CARY, N.C. – The No. 5 Virginia men’s tennis team (21-4) was edged 4-2 by Wake Forest (29-3) in the finals of the 2019 ACC Men’s Tennis Championship on Sunday (April 21) at the Cary Tennis Center.
The Cavaliers won the doubles point and led the match 2-0 after senior Aswin Lizen (Douglas, Isle of Man) picked up a win on singles court six, but the Demon Deacons rallied, picking up wins on courts one, four and five before clinching the match by winning a second-set tiebreaker on court three.
“Congratulations to Wake Forest on winning the ACC championship,” said head coach Andres Pedroso. “Our guys left everything on the court today, as always. Wake Forest was just a little better today, and deserve this. Now it is back to work for us to get ready for the NCAA’s.”
Wake Forest earned an early edge in doubles by winning 6-3 on court two, but both courts one and three were knotted 6-6, forcing tiebreakers to decide the winners. Sophomore Gianni Ross (Chicago, Ill.) and freshman William Woodall (Washington, D.C.), a duo playing together for the first time this spring, won their tiebreker, 7-3, on court three to even things up. On court one, senior Henrik Wiersholm (Kirkland, Wash.) and freshman Brandon Nakashima (San Diego, Calif.) won their tiebreaker 7-5 to clinch the point.
In singles, Lizen topped Sidhant Banthia, 6-4, 6-0, on court six to give UVA a 2-0 lead. Wake charged back, picking up straight-set wins on three courts, including in a hard-hitting match on court one between junior Carl Soderlund (Stockholm, Sweden) and No. 14 Borna Gojo, leaving the Cavaliers trailing 3-2.
On court one, freshman Brandon Nakashima (San Diego, Calif.) won his first set, 7-5, over the 2018 NCAA singles champion, No. 4 Petros Chrysochos. Nakashima was up two breaks on Chrysochos in the second set, but Chrysochos fought his way back into the match, breaking Nakashima twice to get back on-serve at 5-5. Chrysochos also won two deuce match points to stay alive.
On court three, Wiersholm was edged 7-5 in his first set, battling No. 34 Bar Botzer. The second set was knotted at six, forcing a tiebreaker. Wiersholm went up 4-1 in the tiebreaker, but Botzer battled back, tying it at 6-6 and then winning the next two points to take the tiebreaker, 8-6, and clinch the championship for the Demon Deacons.
Virginia is currently No. 5 in the ITA rankings and was the No. 2 seed in the tournament. Wake Forest, the defending NCAA champion, is at No. 4 in the ITA rankings and was the top-seeded team in the ACC championship.
This is the second-straight ACC title for Wake Forest. It was the fourth time in the last five years and UVA and Wake have faced one another in the championship match. The Demon Deacons earn the Atlantic Coast Conference’s automatic bid into the 2019 NCAA Championship. The full field for the tournament will be announced a week from Monday, on April 29 at 6 p.m.