©Colette Lewis 2009--
When UCLA snared the doubles point and the first sets in four of the singles matches, Virginia's chance to repeat as Team Indoor champions looked bleak. But Michael Shabaz at No. 3 and Sanam Singh at No. 2 came back from a set down in their matches to earn the Cavaliers a semifinal berth against Tennessee on Sunday.
Dom Inglot got Virginia's first point with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Haythem Abid at No. 1, and Drew Courtney gave the Cavaliers a lead with a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Amit Inbar at No. 6. When Shabaz earned a split against Harel Srugo with a 6-3 second set after dropping the first set 6-2, the tide turned for Virginia. Bruin Nick Meister brought UCLA even when he beat Steven Rooda 6-2, 7-5 at No. 5, but Shabaz quickly grabbed it back, taking the third set against Srugo 6-3.
With a 3-2 lead, Virginia needed either the match at No. 4, where Houston Barrick trailed Michael Look 6-7, 3-4, or at No. 2, where Singh and Matt Brooklyn had just entered the third set. It soon came down to No. 2, because Look broke and held for a 7-6, 6-3 victory at 4. Singh, who had cramped in the 2008 NCAA semifinals against Georgia in a final-match-on situation, losing to Jamie Hunt, redeemed himself Saturday night. After dropping the first set 6-2, Singh stepped up his game and played much more freely winning the second 6-4 on a late break. After going up 2-0 in the third, Singh was broken back, but it was the only game he lost. With his teammates yelling encouragement from the adjacent court, Singh passed Brooklyn regularly and eliminated the unforced errors that had plagued him in the first set, and he rolled to a 6-1 win.
When he finished, the sheer joy that he and his team expressed may have washed away the disappointment of that warm night in Tulsa last May.
For complete scores, see the ITA results page.
Saturday, February 14, 2009