STANFORD, Calif. – The top-ranked Virginia men’s tennis team advanced to the semifinals of the 2011 NCAA Tournament with a 4-3 win over host Stanford on Saturday at the Taube Tennis Center. The Cavaliers’ (33-0) win over the eighth-seeded Cardinal (21-6) gives them their fourth semifinal appearance in the last five years.
“I am really proud of this team,” said head coach Brian Boland. “I think this was a situation we needed to go through in order to have the success we want to have this season. I think we needed this adversity a lot. If you look at our scores this year, we haven’t had a lot of close matches. Stanford gave us everything they had in a great environment for college tennis. We will now learn from this and get ready for another tough match in the semifinals.”
The Cavaliers opened the match by winning the doubles point. Sanam Singh (Chandigarh, India) and Alex Domijan (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) downed Jamin Ball and Alex Clayton 8-5 at the No. 3 position. In a battle of two of the top three ranked teams in the nation at No. 1, second-ranked Michael Shabaz (Fairfax, Va.) and Drew Courtney (Clifton, Va.) defeated third-ranked Ryan Thacher and Bradley Klahn 8-4 to clinch the first point for Virginia.
In singles, Stanford answered by winning four of six first sets. However, in the two matches the Cavaliers won the first set, they won in straight sets to take a 3-0 lead. Julen Uriguen (Guatemala City, Guatemala) cruised to a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Daniel Ho at No. 6. Jarmere Jenkins (College Park, Ga.) followed with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Denis Lin at the No. 4 spot. Thacher got the Cardinal its first point with a 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 2 over Domijan, snapping his 25-match win streak. Klahn added a 6-4, 6-2 win over Shabaz at the top spot to cut the advantage to 3-2.
The other two matches saw Virginia win the second set to force a decisive third set. Matt Kandath tied the match with his 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Justin Shane (Falls Church, Va.) at the No. 5 position. The match came down to the battle at No. 3, where Singh rallied from down a set and a break in the second to force the third set at No. 3 against Clayton. In the final set, Singh held serve at 2-all after being down 0-40 in the game and the set remained on serve through seven games. Singh broke Clayton’s serve to take a 5-3 lead and then served out the match to give Virginia the victory.
Virginia will meet Ohio State in the semifinals on Monday at noon PT (3 p.m. ET). The Cavaliers defeated the Buckeyes 4-1 earlier this year in the semifinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.
#1 Virginia 4, #8 Stanford 3
1. #2 Courtney/Shabaz (UVa) def. #3 Klahn/Thacher (Stan) 8-4
2. Jenkins/Uriguen (UVa) vs. Kandath/Lin (Stan) 6-6 DNF
3. Domijan/Singh (UVa) def. Ball/Clayton (Stan) 8-5
1. #9 Bradley Klahn (Stan) def. #5 Michael Shabaz (UVa) 6-4, 6-2
2. #46 Ryan Thacher (Stan) def. #2 Alex Domijan (UVa) 6-4, 6-3
3. #34 Sanam Singh (UVa) def. #71 Alex Clayton (Stan) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
4. #56 Jarmere Jenkins (UVa) def. #119 Denis Lin (Stan) 6-4, 6-2
5. Matt Kandath (Stan) def. Justin Shane (UVa) 7-5, 2-6, 6-4
6. Julen Uriguen (UVa) def. Daniel Ho (Stan) 6-4, 6-1
Order of Finish