Xi's No. 4 singles win pushes Virginia past Texas into NCAA Round of 16
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Junior Li Xi saved two match points during her match-clinching victory at No. 4 singles as Virginia rallied for a dramatic 4-3 win against Texas in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday at Snyder Tennis Center.
The Cavaliers improved to 19-9 and advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 for the third consecutive season. Virginia takes on Texas A&M on Friday, May 17.
"I'm so happy for the kids, that's really what you think about," UVa head coach Mark Guilbeau said. "So happy they get to go and play another match and specifically, make the Round of 16. We're going to prepare and be ready and have a great time going after it."
Texas captured the doubles point with wins at Nos. 1 and 2. Virginia won the first doubles match at No. 3 as Xi and senior Maria Fuccillo defeated Annat Rabinovich and Lina Padegimaite 8-4. Texas responded as Elizabeth Begley and Aeriel Ellis beat freshman Julia Elbaba and senior Hana Tomljanovic 8-2 at No. 2. No. 19 Breaunna Addison and Noel Scott clinched the point with an 8-4 win against senior co-captain Erin Vierra and freshman Stephanie Nauta at No. 1.
Vierra tied the score at one with a 6-1, 6-3 win against Padegimaite at No. 5, but Texas gained a 2-1 lead as Addison posted a 6-2, 6-3 win against Nauta at No. 2.
Junior Caryssa Peretz tied the score at two with a 6-4, 6-2 decision against Lana Groenvynck at No. 6.
Tomljanovic gave the Cavaliers a 3-2 lead with a 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (4) win against Begley at No. 3 singles. Tomljanovic was down two breaks at 4-1 in the third set before rallying to force a third-set breaker. In the tiebreaker, Tomljanovic trailed 3-0 before winning seven of the next eight points to clinch her win.
Ellis tied the score at three with a 7-6 (3), 7-5 win against Elbaba at No. 1.
After losing the first set, Xi was down a break at 4-2 in the second before getting the set to a tiebreaker. During the second-set tiebreaker, Xi saved match points at 5-6 and 6-7 before winning 9-7 to force a decisive third set. Like Tomljanovic, Xi also trailed by two breaks at 4-1 in the third set. Xi won the next three games to get back on serve and the set eventually went to a tiebreaker. Xi dominated the third-set tiebreaker 7-0 to punch Virginia's third consecutive Round of 16 berth.
"I told myself that I'm not going to lose this match," Xi said. "I'm just going to fight until the end. I tried to play well every point. I didn't think about the score. I just played."