Men's Tennis Takes Out No. 42 Fresno State, 5-2
Feb. 22, 2009
SEATTLE - Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan continued his red hot play, defeating another Top-40 player at No. 1 singles to clinch the victory for the UW men's tennis team over Fresno State. Things got sticky with the Huskies up 3-2, but Nedunchezhiyan ended the drama in a see-saw second set, and senior Patrik Fischer then closed out his match to give Washington the 5-2 win at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.
Fresno State (3-2) is the highest-ranked opponent the Huskies (7-3) have defeated thus far with the Bulldogs currently ranked 42nd, right behind 41st-ranked UW.
Nedunchezhiyan jumped from unranked all the way up to No. 31 in the new ITA rankings released last Thursday. He validated that ranking with two more wins this weekend, defeating Oregon's Marcos Verdasco on Friday, and then overcoming 33rd-ranked Rudolf Siwy today, 6-2, 7-5. Nedunchezhiyan is currently riding a six-match win streak, with four of those wins coming against players ranked 35th, 44th, 22nd, and now 33rd. He is 9-1 in dual matches this year.
'I felt I was doing a good job as far as my goals for both singles and doubles up until the second set (in singles) when I had a little lapse and I handed him the break with a couple double-faults,' said Nedunchezhiyan. 'After that, though, I didn't give in and I didn't put my head down so I feel really good that I was able to come back. Coach (Anger) did a good job working with me on how to play against him and staying within my guidelines.'
Washington won the crucial doubles point, and the momentum seemed to carry over into the first sets in singles play. Junior Derek Drabble and senior Patrik Fischer got the Huskies started in doubles with their second consecutive 8-2 win at No. 2 doubles. They defeated Remi Boutillier and Rikus de Villiers to improve to 8-2 on the season. Twice on Drabble's serve the Huskies trailed 15-40, but each time they saved the break points and held serve. Sophomores Tobi Obenaus and Brad Bator then secured the point with an 8-4 win over Taylor Leiby and Tejesve Veerepalli at third doubles. The No. 1 doubles match was abandoned with FSU leading 6-5.
Sophomore Martin Kildahl extended his own win streak to four, with a determined 6-4, 7-5 win at No. 3 singles over 112th-ranked Rikus de Villiers. The two traded service breaks throughout, with Kildahl breaking three times in the first set compared to two for de Villiers. Kildahl trailed 1-4 in the second set before roaring back to take a 5-4 lead, and he eventually served it out. That win came shortly after senior Ryo Sekiguchi took out Siddharth Alapati at No. 6 singles, 6-2, 6-2. It was Sekiguchi's first match in the month of February.
Fresno State earned its two points at the four and five singles slots. Veerepalli defeated senior David Chu, 6-3, 6-0 at No. 4, and Boutillier clung to a service break in each set to defeat Drabble, 6-3, 6-4 at No. 5.
Fischer actually had the first chance to clinch the match, as he was up a set and led in the second set tiebreak, 6-5, over Mirko Zapletal at second singles. Zapletal came up with a brilliant series of groundstrokes to set up a volley winner, however, and went on to take the tiebreak, 8-6. After Nedunchezhiyan clinched, the two played a super-tiebreak for the match, and Zapletal seemed deflated after the drama had been taken out of the result. Fischer capitalized and cruised to a 10-4 win in the super-tiebreak.
'Much like our win against Oklahoma, this was certainly closer than the score and could have gone either way and fortunately it went for us,' said head coach Matt Anger. 'I felt very good about the result in Jeevan's match, even though I think neither player was completely at their best. Their number one guy is very good, he's a senior and very smart, so it took a very good effort from Jeevan today. Martin also continues to really find his groove and get more and more comfortable, and we're happy to see Ryo win because he makes us a much better team when he's hitting the ball well.'
The Huskies will now head to Malibu for two very tough matches next weekend. In a neutral site match on Friday, UW will face 19th-ranked Michigan at 1 p.m. Then on Sunday, March 1, the Huskies will face 15th-ranked Pepperdine, also at 1 p.m.
Washington Men's Tennis
February 22, 2009 - Nordstrom Tennis Center
No. 41 Washington 5, No. 42 Fresno State 2
1) Kildahl/Nedunchezhiyan (UW) vs. (47) Siwy/Zapletal (FSU), 5-6, DNF
2) Drabble/Fischer (UW) def. Boutillier/de Villiers (FSU), 8-2
3) Tobi Obenaus/Brad Bator (UW) def. Taylor Leiby/Veerepalli (FSU), 8-4
Order of finish: 2, 3
1) (31) Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (UW) def. (33) Rudolf Siwy (FSU), 6-2, 7-5
2) Patrik Fischer (UW) def. Mirko Zapletal (FSU), 6-4, 6-7 (6), (10-4)
3) Martin Kildahl (UW) def. (112) Rikus de Villiers (FSU), 7-5, 6-4
4) Tejesvi Veerepalli (FSU) def. David Chu (UW), 6-3, 6-0
5) Remi Boutillier (FSU) def. Derek Drabble (UW), 6-3, 6-4
6) Ryo Sekiguchi (UW) def. Siddharth Alapati (FSU), 6-2, 6-2
Order of finish: 5, 4, 6, 3, 1, 2