fought off two break points at 15-40 to hold serve. He then broke Maravic at love for the third time in the match to go up 5-0. Devvarman closed out the match by winning his 11th consecutive game, holding serve, capped by another ace on set point.

Rizza rallied from dropping the opening set to defeat Slavko Radman of Louisville 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in his opening round match. He opened the match strong, taking an early 3-0 lead in the first set. However, Radman would rally to win the next five games to take a 5-3 lead. Each player held serve in the next two games as Radman took the opening set 6-4.

In the second set, Rizza nearly fell behind early as he fought off a break point against before winning the opening game. He followed that game by breaking Radman’s serve and holding his serve to take a 3-0 lead for the second straight set. However, this time he continued his momentum by breaking Radman again for a 4-0 lead. Radman broke back to cut the lead to 4-1, but Rizza would take the next two games to capture the second set 6-1.

In the third set, Rizza started strong by breaking Radman in the opening game. That would turn out to be the only break of serve in the set, as Rizza took the decisive set 6-4.

With the victories, Rizza and Devvarman join Brian Vahaly (1998-01) as the only Cavaliers to win multiple NCAA Singles Championship matches in their career. Rizza and Devvarman both advanced to second round last year as well, while Vahaly holds the school record with nine singles tournament victories.Devvarman will meet Martin Sayer of Radford in Thursday’s second round (round of 32). Rizza will play the No. 6 seed, Conor Niland of California, in the second round.

The 32-team doubles tournament will begin on Thursday as well. The team of Rizza and Nick Meythaler (Owensboro, Ky.) are seeded 5-8 and opening play against the team of Ryan Keckley and Eric Langenkamp of Notre Dame. Unlike during the dual match season where doubles are played as one eight-game pro-set, the NCAA Doubles Championship plays best of three sets, like singles play.

NCAA Singles Championship

First Round – May 24, 2006
#14 Somdev Devvarman (Virginia) def. #43 Matko Maravic (Michigan) 6-4, 6-0
#54 Rylan Rizza (Virginia) def. #39 Slavko Radman (Louisville) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4

Second Round – May 25, 2006
#14 Somdev Devvarman vs. #26 Martin Sayer (Radford)
#54 Rylan Rizza (Virginia) vs. #6 Conor Niland (California)

NCAA Doubles Championship

First Round – May 25, 2006
#7 Rizza/Meythaler (Virginia) vs. #28 Keckley/Langenkamp (Notre Dame)

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