Huskies Open Pac-10 Play Against #20 Arizona
March 25, 2009
THIS WEEK: The Washington men's tennis team heads into the Pac-10 portion of its schedule this weekend, hosting 20th-ranked Arizona this Sunday, March 29. Washington wrapped up its non-conference schedule on Tuesday with a sweep of Pacific and enters conference play at 11-5 and ranked 26th by the ITA. Five of the seven Pac-10 teams are currently ranked in the Top-30, including the Wildcats and Huskies. The match, set for 12 noon, will be played outside at the Bill Quilliant Courts, weather permitting.
SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Wildcats have been one of the hottest teams in the country this season and are currently riding a 12-match win streak. Arizona is 14-1 with a dual against Northwestern prior to Sunday. Individually, UA sophomore Jay Goldman is ranked No. 64 in singles play and the doubles team of Francois VanderMerwe and Pat Metham is listed at No. 53. Three different Wildcats have earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors this year, including Goldman, Andres Arango, and Andres Carrasco. Freshman Jason Zafiros is a perfect 15-0 in dual singles matches. Arango joined the Wildcats after Arizona State cut its men's tennis program last season and has helped Arizona jump up the rankings. Last season the Huskies outlasted the Wildcats, 4-3, in Tucson. UW won doubles and won at the fourth, fifth, and sixth singles matches with Derek Drabble and David Chu coming back from first set losses to win. The all-time series between the schools is even at 11-11.
LAST TIME OUT: Playing its first match in eleven days, the 26th-ranked Washington men's tennis team took down 54th-ranked Pacific, 7-0, at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif. Washington snapped Pacific's five-match win streak, losing just one set total in singles play. After winning the doubles point, sophomore Tobi Obenaus got the Dawgs going in singles with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Christian Kuehne at No. 6. Sophomore Martin Kildahl then downed Renan Delsin, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 3 singles to put UW ahead 3-0. Senior Ryo Sekiguchi posted the clinching point, as he rolled over Karl-Erik Paaro, 6-1, 6-1, in the fifth singles slot. Fellow senior David Chu then stopped Vergerd Veskimagi at fourth singles, 6-4, 6-3. In the top singles match, 33rd-ranked sophomore Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan won for the 11th time in his past 12 matches, defeating Moritz Starke, 6-0, 7-5. Nedunchezhiyan is now a team-leading 17-4 in singles matches. Closing out the match was 91st-ranked senior Patrik Fischer, who bounced back from a second-set hiccup to defeat Artem Gramma in the match tiebreaker, 10-8. The Huskies took the top two doubles matches by 8-5 counts to secure the point. Fischer and Nedunchezhiyan defeated Delsin and Starke in the No. 1 match, while Kildahl and junior Derek Drabble topped Gramma and Kim.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Washington slipped two spots in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings while being idle last week, falling just outside the Top-25 at No. 26. The team's season-high of No. 22 came on March 3. No new individual rankings were released this week, thus sophomore Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan remains ranked 33rd in singles and senior Patrik Fischer checks in at No. 91. Nedunchezhiyan achieved a career-high No. 31 ranking on Feb. 19. Fischer and Nedunchezhiyan are also ranked 44th in doubles, despite playing just twice together since the fall. Junior Derek Drabble and sophomore Martin Kildahl also earned their first doubles ranking in the most recent poll, residing at No. 69.
NEDUNCHEZHIYAN CONTINUES TO ROLL: In two month's time, Husky sophomore Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan has taken his still still young career to a higher level. The sophomore from Chennai, India is a team-best 14-2 in dual play, with wins in 11 of his past 12 matches and a current four-match win streak. In his most recent match against a ranked opponent, he defeated 24th-ranked Connor Pollock, the second Top-25 player he's defeated this season. Nedunchezhiyan suffered his first dual match loss in a third-set super-tiebreak against the nation's third-ranked player, Steven Moneke of Ohio State back on January 25, but the close loss only seemed to boost his confidence. Nedunchezhiyan won seven straight following that match, and defeated five ranked opponents including four in the Top-50. During the run he defeated 35th-ranked Jamie Hunt of Georgia, 44th-ranked Andrei Daescu of Oklahoma, 22nd-ranked Clancy Shields of Boise State, 33rd-ranked Rudolf Siwy of Fresno State, and 109th-ranked Jason Jung of Michigan. Four of those players were NCAA Singles Championship participants in 2008. For his wins against Indiana and Georgia, Nedunchezhiyan was named the Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 26-Feb. 1. The honor was the second of his career, and the sixth all-time for Washington.
UP NEXT: The Huskies travel to Los Angeles for one of the toughest trips of this or any season. Friday, April 3, the UW faces 8th-ranked USC at 1:30 p.m. The next day, April 4, the Dawgs face the 11th-ranked UCLA Bruins with first serve set for 1 p.m.