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UVA Tennis: Shane, Kwiatkowski reach NCAA singles semifinals

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uva-logo-new2For the first time in school history, the UVA men’s tennis team has a pair of semifinalists at the NCAA Singles Championship. Ryan Shane (Falls Church, Va.) and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.) both won three-set quarterfinal matches Saturday at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center on the campus of Baylor University.

Virginia is just the second school in the past 13 years to have a pair of semifinalists in the men’s singles tournament. Tennessee accomplished the feat in 2011 with Rhyne Williams and Tennys Sandgren. The Cavaliers are the first NCAA Champion to have two semifinalists since Stanford in 2000.

All four of the semifinalists are American and play at ACC schools. The ACC is the first conference since the Pac-10 in 1995 to have all four men’s semifinalists.

Shane, the tournament’s No 8 seed, advanced to the semifinals with a 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3 win over Felipe Soares of Texas Tech. Both players held serve throughout the first set, which went to a tiebreaker. Shane jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the breaker and won it 7-4 to take the opening set. Soares used the first break of the match, midway through the second set, to win the set 6-4 and force a decisive third set. The final set stayed on serve until Shane broke to take a 5-3 lead. He held serve in the ensuing game to close out the three-set win. He will play Quentin Monaghan of Notre Dame on Sunday.

Kwiatkowski reached the semifinals with A 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 win over Winston Lin of Columbia. The first set remained on serve until Kwitakowski broke Lin in the final game to win the set 6-4. In the second set, Kwitatkowski raced out to a 3-0 lead, only to have Lin answer with three games to get back to 3-3. Lin broke again and served for the second set at 5-4, but Kwiatkowski broke right back to stay in the set. Lin broke again to take a 6-5 lead before successfully serving out the set on his second try.

The final set remained on serve until 4-4, when Lin broke to take a 5-4 lead. As Lin served for the match, Kwiatkowski saved two match points before breaking back for 5-5. Kwiatkowski held for a 6-5 lead after saving one break point against him that would have allowed Lin to serve for the match a second time. Instead, Kwiatkowski broke Lin at love to close out his three-set victory. He will play sixth-seeded Noah Rubin of Wake Forest in the semifinals.

Kwiatkowski’s victory was his 44th singles win of the season, tying the Virginia single-season school record. Somdev Devvarman set the record in 2008 when he went 44-1 en route to winning the NCAA Singles Championship.

Sunday’s semifinal matches are slated for noon (CT) at the Hurd Tennis Center. Live scoring and video of the NCAA Singles Championship is available on NCAA.com.

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