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Friday, February 18, 2011

Hardenbergh Saves Five Match Points, Leads Host Virginia to 4-3 Upset of No. 3 Baylor at ITA Women's Indoor Championships; Duke Ousts USC in Seattle

Starting at 9 o'clock this morning and continuing well into the wee hours of Saturday, there has been one exciting match after another at the Men's and Women's Team Indoor Championships.

It's hard to picture any of the subsequent contests equaling the Virginia women's 4-3 victory over No. 3 Baylor however, with junior Lindsey Hardenbergh saving five match points and getting an overrule in her favor in the final tiebreaker to come away with a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(8) victory and the fourth point against Baylor's Diana Nakic.

Steve Kirkland, the Virginia tennis SID, provided this account on what is "the biggest win in school history" for the women's team:

With the score tied at 3-3, the dual match came down to the match at No. 2 singles. Hardenbergh had led 6-3, 5-1, but Nakic rallied to win six straight games to force a third set. Nakic led 5-1 in the final set and had two match points at 5-2, but Hardenbergh rallied and took a 6-5 lead. Hardenbergh had three match points in the 6-5 game, but Nakic saved them and forced a decisive tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, Nakic had three match points as she took a 6-3 lead. After Hardenbergh saved the first of those three match points, Nakic double-faulted to make the score 6-5 in the breaker. On the next point Hardenbergh hit a shot down the line that Nakic called out, thinking she had clinched the match for Baylor. However, the call was overruled and since it was Nakic’s fourth overrule of the match, the game penalty gave Hardenbergh the tiebreaker and the victory.

For the complete results from the Baylor - Virginia match, see virginiasports.com.

Hardenbergh's heroics overshadowed a slightly less dramatic reversal by Duke's Reid Carleton, who came back from two match points down to USC's Daniel Nguyen to take a 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-3 victory at No. 2 singles, which gave the No. 15 Blue Devils a 4-3 victory over the second-seeded Trojans.

In other women's action today, Clemson beat No. 7 seed UCLA 4-3; No. 2 Florida downed Miami 4-1 and No. 6 Duke defeated Tennessee 4-1. In the early evening matches, two-time defending champion Northwestern blanked No. 5 Cal 4-0, and No. 4 seed North Carolina took out Washington 4-2, leaving the Pac-10 still searching for its first win in the opening round. They got it with No. 1 Stanford easily getting past Arkansas 4-0. No. 8 Michigan beat Georgia Tech 4-1.

The draws can be found on the ITA website.

In other men's first round action, No. 10 Florida squeezed by No. 7 Stanford 4-3, No. 6 UCLA cruised past No. 11 Louisville 4-1, and No. 3 Tennessee beat No. 14 Georgia 4-2 despite losing four first sets in singles. No. 5 Texas beat No. 12 Kentucky 4-2 tonight, meaning there has yet to be a shutout recorded in the men's draw in five decisions. Texas will play No. 4 Ohio State on Saturday. The Buckeyes lost the doubles point to No. 13 Texas Tech, but won the match 4-1.

The men's tournament page at the ITA site is here.

I want to get this posted, even though there are two men's matches yet to be finished, but I will add to the post either later tonight or tomorrow morning.

NOTE: No. 1 Virginia defeated No. 16 Washington 4-1, and No. 8 Illinois topped No. 9 Texas A&M by the same score in the final two first round matches in Seattle.