TULSA, Okla. Somdev Devvarman (Chennai, India) began his defense of his NCAA Singles Championship on Wednesday as play began at the 2008 NCAA Singles Tournament at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center. Devvarman topped Ryan Preston of Vanderbilt 6-1, 6-3 in the first round, tying a NCAA Tournament record in the process.
The victory was Devvarman’s 13th career NCAA Singles Tournament victory, tying the record for most in a career since the NCAA split the team and individual tournaments in 1977. He ties Matias Boeker of Georgia, the 2001 and 2002 NCAA Champion, with 13 wins in the event.
Devvarman jumped out to a quick 3-0 in the first set and cruised to take the first set 6-1. The second set was tighter, remaining on serve until 3-3 when Devvarman broke Preston’s serve. Devvarman held and broke Preston’s serve again to close out the 6-1, 6-3 win.
Two other Cavaliers were in action on Wednesday, both falling in three sets.
Treat Huey (Alexandria,Va.) played No. 9-16 seed Ivan Bjelica of Mississippi State, the No. 12 ranked player in the nation. In the first set, Huey went up a break midway through the set and retained the advantage to take the opening set 6-4. In the second set, it was Bjelica that went up a break midway through the set to take even the match by taking the set 6-3. In the final set Bjelica went up an early break but Huey broke back to even the set at 4-4. However, Bjelica broke back in the following game and held in the next to win the set 6-4 and take the match 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Huey ends his Cavalier singles career with 129 career wins, second most in history behind Devvarman.
Dominic Inglot (London, England), seeded 9-16, met No. 19 ranked Justin Kronauge of Ohio State in the only first round matchup of two top-20 players. Kronauge opened the match strong, taking the opening set 6-1. In the second set, Inglot opened up a 2-0 lead only to have Kronauge tie it at 2-2. The set remained on serve until 4-4 when Inglot broke Kronauge and followed with a service hold to take the second set 6-4. Neither player could break serve in the final set and the match came down to a tiebreaker. With the tiebreaker tied at 2-2, Kronauge won the next five points to take the tiebreaker and the match, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (2).
Play in the NCAA Individual Championships will continue on Thursday in Tulsa. Devvarman will play the winner of the match between Andrei Deascu of Oklahoma and Clancy Shields of Boise State. Doubles play opens on Thursday with top-seeded Devvarman and Huey playing Dan Buikema and Mathieu Thibaudeau of Alabama.