The Virginia men’s tennis team advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 victory over No. 5 Baylor Sunday afternoon at the Ken Byers Tennis Center.
The Cavaliers are now 27-2, and advance to the NCAA Semifinals for the fifth consecutive year.
UVa will meet top-seeded USC in the semifinals Monday. That match will start at 5 p.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens at the University of Georgia.
The 'Hoos opened the match by winning the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead. The Cavaliers grabbed an edge in doubles as Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Mac Styslinger rallied from down two early breaks, 3-0, to post an 8-5 win at No. 2 over Diego Galeano and Tony Lupieri. Baylor drew even with a win at No. 3, where Julian Lenz and Michel Dornbusch topped Mitchell Frank and Ryan Shane 8-6. The opening point came down to the match at No. 1, where neither side could take advantage of break point opportunities, as it went to a tiebreaker. In the breaker, Alex Domijan and Justin Shane came back from a 5-3 deficit to win the final four points of the match for an 8-7(5) victory over Patrick Pradella and Mate Zsiga.
“We made some changes today in doubles,” said head coach Brian Boland. “We had some guys who have played together some this year, so we mixed some things up. Alex and Justin came through at No. 1 to clinch it. That was some high-level doubles, on all three courts. It was great atmosphere during the doubles and I hope the guys enjoyed it, I know I did.”
In the singles matches, UVa took five of the six first sets to seize control of the match. The Shane brothers extended the lead 3-0 as Justin downed Zsiga 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5 and Ryan topped Galeano 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3. Domijan sealed the win with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Lenz at No. 1, edging out J.C. Aragone to record the clinching point. Aragone was serving 6-4, 6-5 (ad-in) when his match at No. 6 against Lupieri was abandoned.
The Cavaliers and Trojans will meet in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in the last eight years. After Virginia won in the 2007 quarterfinals in Athens, USC defeated the Cavaliers four straight years from 2009-12, including in the 2011 and 2012 finals. The teams haven’t met since the 2013 ITA National Team Indoor Championship final in Seattle, a 4-2 Cavalier victory.
“We are really looking forward to playing Southern Cal,” said Boland. “We played them last time indoors and were able to get the win. It is always a great match when we play them and I know tomorrow will be no different.”