The top-ranked Virginia men's tennis team faced their toughest match of the season yesterday against 8th-seeded Stanford, but emerged victorious, 4-3, to advance to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships. This marks the fourth time in five years that the Cavaliers have reached the final four.
Virginia won the doubles point with relative ease, and went on to win the first two singles points in straight sets at No. 6 (Julen Uriguen def. Daniel Ho, 6-4, 6-1) and No. 4 (Jarmere Jenkins def. Denis Lin, 6-4, 6-2) to take a 3-0 lead.
But the Cardinal would not go down without a fight. Stanford took the next two singles points in straight sets at No. 2 (Ryan Thacher def. Alex Domijan, 6-4, 6-3) and No. 1 (Bradley Klahn def. Michael Shabaz, 6-4, 6-2). They would also win the next singles point in three sets at No. 5 (Matt Kandath def. Justin Shane, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4).
Tied at 3-3, the match would come down to Sanam Singh at No. 3 against Alex Clayton. Singh had lost the first set but came back to win the second. The third set remained on serve until the eighth game, when Singh broke Clayton and went on to serve for the match and take the victory (3-6, 6-4, 6-3).
"I felt like I played as well as I've ever played," said Clayton, trying to hold back tears. "It was this close, one point here, one point there. I just couldn't quite get over the line. I came in expecting to win. I was confident."
"That was probably the most hostile, biggest crowd I've played in front of," Singh said. "Alex is a great player, an experienced player. He likes to use his forehand and he has a solid first serve. When it was 4-4 in the second set I was able to find something extra and the third set was a dogfight."
Virginia will face Ohio State in the semifinal son Monday at noon (PDT). The two squads faced earlier this year in the semifinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, where Virginia won 4-1 and went on to win the title.
"If you look at our scores this year, we haven't had a lot of close matches," head coach Brian Boland said following the match. "Stanford gave us everything they had in a great environment for college tennis. We will now learn from this and get ready for another tough match in the semifinals."
"I am really proud of this team," Boland said.
Full results follow the jump.
#1 Virginia 4, #8 Stanford 3
1. #2 Courtney/Shabaz (UVa) def. #3 Klahn/Thacher (Stan) 8-4
2. Jenkins/Uriguen (UVa) vs. Kandath/Lin (Stan) 6-6 DNF
3. Domijan/Singh (UVa) def. Ball/Clayton (Stan) 8-5
1. #9 Bradley Klahn (Stan) def. #5 Michael Shabaz (UVa) 6-4, 6-2
2. #46 Ryan Thacher (Stan) def. #2 Alex Domijan (UVa) 6-4, 6-3
3. #34 Sanam Singh (UVa) def. #71 Alex Clayton (Stan) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
4. #56 Jarmere Jenkins (UVa) def. #119 Denis Lin (Stan) 6-4, 6-2
5. Matt Kandath (Stan) def. Justin Shane (UVa) 7-5, 2-6, 6-4
6. Julen Uriguen (UVa) def. Daniel Ho (Stan) 6-4, 6-1
Order of Finish