May 28, 2017
ATHENS, Ga. – Virginia men’s tennis senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.) advanced to the finals of the 2017 NCAA Singles Championship with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Stanford’s Tom Fawcett on Sunday (May 28) in a semifinal match at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
Kwiatkowski picked up a break in the first set to take a 3-1 lead. Both players held serve with Kwiatkowski serving out a 6-3 victory. In the second set, Kwiatkowski picked up an early break to again take a 3-1 lead and then broke Fawcett again to take a 4-1 lead. Fawcett broke back to make it 4-2, but then double faulted on a deuce point in his next service game to give Kwiatkowski a 5-2 lead. The Cavalier senior served out the victory, hitting an ace for match point.
“This many matches in the tournament, you’re feeling pretty good,” Kwiatkowski said. “It’s just about going out there and trying to put the nerves aside and playing as hard as you can. Every match I step out here, it could be my last one because I’m a senior and my time’s running out. Tomorrow for sure is going to be my last match, so I’m just going to go out and enjoy the best I can.”
The victory sends Kwiatkowski to the NCAA Singles final for the first time in his career. He will face ACC Freshman of the Year, Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA team tournament and the ITA National Rookie of the Year William Blumberg of North Carolina on Monday at 11 a.m. to play for the title. Blumberg advanced to the final after downing No. 2 seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State 6-2, 7-6 (1) on Sunday. Both Kwiatkowski and Blumberg are 9-16 seeds in the tournament.
Kwiatkowski (32-7) and Blumberg (31-2) played one another last week in the final of the NCAA team championship with Blumberg winning 6-3, 6-2. This will be the fourth time this season the two will face one another. Blumberg has won twice in straight sets, including last week and in the ACC Championship semifinals, with their meeting at ITA National Team Indoors abandoned in the third set before completion. Kwiatkowski is vying to win the fourth singles title in UVA program history, attempting to join Somdev Devvarman (2007 and 2008) and Ryan Shane (2015) as an NCAA Singles champion. Shane won his title the week after the Cavaliers were crowned 2015 NCAA team champions, downing an ACC opponent in Wake Forest’s Noah Rubin in the final.
“Tomorrow is the last time Coach Boland, Coach Taylor, Coach Benatzky and I will put on the Virginia uniforms, so we’re just going to try to go out and represent well for the last time for all of us,” Kwiatkowski said.
There will be a live webcast of Sunday’s final on NCAA.com with the link posted above and on the schedule page of VirginiaSports.com.