ATHENS, Ga. – On the second day of the 2010 NCAA Individual Championships, the Virginia men’s tennis team had two singles players and one doubles team advance to the round of 16. Michael Shabaz (Fairfax, Va.) and Sanam Singh (Chandigarh, India) advanced in singles, as did the doubles team of Shabaz and Drew Courtney (Clifton, Va.).
Shabaz, who won the doubles title last year with Dominic Inglot, opened play in this year’s tournament teaming with Courtney for a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 5-8 seed Austin Krajicek and Jeff Dadamo of Texas A&M. The Cavalier duo served well, holding in every service game, and got one break in each set to secure the win. They will play the Illinois team of Dennis Nevolo and Marek Czerwinski in the round of 16.
“I think playing this format instead of an eight-game pro set helps Shabaz and I,” said Courtney. “You can kind of work your way into the match in the first set. We served and return well. We never faced a break point and were in a lot of their service games. I’m looking forward to another match tomorrow.”
In singles, Shabaz, a 9-16 seed, topped Haythem Abid of UCLA 6-3, 6-4 in the second round. In the first set, he used strong serving and a break of Abid’s serve midway through the set to take the opener 6-3. Shabaz went up a break early in the second set, but Abid got it back to even the set at 4-4. Shabaz broke right back in the ensuing game to take a 5-4 lead and served out for the 6-3, 6-4 win. He will play No. 7 seed Chase Buchanan of Ohio State in the round of 16.
“Today’s match was similar to my match yesterday,” said Shabaz. “I served well and was able to get a break in each set. Overall, it was a very positive day and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Singh, also a 9-16 seed, cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 win over Ashley Watling of Tulsa in the second round. In the first set, he jumped out to a 4-0 lead before each player held serve in the final four games. Singh then lost just seven points in the second set to complete the 6-2, 6-0 win. He becomes the third player in Virginia history to reach the round of 16 twice in their career, joining Brian Vahaly and Somdev Devvarman. He plays top-seeded Henrique Cunha of Duke in the round of 16.
“It is great to be able to get to the round of 16 again,” said Singh. “Obviously, I have a much tougher match tomorrow, playing the top seed. I felt good today and if I keep playing my game, hopefully I can keep moving on.”
This year marks the first time in school history that the Cavaliers have two players in the round of 16. They are the only team to have two players in the round of 16 of this year’s tournament.
Two other Cavaliers lost close three-set matches in the round of 32. Courtney fell to Austen Childs of Louisville 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(9), while Jarmere Jenkins (College Park, Ga.) lost to Marcel Thiemann of Mississippi 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3.
Action continues Friday with the round of 16 of singles and doubles. The tournaments conclude on Monday.