COLLEGE STATION, Texas Two members of the Virginia men’s tennis team won their first round matches as the 2009 NCAA Singles Championship began Wednesday at the Mitchell Tennis Center. Dominic Inglot (London, England) and Sanam Singh (Chandigarh, India) advanced to the second round of the tournament, while Michael Shabaz (Fairfax, Va.) fell in three sets in his first round match.
Inglot, a 9-16 seed in the tournament, defeated Bassam Beidas of Pepperdine 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6) in his opening round match. He will meet Devin Britton of Ole Miss in the second round on Thursday.
Inglot took the opening set by breaking Beidas in the fifth game. He hit six of his 13 aces on the day in his five service games of the first set to take the early lead. In the second set, the players remained on serve until Beidas broke Inglot in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead before serving out the set in the next game. Neither player could even manage a break point on the other’s serve in the final set to set up a tiebreaker for the match. Inglot went up two mini-breaks at 5-2 and later had three match points at 6-3. Beidas rallied to win the next three points to draw even at 6-6. Inglot hit a service winner to take a 7-6 lead and when Beidas’ groundstroke on the next point went into the net, Inglot advanced to the second round.
“It was certainly a tough match,” said Inglot. “I served well in the first set and just had one bad service game in the second set. The conditions were difficult and the ball took a lot of kicks. That allowed both of us to dominate our service games. It then came down to a breaker and if you can win a couple of points on the other guy’s serve, you should be fine.”
Last season, Inglot made his NCAA Singles Championship debut and fell in the first round in a third-set tiebreaker to Justin Kronauge of Ohio State.
“I feel confident in tiebreakers,” said Inglot. “I think in my career at Virginia I have won a lot more than I have lost. I lost the one last year, so I was confident that I would win this one. I was able to get up a mini-break early and that allowed me to attack and put him under more pressure.”
Singh was making his NCAA Singles Championship debut on Wednesday and cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 win over Christoph Mller of Rice. He will play Dimitar Kutrovsky of Texas in the second round after the Longhorn upset No. 9-16 seed Jonas Berg of Ole Miss 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 on Wednesday.
“It is always good to start off a tournament with a good win,” said Singh. “I never really let him into the match. It was nice to win in straight sets, but I know I have to be ready for a tough match tomorrow.”
Singh and Mller remained on serve in the first set until the two played multiple deuces in the fifth game before Singh broke to take a 3-2 lead. He later broke Mller again in the ninth game to close out the opening set 6-3. In the first game of the second set, Singh fought off two break points against him before holding serve before using that momentum to break Mller in the next game. Singh kept rolling through the second set to take it 6-1 and seal his place in the round of 32.
“That happens all the time,” said Singh of the start to the second set. “You hold a tough game and then make a few balls in the next game and then you are up a break instead of being down a break. It just changes the momentum. I was able to grind out some tough service games in the second set and I was able to win some points on his serve to break him a few times.”
Shabaz also was making his first NCAA Singles Championship appearance and fell to Rudolf Siwy of Fresno State 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in his first round match. Both players served well throughout the match and there was only one break in each of the three sets. With Siwy serving for the match at 5-3 in the third, Shabaz fought off three match points and had two break point chances in the game before Siwy took advantage of his fourth match point opportunity.
The round of 32 is scheduled for Thursday at the Mitchell Tennis Center. In addition, the NCAA Doubles Championship will begin on Thursday with two Cavalier teams in the field of 32. The team of Inglot and Shabaz drew the No. 1 seed, Jonas Berg and Bram ten Berge of Ole Miss in the first round. The team of Singh and Houston Barrick (Brentwood, Tenn.) will play No. 4 seed Nate Schnugg and Jamie Hunt in the first round.