April 26, 2018
CARY, N.C. – The Virginia men’s tennis team (13-11, 5-7 ACC) opened the 2018 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Tennis Championship with a 4-1 victory over Louisville (15-11, 5-7 ACC) on Thursday (April 26) at the Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C.
The teams split the doubles matches on courts one and two, but Louisville picked up the point by winning the match on the third court in a tiebreaker, 7-5. In singles, the Cavaliers swept the first sets on all six courts and picked up straight-set victories on courts three, five and six to take a 3-1 lead. Sophomore Carl Soderlund (Stockholm, Sweden) clinched the match with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 victory on court one.
“I thought the guys bounced back great today from the doubles point, like they have all year,” said Virginia head coach Andres Pedroso. “We played offensive tennis when we needed to, which is something we have talked about a lot. I think this team showed today how much they’ve matured and grown. I am proud of them.”
Junior Aswin Lizen (Douglas, Isle of Man) and freshman Gianni Ross (Chicago, Ill.) started the match with a 6-2 win on doubles court two, but Louisville knotted things up with a 6-4 win on court one. On court three, freshman Spencer Bozsik (Charlottesville, Va.) and redshirt freshman Ammar Alhaqbani (Alexandria, Va.) rebounded from an early break to tie their match up 4-4. Both teams held serve through 6-6 to force a tiebreaker in which the Cardinals’ tandem picked up the 7-5 win to take the doubles point.
In singles, freshman Matthew Lord (Bloomfield, Conn.) picked up a quick 6-2, 6-3 victory over George Hedley on court five to even the match. Ross gave UVA a 2-1 advantage with a 6-4, 6-2 victory on court three over Federico Gomez. Alhaqbani put the Cavaliers up 3-1 with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Brandon Lancaster on court six.
SÃƒÂ¶derlund had breezed to a 6-1 victory in his first set over No. 53 Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff, but the Cardinal countered with a 6-2 victory in the second set to force a third set. SÃƒÂ¶derlund closed out the match with a 6-2 victory in the final set.
“Carl decided to take some balls out of the air and come forward and take it to the guy a little more in that third set,” Pedroso said. “That is when he plays his best tennis, when he is looking to come in. He also came up with some great passing shots. Gianni was rock-solid. He was down 15-40 on his serve a couple of times and just kept battling and played some great defense, but then got right back on to offense on the next ball. He served really well in the big moments. All I can say about Matt today is that shooters shoot. That is how he plays. He is going to come after you. That is his identity and he did that today.”
The Cavaliers and Cardinals tied for eighth place in the conference standings. Louisville earned the No. 8 seed in the tournament by virtue of a 6-1 victory over UVA in the regular season. Louisville is ranked No. 41 in this week’s ITA rankings while the Cavaliers are No. 48.
Virginia, the defending ACC champions, will face top-seeded Wake Forest (22-2, 11-1 ACC) in the quarterfinals on Friday, April 27 at 3 p.m.
#9 Virginia 4, #8 Louisville 1
1. Carl Soderlund (VA) def. C. Morin-Kougoucheff (UL) 6-1, 2-6, 6-2
2. Parker Wynn (UL) vs. Aswin Lizen (VA); 1-6, 6-2, 5-3 (uf)
3. Gianni Ross (VA) def. Federico Gomez (UL) 6-4, 6-2
4. Nicolas Rouanet (UL) vs. Kyrylo Tsygura (VA) 3-6, 5-4 (uf)
5. Matthew Lord (VA) def. George Hedley (UL) 6-2, 6-3
6. Ammar Alhaqbani (VA) def. Brandon Lancaster (UL) 6-3, 6-4
1. Ciro Lampasas and Parker Wynn (UL) def. Matthew Lord and Carl Soderlund (VA) 6-4
2. Aswin Lizen and Gianni Ross (VA) def. Federico Gomez and C. Morin-Kougoucheff (UL) 6-2
3. George Hedley and Fredrik Moe (UL) def. Ammar Alhaqbani and Spencer Bozsik (VA) 7-6 (5)
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (5,3,6,1)