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Friday, May 21, 2010

Top Seed Virginia Rolls Past Duke Before Rain Returns to Athens

©Colette Lewis 2010--
Athens, GA--

Duke head coach Ramsey Smith was optimistic going into today's match with top-ranked Virginia. His team had lost twice this year to the Cavaliers, but the scores were close--4-3 in Durham and 4-2 in the ACC conference final. Virginia had other ideas, however, as they took a close doubles point then rolled in singles, posting a 4-0 win less than a half hour before the morning rain reappeared.

Asked what an opponent would need to do to beat Virginia, Smith was blunt. "Win the doubles point." The No. 16 Blue Devils couldn't stay with Virginia at No. 3 doubles, as Jarmere Jenkins and Lee Singer cruised to a 8-3 win over Alain Michel and Torsten Wietoska, but they had their chances at No. 1 and No. 2, before Houston Barrick and Sanam Singh earned a late break to take an 8-6 decision from Duke's Dylan Arnould and David Holland. The No. 1 court was in a tiebreaker when Virginia got the doubles point.

In singles, Virginia came out, as Ohio State had earlier in the day, with their top players in peak form. At No. 1, Virginia's Michael Shabaz rolled past No. 2 Henrique Cunha 6-1 in a set that Smith described as the best set of college tennis he'd seen all season. Jarmere Jenkins at No. 3 was up 6-1 over Dylan Arnould in no time, and Drew Courtney took a quick first set from Wietoska at No. 4 6-3.

Head coach Brian Boland inserted freshman Julen Uriquen, 10th on the Cavaliers depth chart, at No. 6 singles against Luke Marchese of Duke and in his NCAA debut, Uriguen won the first set in a tiebreaker. With Singh's win over Carleton at No. 2 and Barrick's over Jared Pinsky at No. 5, the Cavaliers had won all six first sets.

Courtney finished first, and was followed closely by Jenkins and Barrick, who won 6-4, 6-2 over Pinsky.

Despite the convincing win, Boland seemed certain that Virginia had not yet played its best match.

"I know our team is in a really good place right now," Boland said. "But we'll get better in the next couple of days."

For complete results, see the interactive draw at ncaa.com.