Tide Tennis Duo Falls To No. 1 Virginia

TULSA, Okla.- The 19th ranked Tide tandem of Daniel Buikema and Mathieu Thibaudeau fell in straight sets to top ranked Somdev Devvarman and Treat Huey of Virginia Thursday in the first round of the NCAA doubles tournament.

"It was a very close match and we certainly had our opportunities," said Alabama Coach Billy Pate. "It was much like our season as a team and we were very close to doing something special and fell just short. The Virginia team is number one in the country for a reason. They really made us play the extra ball when we could have seized momentum."

The Alabama pair had chances to send the first set to a tiebreaker with Virginia on serve but failed to capitalize on the opportunities. Virginia eventually took the first set 7-6. The Cavaliers held the momentum and jumped out to an early lead on the Tide pair. Alabama made a late run to tie the match in the second set but Virginia went on to take the match with a 7-6, 6-3 decision.

With the loss Buikema and Thibaudeau end the season with a 29-12 ledger and are 0-2 in the NCAA doubles tournament.

Devvarman and Huey, now 36-4, advance to the second round and will face the winner of Texas A&M and Pepperdine Friday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.

"It's unfortunate because I really felt we had a chance to compete for the doubles title," said Pate. "Last year we played the defending champions first round. Its luck of the draw but we just need to play our way into a seed and make our own luck.

"We are going to work tirelessly from this point. Our team is so hungry to be great and we are going to do everything in our power to make it happen next year. We're on the cusp of special things happening with our tennis program and I'm energized about that."

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