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No. 3 men’s tennis finishes regular season undefeated in ACC play for fourth straight year

Virginia defeated Clemson 5-2 Thursday and defeated Georgia Tech 7-0 Saturday

<p>With the regular season over for the Virginia men's tennis players, they can now look towards the most important matches of the season.</p>

With the regular season over for the Virginia men's tennis players, they can now look towards the most important matches of the season.

No. 3 Virginia closed out its regular season over the weekend, facing Clemson Thursday and Georgia Tech Saturday. The Cavaliers (20-4, 12-0 ACC) defeated the Tigers (12-13, 3-8 ACC) 5-2 and went on to shut out the Yellow Jackets (17-7, 7-5 ACC) 7-0. With a pair of strong victories against conference foes, Virginia is right on track for another meaningful postseason run.

Match 1 — Virginia 5, Clemson 2

Virginia traveled to the Duckworth Family Tennis Facility in Clemson, S.C. Thursday afternoon for its faceoff against Clemson. Doubles play opened with senior Alexander Kiefer and freshman Dylan Dietrich winning their doubles match 6-1 on court three. Senior Iñaki Montes and graduate student Edoardo Graziani quickly followed and secured the doubles point for the Cavaliers, winning 7-5 on court two.

As singles play opened, the Tigers fought back and secured a point on court four to tie up the match — defeating sophomore Mans Dahlberg 6-2, 6-2. However, in just a few minutes, senior Jeffrey von der Schulenburg won 6-1, 6-4 on court two to help Virginia pull back ahead 2-1. 

After a close first set, senior Chris Rodesch followed Schulenburg’s victory with a 7-6, 6-1 win on the top court against senior Ryuhei Azuma. Rodesch is currently ranked the No. 7 singles player in the nation, and his performance Thursday proved why he is ranked so high. With the score now 3-1, Virginia only needed one more point to clinch the match and add another victory to its already impressive record.

Kiefer was the next to finish and the one to clinch the victory for the Cavaliers, winning 6-3, 6-3 on court five. Dietrich followed with a 7-5, 6-3 win on court three, giving Virginia its fifth point of the game. Before the match closed out, the Tigers managed to get one more point on the scoreboard to make the overall score 5-2 with a win on court six — junior Maxwell Smith defeated graduate student James Hopper 7-5, 6-3. Although Clemson gave a good fight, it wasn’t enough to overpower the efficient unit that Virginia has become. 

Match 2 — Virginia 7, Georgia Tech 0

After putting their win streak at 11 after defeating the Tigers, the Cavaliers traveled over to the Ken Byers Tennis Complex in Atlanta for their match against the Yellow Jackets.

The doubles point was extremely close, with Hopper and Montes winning 6-3 on the top court. Georgia Tech fought back quickly and overpowered Rodesch and Schulenburg on court two, defeating them 6-3. In the end, it came down to court three — where Dietrich and Kiefer were facing Yellow Jackets senior Kechav Chopra and sophomore Elias Shokry. The match was tied up at 6-6 and had to go to a tiebreaker to determine the results. Dietrich and Kiefer fought hard and won the tiebreaker 7-4 to clinch the doubles points for Virginia. 

Singles play opened up soon after doubles play ended to keep the match going. Although his doubles match took a while to get through, Dietrich flew through his singles match on court four and won 6-1, 6-2 to give the Cavaliers their second point of the match. 

In just a few minutes, Schulenburg also dominated in his match, winning 6-2, 6-3 to make the overall score 3-0 — continuing to keep Georgia Tech off the scoreboard. Courts two, five and six were still in play, and it quickly became apparent that one of these courts would win the clinching point for Virginia — it was just a matter of time to see who would be the one to do it.

Dahlberg redeemed himself from losing his singles match against Clemson and won the game-winning point for the Cavaliers, going 7-6, 6-0 on court five to clinch the match. Kiefer finished close behind Dahlerg with a 6-3, 6-4 win on court six, and Montes gave Virginia its sixth point of the day by finishing his singles match on court two with a 6-3, 6-3 win.

Rodesch was the last to finish and complete the shut-out, due to his match being the most intense of all. Rodesch faced No. 11 senior Andres Martin on the top court, and after having the first set go to a tiebreaker, Rodesch managed to edge out Martin to win the first set. In the second set, he broke Martin’s serve near the end of the second set to win 6-4, securing the victory on the top court. 

With the regular season over for Virginia, they can now look towards the most important matches of the season — first the ACC Championships, then later the NCAA Championships. 

The conference championships are first, with the Cavaliers being the No. 1 seed — with this placement, Virginia receives a double bye and will begin play in the quarterfinals Friday morning at 10 a.m. The ACC Championship will take place at the Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C. The full bracket and seedings for the conference playoffs will be released Sunday. After seeing how the Cavaliers have performed against their conference opponents all season, it will not be surprising to see them make it far and even win the ACC Championship. 


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