No. 28 Huskies Prep for Pepperdine and Pacific
March 5, 2008
THIS WEEK: Two non-conference home duals are on tap for the 28th-ranked Washington men's tennis team, which has won three straight. The Huskies (8-4) host 43rd-ranked Pepperdine on Friday, March 7 at 3 p.m., then square off against Pacific on Sunday, March 9 at 12 noon. Both matches will be at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. Admission is free for all spectators and free parking is also available at the kiosk in front of Husky Stadium.
SCOUTING PEPPERDINE: Pepperdine dropped from 22nd to 43rd in this week's rankings, but that looks to be a deceptive indicator of how good the Waves are. Pepperdine was the 2006 NCAA Champion, and has played an extremely difficult non-conference schedule. Despite being 3-5 on the year, all five of Pepperdine's losses have come to teams currently ranked in the Top-20, including three losses by 4-3 margins to No. 8 Michigan, No. 16 Florida State, and No. 21 Alabama. The Crimson Tide are the only common opponent between the Huskies and Waves, with UW scoring a 4-2 win over Alabama at the National Team Indoor Championships. The ITA singles rankings give an indication of the talent on Pepperdine, as senior Andre Begemann is ranked 19th, sophomore Bassam Beidas is ranked 25th, and junior Omar Altmann is ranked 97th. Begemann is a two-time All-American. The Waves were 23-8 last season, and lost to USC in the second round of their NCAA title defense. Adam Steinberg is in his sixth season as head coach at Pepperdine. Pepperdine leads the all-time series, 3-2, and beat the Huskies in the last meeting in 2006 on their way to the NCAA title.
SCOUTING PACIFC: The Pacific Tigers are 4-3 with a match at Oregon prior to Sunday's tilt with the Huskies. They have played one other Pac-10 opponent, losing 6-1 at Arizona on Feb. 2. Pacific has already surpassed its 2007 win total, when it struggled to a 3-18 record. Freshman David Gonzalez has impressed in his first season, going 7-0 in dual matches while playing No. 3 singles most recently. Redshirt-freshman Artem Gramma has played No. 1 singles for Pacific, as has junior Moritz Starke, who was named Big West Player of the Week on Feb. 20. Washington has not lost to Pacific in seven previous meetings. Guido Baumann is in his 11th season at the helm of the Pacific men's tennis program.
LAST TIME OUT: Washington passed a critical road test, traveling to Eugene, Ore. for non-conference duals with Oregon and No. 59 Denver. The Huskies handed their Northwest rivals a 4-3 loss on Friday, sweeping the doubles point, then picking up wins in the top three singles spots. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan clinched the victory with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 over Francisco Gallardo at No. 2 singles. Patrik Fischer and Andy Kuharszky also notched singles wins. Saturday, UW used a revamped singles lineup to down the Pioneers, 5-2. With Derek Drabble nursing a sore ankle, David Chu jumped into the singles lineup and defeated Denver's Andrew Landwerlen, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 5, while freshman Martin Kildahl played his first dual singles match, and got his first win, 6-3, 6-4 over Kalle Rosen at No. 6. Kuharszky clinched the victory, and Nedunchezhiyan won in straight sets as well. Kuharszky was 4-0 in singles and doubles over the weekend, leading to his first career Pac-10 Player of the Week award.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Freshman Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan entered the ITA singles rankings for the first time during the regular season this week, reaching No. 82. Nedunchezhiyan was ranked 106th at the start of the fall season before having played a collegiate match. The native of Chennai, India has won six of his past eight matches, including wins over then-No. 17 Nate Schnugg of Georgia, and then-No. 95 Blake Strode of Arkansas to help boost him in the rankings. Neduncezhiyan is the first Husky freshman to be ranked since Alex Slovic in 2003, who went on to become UW's all-time combined wins leader. As a team, the Huskies slipped one spot this week despite winning twice last weekend, coming in at No. 28. The Dawgs began the season ranked 37th, making their biggest jump from 36th to 27th following the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, where they upset then-No. 10 Alabama.
KUHARSZKY CLIMBS THE CHARTS: Senior captain Andy Kuharszky has been a four-year stalwart in the Husky singles and doubles lineups, and this year has seen him place his name in the recordbooks alongside some of the greats in Husky history. With two singles wins and two doubles wins this past weekend, Kuharszky reached 78 singles wins and 73 doubles wins for his career. The 78 wins in singles ties him with Ornello Arlati (1993-96) and Scott Pearson (1980-83) for eighth on the career list, and he surpassed former All-American Eric Drew (1996-99) for third on the doubles list with 73, just 10 wins shy of the top spot. With 151 combined victories, Kuharszky is seventh in Washington history, just two wins behind Chet Crile (1990-93) for sixth place.
HUSKIES NET CONFERENCE HONORS: Washington senior Andy Kuharszky has been named Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week for Feb. 25-March 2, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced on Monday. Washington's senior captain, Kuharszky was instrumental in a 4-3 team dual victory over Oregon as he and partner Derek Drabble helped the Huskies sweep the doubles point with an 8-4 victory over Alexander Cornelissen and Ric Mortera and then in singles Kuharszky rolled Cornelissen 6-1, 6-2. On Saturday, in a neutral court match against No. 59 Denver in Eugene, Ore., Kuharszky rolled again in straight sets over David Simson, 6-3, 7-6 (5) as the Huskies picked up the victory against a ranked opponent. It is the first career Player of the Week award for Kuharszky, but second in as many weeks for the Huskies, as freshman Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan picked up his first award the week of Feb. 18-24. Nedunchezhiyan, playing out of the No. 1 position for the first time in his young career, knocked off 95th-ranked Blake Strode of No. 62 Arkansas in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 (2). Washington now has five all-time Player of the Week awards to its credit.
UP NEXT: The Huskies play one last non-conference match before breaking for finals. Washington hosts Eastern Washington on Friday, March 14 at 1:30 p.m. to close out the Nordstrom Tennis Center schedule. UW will then play a neutral match against Santa Clara during spring break in Southern California, before beginning Pac-10 play at home against the L.A. schools.
FALL RECAP: Three tournaments highlighted Washington's fall schedule, and the Huskies could be pleased with the results at each event. The centerpiece of the fall schedule was the ITA Northwest Regionals, which UW hosted at the Nordstrom. Senior Andy Kuharszky showed just how far he's come since he lost in the first round of the same tournament as a freshman, as he marched through to the final. Kuharszky came points away from the title, but lost in a third-set tiebreak to Stanford's Richard Wire. Patrik Fischer had the most consistent fall, reaching the singles final at the Bulldog Classic in Fresno, and the semis of the Chandler Cup in Berkeley. Junior David Chu led the team with 10 wins in the fall, while Kuharszky, Fischer, junior transfer Ryo Sekiguchi, and freshman Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan all had at least seven singles wins.
HEAD COACH Matt Anger: Thirteen years have passed since Matt Anger took the helm of the UW men's tennis program, and in that time he has established the program as a perennial national power. Not only has Washington markedly improved in records and national rankings since his arrival, the Huskies have advanced to the NCAA tournament every season since, including five Sweet 16 appearances in the last seven years. Anger, the 2005 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, has guided Washington to its best-ever stretch of Pac-10 finishes during the past three years: finishing tied for third in 2007 and 2006 and winning its first conference title in 2005. In the process, he has become the program's all-time winningest coach with 227 victories. Anger also mentored Washington's first three-time All-American and first national champion since 1924 in 2005 graduate Alex Vlaski. Vlaski won the 2003 ITA All-American Championship singles crown, becoming the first Husky to win a national title since Wallace Scott won the National Collegiate singles champion crown in 1924. Last season, Anger coached Alex Slovic to the NCAA Semifinals, the third different player (along with Vlaski in 2003 and Eric Drew in 1999) that has made the semis under Anger's guidance. Over the past 10 years, only Washington, Stanford, and Georgia have produced three different NCAA Singles Semifinalists. Anger played collegiate tennis at USC from 1982-84 and was a three-time All-American. Anger entered the pro ranks and played on the pro tour for eight years (1984-91). He earned his highest ATP singles ranking of No. 23 in the world in 1986. Anger reached the round of 16 at both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 1986, advanced to the third round of the Australian Open in 1985 and 1987, and also Wimbledon in 1987. He was also ranked the No. 1 junior in the world by Tennis Magazine in 1981.
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