Tide Tennis Duo Faces Top-Ranked Pair

The 19th ranked Alabama doubles tandem of Daniel Buikema and Mathieu Thibaudeau will face top ranked Virginia's Somdev Devvarman and Treat Huey in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Doubles Championships starting Thursday.

The Tide tandem is 29-11 overall and has competed against 10 teams in the 32-team doubles bracket. Out of the 10 teams, the junior duo is 6-4, including a win over the 10th ranked Berg and Wellerman of Ole Miss during the regular season.

"We're excited about playing in the NCAA's again," said Alabama junior Daniel Buikema. "We have a challenging first round match but last time we played them we won so we're confident we can do well."

The Tide is 1-0 against the Virginia tandem of Devvarman and Huey. The only meeting between the two teams came back in 2007 in Tuscaloosa where Alabama inched past the Virginia pair 9-8 (7-3). Devvarman and Huey are 37-4 on the season with their four losses coming from teams in the top 50.

"We've had a great week of preparation and the guys are very sharp," said Tide Coach Billy Pate. "It will be a challenging match but we'll be ready."

The 2008 NCAA doubles tournament kicks off Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla. Complete information on the 2008 NCAA singles and doubles championships can be found at www.rolltide.com or tulsahurricane.cstv.com.

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