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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Virginia doubles team of Michael Shabaz and Drew Courtney made their debut at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic Wednesday night, coming up just short against Bob and Mike Bryan in their first round doubles match. The Cavalier duo, who received a wild card into the event, fell 7-6(6), 6-4 to the eight-time Grand Slam champions.

In the first set, both teams held serve throughout, taking the set to a tiebreaker. In the breaker, the Bryans took a 6-2 lead, but Courtney and Shabaz fought off four straight set points to draw even at 6-all. The Bryans answered back to win the next two points to win the breaker 8-6 at take the first set. There was just one service break in the second set, when Shabaz was broken at 1-all, as the Bryans completed the 7-6(6), 6-4 win.

“We had a lot of fun out there,” said Courtney. “It was a great experience to play center court at Legg Mason, especially against the Bryan brothers. To be able to play them tough has given us a lot of motivation to keep working hard and that good things are in our future.”

For Courtney and Shabaz, it was the first match they had played together as a team since winning the NCAA Doubles Championship in May. In contrast, the Bryan brothers won the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles last week, their record-setting 62nd ATP Tour doubles title.

“Playing on center court of a big ATP event is something you always dream of, but to be able to do it in Washington, in front of all our friends and family made it a special night,” said Shabaz. “We learned a lot from the experience that we can use to continue to improve as a team.”

Next week, Courtney and Shabaz will once again compete at a high level, as they play in the ATP Challenger Circuit event in Binghamton, N.Y.

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