STANFORD, Calif. – Virginia senior Michael Shabaz (Fairfax, Va.) advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship as play continued Saturday with quarterfinals at the Taube Tennis Center. Shabaz defeated Henrique Cunha of Duke 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the semifinals for the first time in his career.
Shabaz, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, rallied from dropping the first set to the eighth-seeded Cunha. The players combined for four service breaks in the match’s first six games and the first set was on serve at 5-5. Cunha used a late break to take a lead and served out to win the opening set. Shabaz opened up an early 3-0 lead in the second set, breaking Cunha’s in his first service game. That was the only break of the set as Shabaz served out for 6-3 and force a decisive set. Shabaz kept his momentum going in the third set, jumping out to a 4-0 lead. After each player held serve, Shabaz broke Cunha’s serve a third time in the set to close out the victory.
“Every time we have played it has been tough,” said Shabaz. “It always comes down to a few points. I was able to get up in the second set after losing the first and was I serving better. I held to win the second set and I played a really good third set to get the win.”
Shabaz will play top-seeded Steve Johnson of USC in the semifinals on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET). Johnson defeated Shabaz 7-6(2), 6-3 earlier this week during the final of the team championship.
Shabaz becomes the fourth Cavalier to reach the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship. He joins Brian Vahaly (2001), Somdev Devavrman (2006, 2007, 2008) and Sanam Singh (2009) to accomplish the feat.