12th-Ranked Huskies Host Arizona Schools In Home Finale

April 5, 2005

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- THIS WEEK: Currently second in the Pac-10, Washington's 12th-ranked men's tennis team continues to push toward the postseason with two key matches this weekend against Arizona and Arizona State. The matches are the final two at home for the Huskies, and the final home appearances for veteran Husky seniors Christoph Palmanshofer, Peter Scharler, and Alex Vlaski. The Huskies (15-4, 3-1 Pac-10) host the 49th-ranked Arizona Wildcats on Friday, April 8 at 2 p.m., then return for the home finale on Sunday, April 10 at 12 noon.

SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Wildcats are ranked 49th but played well last week, upsetting California, 5-2, and barely losing to Stanford, 4-3. They are 1-3 in Pac-10 play, losing to Stanford, USC, and UCLA, and are 8-9 overall. Junior Roger Matalonga is the highest ranked Wildcat at No. 55, but recently senior Colin O'Grady has been playing No. 1 singles. O'Grady and Matalonga are ranked 19th as a doubles team. The Huskies defeated the Wildcats, 6-1, last year in Seattle, capturing the doubles point and top five singles matches, however Arizona still leads the all-time series, 11-7.

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils have struggled to a 6-11 record and are 0-4 thus far in Pac-10 play. Arizona State is currently mired in a 10 match losing streak. Most recently, they lost a pair of 6-1 decisions at the hands of California and Stanford. The only Sun Devil to appear in the ITA Rankings is senior Clint Letcher, who just cracks the 125-man field at No. 122. Washington knocked off Arizona State, 4-3, last year, winning the doubles point and then splitting the six singles matches. The Huskies are 4-14 all-time against the Sun Devils.

LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies split a pair of Pac-10 matches last weekend against UCLA and USC. Washington rebounded from a disappointing 5-0 loss to sixth-ranked UCLA on April 1, with a huge 4-3 win over 12th-ranked USC on April 2. The win gave the Huskies solid hold of second place in the conference behind UCLA. The match against the Bruins was played like an NCAA Tournament match, with play being suspended once one team had clinched. The Bruins won the first and third doubles matches, suspending the No. 2 match, where Alex Vlaski and Christoph Palmanshofer led 6-5. Vlaski and Palmanshofer were each upended at No. 1 and 2 singles, Vlaski losing to No. 10 Benjamin Kohlloeffel and No. 7 Luben Pampoulov knocking off Palmanshofer. UCLA also took fifth and sixth singles in straight sets. Alex Slovic was three games away from beating 50th-ranked Kris Kwinta, up 6-4, 3-2 when play was stopped. Daniel Chu's No. 4 singles match was still on court when play ended, having lost the first set to Chris Lam but leading 3-1 in the second. Washington would rebound against the 12th-ranked Trojans, coming out and winning the top two doubles matches to take the 1-0 lead. Chu and Slovic upset No. 36 Jamil Al-Agba and Johan Berg at No. 1 doubles. The Huskies then captured five of the six first sets in singles, and looked poised to run away with the win. However, USC would force third sets in four of the five matches, and Vlaski would take his No. 1 singles match to a third set as well, after losing the first to No. 28 Al-Agba. Slovic was the day's only straight-set winner, downing Berg, 6-2, 7-5, at No. 3 singles. Andy Kuharszky came through for UW at sixth singles, taking his third set, 6-3, against Whit Livingston for the Huskies' third point. Vlaski then clinched the win, pulling away from Al-Agba in the third set, 6-2. The win marked only the second for Washington over USC in the series history.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: In today's ITA Team Rankings, Washington swapped spots with USC after defeating the Trojans last Saturday, climbing to a new season-high No. 12. Each of Washington's three ranked singles players moved up in the newest singles and doubles rankings, also released today. Alex Vlaski broke into the top-20 for the first time this year, coming in now at No. 19. Alex Slovic, winner of four straight, climbed five spots to No. 29, while Christoph Palmanshofer made the biggest leap, up 18 spots from No. 75 to No. 57. Bursting into the doubles rankings is the team of Slovic and Daniel Chu, who were rewarded for their recent string of upsets with a No. 27 ranking. The two have only played seven matches together on the season, but recently have defeated the third, 11th, and 36th-ranked teams. Slovic and Andy Kuharszky also are now ranked 49th in doubles, despite not playing together since March 7.

VLASKI ZEROES IN ON WINS RECORD: Senior All-American Alex Vlaski is on his way to cementing himself as the greatest player in Washington history. The Belgrade, Yugoslavia native currently needs five more wins to tie the career singles wins record currently shared by former Huskies Matt Hanlin and Chet Crile. Vlaski's career record of 103-29 is the highest singles winning percentage in UW history at .780. In all likelihood, the career wins record would already be Vlaski's alone, except he took this year's fall season off to play professionally and raise his world ranking. Vlaski was unranked at the start of the spring season, yet has already climbed up to 19th. Based on the current rankings, Vlaski has wins over four top-20 players this year, including San Diego's Pierrick Ysern (9), USCs Jamil Al-Agba (10), Pepperdine's Pedro Rico (13), and Cal's Conor Niland (16). Winner of the 2003 All-American Championships, Vlaski is the only Husky to earn All-American honors in two separate years: 2003 and 2004.

LIVE SCORING: Live scoring updates will be made available for Washington home matches in 2005 at www.gohuskies.com.

UP NEXT: The men close out their regular season schedule next weekend in Eugene, Oregon for a Pac-10 dual against the Oregon Ducks. The Huskies face the Ducks on Saturday, April 16, at 2 p.m.

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