Women's Tennis Outfights Illini, 4-3

Feb. 17, 2008

SEATTLE - For the second day in a row senior Tara Simpson provided the clinching singles win, helping the Husky women's tennis team to their eighth-straight victory, a 4-3 decision over No. 68 Illinois at the Mercer Island Country Club.

In a nailbiter between two teams on the rise, the 48th-ranked Huskies (8-1) proved to be just a little farther along than the Fighting Illini, who played like a much better team their ranking suggests. The early doubles point wound up being the difference, as Washington swept doubles, then won three of the six singles matches.

In Saturday's win over Purdue, the Huskies came out flat in doubles and lost the point. Attacking from the start was an emphasis today, and it showed with the Huskies taking it to the Fighting Illini at each spot. Simpson and sophomore Joyce Ardies quickly dispatched Megan Fudge and Leigh Finnegan, 8-3, at No. 1 doubles. Freshmen duo Venise Chan and Kelsey Anonsen were 8-5 winners at No. 2 over Marisa Lambropoulos and Shivani Dave. Also winning were sophomore Aleksandra Malovic and freshman Vanja Radunovic over Christine Stromberg and Kristina Minor, 8-6.

'We wanted to come out with more fire and I told them that teams aren't going to show up and be happy to lose to us,' said head coach Jill Hultquist. 'They're going to come after us and we have to be ready. Illinois is a team like ourselves, that has been out of the rankings and now is back in and anxious to get higher. They forced us to dig deep and we were able to get a very big win.'

Owning the 1-0 edge, Chan then pummeled Fudge in the No. 1 singles spot, 6-0, 6-1 as the Hong Kong native continues to amaze in her first season. Chan is 9-0 in dual play and has won 12 straight singles matches.

Ardies was also a convincing winner at No. 4 singles, where she topped Dave, 6-2, 6-4.

Illinois battled back with wins at No. 5 and 6 singles. Minor beat Anonsen, 7-5, 6-3 in the six spot, then Illinois senior Momei Qu benefited from her three additional years of experience in defeating Radunovic, 6-3, 6-4 at five.

That left UW with a 3-2 lead, and two matches in the middle of third sets at No. 2 and 3 singles. Simpson steeled her resolve and finally put away Lambropoulous, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, to ignite the Husky celebration. Illinois then got the final point at second singles, where Finnegan notched a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over Malovic.

Still, the Huskies head in to Pac-10 play on a roll, and have already equaled their win total from 2006 and 2007 combined.

Coincidentally, the Washington men's tennis team also faces Illinois today. The men's match is a consolation dual in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.

The Huskies will now put their eight-match winning streak on the line against perennial powerhouses Stanford and California. The No. 3 Cardinal visit the Nordstrom Tennis Center on Friday, Feb. 22 for a 12 noon match. The following day, also at noon, UW faces the ninth-ranked Golden Bears.

Washington Women's Tennis
2/17/08 - Mercer Island Country Club

No. 48 Washington 4, No. 68 Illinois 3

Doubles
1. Ardies/Simpson (UW) def. Fudge/Finnegan (UI), 8-3
2. Chan/Anonsen (UW) def. Lambropoulos/Dave (UI), 8-5
3. Malovic/Radunovic (UW) def. Stromberg/Minor (UI), 8-6

Singles
1. Venise Chan (UW) def. Megan Fudge (UI), 6-0, 6-1
2. Leigh Finnegan (UI) def. Aleksandra Malovic (UW), 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
3. Tara Simpson (UW) def. Marisa Lambropoulos (UI), 6-2, 5-7, 6-3*
4. Joyce Ardies (UW) def. Shivani Dave (UI), 6-2, 6-4
5. Momei Qu (UI) def. Vanja Radunovic (UW), 6-3, 6-4
6. Kristina Minor (UI) def. Kelsey Anonsen (UW), 7-5, 6-3
* Clinching match

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