Men’s tennis picks up first ACC victories of season

Cavaliers beat Boston College 5-2, No. 18 Notre Dame 6-1 in a stunning weekend

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Freshman Gianni Ross stepped up to No. 1 court against Boston College and delivered a big win. 

Christina Anton | Cavalier Daily

After falling to Louisville, the Virginia men’s tennis team came back strong this weekend, picking up back-to-back wins at home over ACC opponents. 

On Friday, Virginia (9-5, 2-1 ACC) beat the Boston College (5-7, 0-3 ACC) in a 5-2 match that was made even more impressive by the absence in singles play of sophomore Carl Söderlund, one of Virginia’s most talented players. Taking Söderlund’s spot at the top seed was freshman Gianni Ross, who defeated the Eagles’ experienced graduate student Gereon Heitmann handily in an incredible performance that has become typical for him since the beginning of the season. Freshman Jefferson Dockter also won his first victory in the ACC at the No. 6 court on Friday, defeating Boston College’s sophomore Max Palmer to increase the margin of victory for the Cavaliers.

Surprisingly, Virginia fared even better against the No. 18 Fighting Irish (10-8, 2-1 ACC). Söderlund returned to the No. 1 court on Sunday, defeating junior Alex Lebedev in a massive struggle that required Soderlund to win a tiebreaker in the first set and come back from a 1-4 game deficit in the second. Across the rest of the courts, the Cavaliers played phenomenally — winning out on every individual match except for the No. 5 court, where freshman Ammar Alhaqbani fell in a hard-fought match to Notre Dame’s Matt Gamble.

Overall, the weekend’s performances by the Cavaliers could mark a turning point in what was a troubling start for the young team. It could not have come soon enough, as the Cavaliers will next have a tough stretch of four road games in conference, including at North Carolina and Duke.

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