Although the collegiate tennis season is still young, there have already been some major upsets. Earlier this week, Cracked Racquets’ Parsa Nemati posted an interview he did with Texas’ coach Michael Center after his team was upset by the Notre Dame fighting Irish. That wasn’t the biggest upset though, as the defending champion Virginia Cavaliers were taken down by the #25 ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders. One of Cracked Racquets’ newest writers Ryan Cardiff breaks down the match!
It was #25 Texas Tech who handed #15 Virginia its first loss of the season. This is the Cavaliers’ first loss since winning last year’s title. The Red Raiders won 4-3 in an ITA Kickoff Weekend first round matchup this past Saturday.
After barely sneaking past unranked Richmond and Temple, an upset seemed to be on the horizon for the Cavaliers. This Virginia team has lost five key players from last year’s 2017 NCAA championship team, including Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, Alexander Ritschard, JC Aragone, Luca Corintelli, and Collin Altamirano.
Texas Tech got on the board early in doubles with a quick 6-0 win for 29th ranked Jackson Cobb and Alex Sendegeya. Matheus Leite and Tommy Mylnikov followed that up with a 7-5 win on court 3 over Aswin Lizen and Matthew Lord to clinch the doubles point for the Red Raiders.
In singles action, Artem Kapshuck was first off the court for the Red Raiders with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Ammar Alhaqbani to put the Red Raiders up 2-0. Virginia would not go down easy though, as they compiled three straight wins on courts 1-3 to go ahead 3-2. Gianni Ross, one of the nation’s highly touted freshmen, defeated Connor Curry 6-1 7-5 to give Virginia their first point of the day. UVA’s Carl Soderlund followed that up with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Mylnikov. Lizen finished soon thereafter with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Sendegeya.
Tech’s Ilgiz Valiev stopped Virginia’s momentum with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 win on court 4 over Virginia’s Lord to tie the match at 3-3. With all eyes shifting to court 6, Tech’s Matheus Leite defeated Kyrylo Tsygura to clinch Texas Tech’s 4-3 upset victory.
Texas Tech head coach Brett Masi noted how big this upset meant for his program (from TT’s website): “Winning against the three-time defending NCAA champions and a historical program like Virginia is big time for our program. I knew they would be tough in the top three positions of their singles lineup, but I felt that we had more match experience at the bottom of the lineup. I told the guys that our match toughness would show and playing those matches early on this season proved to be a great benefit for us today.”
After clinching such a huge upset, Texas Tech was not able to ride that wave of momentum to a trip to National Indoors. They lost to 23rd ranked Columbia 4-1 the following day.
Virginia’s struggles continued with a 4-1 loss to unranked Ole Miss. After three years of pure dominance by Virginia, this year’s title is up for grabs.
Are you as shocked as we are at the slow start Virginia has had? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.