Cavaliers Reach National Indoor Final With 4-2 Win Over Ole Miss
SEATTLE The Virginia men’s tennis team advanced to the championship match of the 2008 ITA National Team Indoor Championships with a 4-2 win over No. 5 Mississippi in a semifinal match Sunday afternoon at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. The Cavaliers (10-0) took the doubles point and then rallied from losing five first sets to win three singles matches.
“Even though it is early in the season, our guys have been in this position a few times before,” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. “We know we can win matches like this because we have repeatedly done it already this year.”
The Cavaliers opened the match strong by taking a key doubles point. The Rebels took an early advantage as Bram ten Berge and Matthias Wellermann topped Dominic Inglot (London, England) and Houston Barrick (Brentwood, Tenn.) 8-3 at the No. 2 doubles. Virginia drew even with a win at No. 3 doubles, as Sanam Singh (Chandigarh, India) and Michael Shabaz (Fairfax, Va.) downed Robbye Poole and Jakob Klaeson 8-5.
The doubles point came down to the match at No. 1 between a pair of highly ranked foes, top-ranked Somdev Devvarman (Chennai, India) and Treat Huey (Alexandria, Va.) of Virginia and fourth-ranked Jonas Berg and Erling Tveit of Ole Miss. The teams had met in the fall in the final of the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, won by the Devvarman and Huey 6-2, 7-5. Their match Sunday was tight throughout, remaining on serve until 6-6. The Cavalier team broke serve to go up 7-6 and served out to win 8-6 and clinch the opening point for Virginia.
“We came out strong and won the doubles point which was important,” said Boland. “Against a talented team like Ole Miss, that doubles point can be so critical.”
In singles, the Cavalier lead was extended to 2-0 by Singh, who topped ten Berge 7-5, 6-1 at the No. 4 position. The victory was the 10th consecutive singles win for the Cavalier freshman, who remained unbeaten in dual match singles play.
However, Singh’s win was the lone bright spot for the Cavaliers early in singles play as Ole Miss took five of the six first sets. After Virginia rallied with strong play in the second sets, the Rebels answered with a pair of three-set wins to tie the match at 2-2 as Poole downed Huey at No. 3 singles and Berg defeated Barrick at No. 5 singles.
Mississippi had a chance to serve out two matches in straight sets, which would have clinched the upset for the Rebels. At No. 1 singles, Tveit, already up a set, broke Devvarman to serve for the match at 5-3 in the second. Devvarman responded by breaking back, at love, and the set eventually went to a tiebreaker. In the breaker, Tveit took a 4-2 lead after a controversial overturn of a call, but Devvarmam regrouped to win five of the next six points to take the breaker 7-5 and force a third set. Ole Miss also had a chance to win at No. 6 singles, where Kalle Norberg served at 5-4 in the second set after winning the first. But Angelinos broke to even the set at 5-5 and followed by winning the next two games and take the second set 7-5.
Virginia retook the lead with a win at No. 2 singles in a battle of two top-five ranked players. Neither third-ranked Inglot nor fifth-ranked Wellermann could break the other’s serve in the first two sets, leading to a pair of tiebreakers. Wellermann won the first and Inglot won the second to force a third set. At 1-1 in the deciding set, Inglot picked up the only break of the match to take a 2-1 lead. He held serve in each of his games the rest of the match to secure the 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 win.
A day after clinching the Cavaliers’ 4-3 win over UCLA in the quarterfinals, Devvarman clinched the win over Ole Miss. After his dramatic rally to win the second set, the reigning NCAA Singles Champion made sure there was no drama in the final set. He broke Tveit in the second game to take a 2-0 lead and never looked back, winning 6-0 and sending the Cavaliers into the final.
“This team battles so well,” said Boland. “Every guy knows that he is never out of it, no matter the score. They kept battling and hanging in there and eventually the matches turned our way.”
Virginia advances to the second National Indoor Championship final in school history. In their debut in the event in 2005, the Cavaliers reached the final but fell to top-ranked Baylor 4-1.
The win also marked the third time in the past four years that Virginia has defeated Ole Miss at the National Team Indoors. In 2005, Virginia scored a 4-1 semifinal win over the Rebels and last season scored a 4-3 win over Mississippi in the quarterfinals.
The Cavaliers will play No. 3 Ohio State in Monday’s final. The Buckeyes downed No. 2 Georgia 4-1 in the other semifinal. Match time is noon (PT).
No. 1 Virginia 4, No. 5 Mississippi 2
1. #1 Devvarman/Huey (UVa) def. #4 Berg/Tveit (Miss) 8-6
2. #24 ten Berge/Wellermann (Miss) def. #25 Barrick/Inglot (UVa) 8-3
3. #28 Shabaz/Singh (UVa) def. Poole/Klaeson (Miss) 8-5
1. #1 Somdev Devvarman (UVa) def. #26 Erling Tveit (Miss) 4-6, 7-6, 6-0
2. #3 Dominic Inglot (UVa) def. #5 Matthias Wellermann (Miss) 6-7, 7-6, 6-4
3. #48 Robbye Poole (Miss) def. #12 Treat Huey (UVa) 6-2, 1-6, 6-2
4. Sanam Singh (UVa) def. #58 Bram ten Berge (Miss) 7-5, 6-1
5. Jonas Berg (Miss) def. #83 Houston Barrick (UVa) 7-5, 3-6, 6-4
6. Kalle Norberg (Miss) led Ted Angelinos (UVa) 7-6, 5-7, 1-0 DNF
Order of Finish: Doubles- 2,3,1 Singles- 4,3,5,2,1
Records: Virginia (10-0), Ole Miss (6-2)