Hibah Shaikh clinched the victory as the Cavaliers advance to the Round of 16 for the first time since 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 13 Virginia women’s tennis team (16-6) advanced to the Round of 16 of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship after winning 4-2 against No. 15 Tennessee (17-9) in a second-round match on Saturday (May 8) at the Virginia Tennis Facility at the Boar’s Head Resort.
Virginia won the doubles point and picked up singles victories on courts one, two and four. Freshman Hibah Shaikh (Fairfax, Va.) clinched the victory for the Cavaliers.
The 14-seed Cavaliers will face 3-seed Georgia on Sunday, May 16 at 10 a.m. at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., playing for a spot in the quarterfinals. This is UVA’s seventh time advancing to the Round of 16 and its first since 2016.
Freshman Emma Navarro (Charleston, S.C.) and senior Rosie Johanson (Vancouver, Canada) opened the match with a 6-0 win on the top doubles court. Tennessee evened things with a victory on court two, but senior Vivian Glozman (Bellevue, Wash.) and Shaikh won 6-2 on court three to clinch the point.
In singles, sophomore Natasha Subhash (Fairfax, Va.) won 6-1, 6-2 against Eleonora Molinaro on court two to give UVA a 2-0 advantage, but the Lady Vols quickly answered with a straight-set win on court three to make it 2-1. On court one, Navarro had won her first set 6-1 against Rebeka Mertena, but fell behind 5-3 in the second set. She rallied to win four straight games and took the set 7-5 to put the Cavaliers on the brink. Tennessee’s Johanna Silva battled to a 6-3, 6-4 victory on court six to make it 3-2/
On court four, Shaikh had picked up a late break to win her first set 7-5 against Daria Kuczer. She took the second set 6-1 to seal the victory for the Cavaliers.
FROM HEAD COACH SARA O’LEARY
“It was just so exciting [watching Hibah Shaikh clinch]. I’m so proud of her. She’s been through a lot this first year doing her freshman year in a pandemic. She’s had some ups and downs this season, but she stayed so tough and just kept believing in herself and kept working hard. I’m just so proud of her that under such pressure and a pressure moment like that she could just stay composed and keep going after it. She really earned that victory because of the hard work she’s been putting in this whole season.”
“I think that we’re a dangerous team. We’ve proven where we can play really well at the top of our lineup, Rosie [Johanson] had a tough match today but man she has put this team on her shoulders and he led this team like no other this year so I know she’s going to bounce back. I thought we played well in doubles, especially at one and three, and just kept our foot on the gas. So, I think we’re a dangerous team when we really believe in ourselves and we keep working the way we’ve been working for the past few months.”
NOTING THE CAVALIERS
- Emma Navarro and Hibah Shaikh are 2-0 in NCAA singles matches
- This was Natasha Subhash’s first NCAA tournament singles win
- Senior Rosie Johanson had a 13-match win streak snapped
- Virginia is No. 13 in this week’s ITA rankings but is the No. 14 seed in the Championship. Tennessee is ranked No. 15 but is unseeded in the tournament
VIRGINIA & THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
- This was the Cavaliers first time hosting a regional since 2016 when the team advanced to the quarterfinals
- This is UVA’s third-straight trip to the NCAA Championship. In each of the last two (2018 and 2019), the Cavaliers played in the Columbia Regional, both times falling in the second round to the Gamecocks
- The Cavaliers’ best finish in the NCAA Championship has been two runs of the quarterfinals (2014 and 2016)
ON THE HORIZON
- The team advancing from the second round of the tournament will head to Orlando, Fla., where the USTA National Campus will be hosting the final four rounds of the tournament. The women’s Round of 16 will be held on Sunday, May 16, with quarterfinal matches on Wednesday, May 19. Men’s and women’s semi-finals will be held on May 21 and both team championships contested on Saturday, May 22
- The NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will run from May 23-28
#13 Virginia 4, #15 Tennessee 2
- #3 Emma Navarro (VA) def. #80 Rebeka Mertena (UT) 6-1, 7-5
- #9 Natasha Subhash (VA) def. #107 Eleonora Molinaro (UT) 6-1, 6-2
- #66 Carly Briggs (UT) def. #90 Rosie Johanson (VA) 6-2, 6-2
- Hibah Shaikh (VA) def. Daria Kuczer (UT) 7-5, 6-1
- Amber O’Dell (VA) vs. Tenika McGiffin (UT) 7-5, 2-2, unfinished
- Johanna Silva (UT) def. Sofia Munera (VA) 6-3, 6-4
- #21 Emma Navarro/Rosie Johanson (VA) def. Eleonora Molinaro/Tenika McGiffin (UT) 6-0
- #32 Esther Adeshina/Daria Kuczer (UT) def. #17 Sofia Munera/Natasha Subhash (VA) 6-1
- Vivian Glozman/Hibah Shaikh (VA) def. Carly Briggs/Rebeka Mertena (UT) 6-2
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (2,3,1,6,4)
Head Coach Sara O'Leary and freshman Emma Navarro talk about today's win