The Virginia men’s tennis team is moving on in the NCAA tournament. Virginia hosted the first two rounds this past weekend in Charlottesville, picking up a 4-0 sweep over Fairleigh Dickinson and a 4-2 victory against Stanford. Now, the Hoos will continue onto the Round of 16 to face 12-seed USC.
Virginia cruised to a win in Saturday’s matchup against FDU as the Hoos got the doubles point and victories from Iñaki Montes (6-1, 6-0), Gianni Ross (6-1, 6-0), and William Woodall (6-0, 6-3). On Sunday, the Cavaliers squared off against a talented Stanford team.
“When the bracket came out on Monday night and saw Stanford was coming to Virginia, we said all right, we’ve got our hands full. And we knew it was going to be a tough match,” Virginia head coach Andres Pedroso said after the win over the Cardinal. “Every single guy on my team knows we had tough match and that by no means we were taking those guys lightly. They proved to be really, really tough to beat. And that’s, that’s what Stanford tennis has been about for a long time. I’ve got a lot of respect for that program.”
Stanford, the Pac-12 champion, jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to the doubles point, meaning Virginia would need to take four of the six singles matches to move on. They got off to a great start with first set wins on five courts. Third year Ryan Goetz won in straight sets (6-1, 6-3) to tie things up at 1-1, and the Hoos jumped out to a 3-1 lead thanks to wins by Montes and Ross.
The lead was cut to 3-2 after a Stanford win on court two, but all the attention turned to court three as Chris Rodesch battled back from a first-set loss to force a third. Rodesch, a 6-6 first year from Luxembourg, won in dramatic fashion as he took the tiebreaker (7-5) in the third set to clinch the match point.
“That match was Chris Rodesch in a nutshell.” Pedroso said of his player. “The guy is always in an unbelievable mood. He’s just a positive guy. Nothing gets him down. So a couple of numbers on the scoreboard aren’t going to get that kid down. He just keeps fighting and that’s how he lives his life.”
Virginia next plays on May 17, facing the Trojans at 4pm. The remainder of the tournament will be played at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida. The Hoos won the ACC tournament and are one of two ACC teams left in the postseason, joined by 6-seed North Carolina. This is Virginia’s 15th trip to the Round of 16 in the last 16 NCAA tournaments.