Pac-10 Championships On Tap For Men's Tennis

April 22, 2009

Complete Draws and Results

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THIS WEEK: The Washington men's tennis team is in Ojai, Calif. for the Pac-10 Championships, held at Libbey Park from April 23-26. The Pac-10 tourney is the main attraction of the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament, now in its 109th year of existence. Husky singles players and doubles teams will vie for conference titles in their final preparations for the NCAA Championships which begin the second week of May. Singles play begins Thursday morning and doubles starts Friday.

THE DRAW: The 32-player men's singles draw consists of four student-athletes from each school and four wild cards will be selected at the discretion of the draw committee. The 16-team men's doubles draw consists of two doubles teams from each school and two wild card teams will be selected by the committee. In addition to the main draw, there is a 32-player and 16-team Invitational draw played in conjunction. Matches begin at 8 a.m., with two rounds of singles on opening day. One round of singles and two rounds of doubles will be played on Friday. The Pac-10 men's singles final will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, followed by the women's singles final at approximately 11 a.m. The men's doubles championship will follow at 12:30 p.m., with the women's doubles championship at 2 p.m.

Washington First Round Match-Ups:
Main Draw Singles (Thursday)

David Chu vs. Jay Goldman (Ariz), 8 a.m.
Ryo Sekiguchi vs. Steve Johnson (USC), 9:30 a.m.
Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan vs. Nick Andrews (Cal), 11 a.m.
Derek Drabble vs. Matt Kecki (USC)

Invitational Draw Singles (Thursday)
Brad Bator vs. Sky Lovill (Cal), 8 a.m.
Skyler Tateishi vs. David Humphreys (Ariz), 11 a.m.
Matt Stith vs. Ahmed Ismail (UCLA), TBA
Alex Rosinski vs. Jeff Zeller (Stan), TBA

Main Draw Doubles (Friday)
Drabble/Kildahl vs. Goldman/Metham (Ariz), 9 a.m.
Chu/Sekiguchi vs. Look/Meister (UCLA), 10:30 a.m.

Invitational Draw Doubles (Friday)
Bator/Stith vs. Izquierdo/Mortera (Ore), 9 a.m.
Obenaus/Rosinski vs. Gilbert/Lovill (Cal), 3 p.m.

HUSKIES AT THE OJAI: The Huskies will look to build on their impressive history at the Pac-10 Championships this week. Four Huskies have advanced to at least the singles semifinals, most recently Alex Slovic who reached the title match in 2007. Slovic was the second Husky to reach the final match. Former Husky Alex Vlaski was a three-time finalist (2002, 03, 05) and made the semis in his other appearance (2004). Matt Hanlin (2002) and Eric Drew (1998) both reached the final four of the tournament as well. Washington's best doubles performance was turned in by Slovic and Daniel Chu, as they made the finals in 2005. Last season, 2008 grad Andy Kuharszky won his opening round match in the main draw but lost in the second round, while in the Invitational draw, both David Chu and Tobi Obenaus advanced to the quarterfinals, and Chu upset top-seeded Abdullah Magdas to reach the semis. In doubles, Patrik Fischer and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan made the main draw quarters, while Obenaus and Martin Kildahl advanced to the semifinals of the Invitational draw.

REGULAR SEASON RECAP: Washington turned in its 15th-straigth winning season under head coach Matt Anger in 2009. After starting the year ranked 34th, Washington reached as high as No. 21 in the rankings before entering Pac-10's at No. 27. The Huskies went 3-3 in Pac-10 play, tying Stanford for third place. This marks the fourth season out of the past five that UW has finished third or higher in the conference standings. Washington had three wins over teams ranked in the Top-20 at the time of the match: a 4-2 win over 18th-ranked Michigan, a 5-2 win over No. 24 Minnesota, and a 6-1 win against a 20th-ranked Arizona squad that snapped the Wildcats' 14-match winning streak. All eight of UW's losses came to teams currently ranked in the Top-20, and five were at the hands of Top-10 opponents. The Huskies earned conference wins against Arizona (6-1), California (4-3) and Oregon (5-2). Washington came up just a shot or two short in a few other big matches, falling to Texas A&M, USC, and Boise State by 4-3 counts. Early in the season, UW was sent to Georgia for the National Team Indoor Qualifying rounds, and met the defending champion Bulldogs in the second round, taking the doubles point and getting a singles win from Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan in singles but UGA prevailed, 4-2. Nedunchezhiyan came into his own during his sophomore year this season, going 16-3 in dual matches, and earning a career-high No. 30 ranking as he looks to be on his way to his first NCAA Singles Championship appearance. Senior Patrik Fischer was also ranked in singles for much of the season, and UW found success recently with those two in the top doubles spot and junior Derek Drabble and sophomore Martin Kildahl at second doubles. UW is 12-1 when winning the doubles point.

LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies headed into postseason play on a positive note, as they earned a 5-2 road win over the Oregon Ducks in the regular season finale for both teams. Washington welcomed back sophomore Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan to the top of its singles lineup. Due to illness, Nedunchezhiyan had only attempted to play singles once over the past four matches. Nedunchezhiyan scored one of the day's most dominating victory, blasting Marcos Verdasco in the top spot, 6-1, 6-0. Matching Nedunchezhiyan's dominance was junior Derek Drabble at No. 5 singles, as he raced past Duncan MacDonald-Korth, 6-1, 6-0 as well. That gave UW a 3-1 lead with Oregon's Alexander Cornelissen upsetting Patrik Fischer, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 2 singles and UW owning the doubles point. The win was secured by sophomore Martin Kildahl. The Norway native improved to 13-4 at No. 3 singles with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Ayrton Wibowo. Fellow sophomore Tobi Obenaus then overcame a second set hiccup to upend Oregon's Sho Higuchi, 6-1, 2-6, 6-1 in the sixth singles spot. In earlier doubles action, UW's two ranked teams each earned wins at the top two doubles slots to put a crimp in any Oregon upset plans.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Despite winning their only outing last week, 5-2 at Oregon, the Huskies fell six spots in this week's ITA rankings down to No. 27, after spending the previous three weeks at 21st. A new set of singles and doubles rankings was also released on Tuesday, with sophomore Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan rising four spots to No. 40 but senior Patrik Fischer slipping down to No. 111. Nedunchezhiyan achieved a career-high No. 31 ranking on Feb. 19. Riding a three-match winning streak against Cal, Stanford, and Oregon, junior Derek Drabble and sophomore Martin Kildahl are the highest-ranked Husky doubles tandem at a season-high No. 61. Fischer and Nedunchezhiyan are also ranked No. 70 in doubles, and have been as high as No. 41 this year.

NEDUNCHEZHIYAN ENJOYING BREAKOUT YEAR: Since the start of the dual season, Husky sophomore Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan has taken his game and career to a higher level. The sophomore from Chennai, India is a team-best 16-3 in dual play, with wins in 13 of his past 15 matches. The only thing that was able to break up his momentum was a recent bout with the flu that kept him out of three Pac-10 matches. Prior to the illness, Nedunchezhiyan was one of the hottest players in the country. In the fourth match of the season, Nedunchezhiyan had a third-set super-tiebreak loss against the nation's third-ranked player, Steven Moneke of Ohio State, 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. He has earned two wins over Top-25 players this year, one coming against 22nd-ranked Clancy Shields of Boise State and the other against 24th-ranked Conor Pollock of Texas A&M, who is now ranked 19th. All told in dual play Nedunchezhiyan has gone 7-2 against ranked opponents, the most recent win a three-setter over Arizona's Jay Goldman, ranked 64th at the time. For his wins against Indiana and Georgia in National Team Indoor qualifying, 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. Nedunchezhiyan appeared to have fully shaken his illness in UW's final match at Oregon, as he cruised against Marcos Verdasco, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 1 singles.

SENIORS NEAR CURTAIN CALLS: Just a few matches remain for Washington's trio of seniors, and Patrik Fischer, David Chu, and Ryo Sekiguchi have all enjoyed winning seasons, exemplifying the success they've achieved throughout their careers. Fischer, an All-Pac-10 Second Team member last year, has played at either No. 1 or No. 2 singles in every match for the last two years and is currently ranked 111th in singles. Fischer was strong in Pac-10 play, defeating Arizona's Andres Arango, USC's 74th-ranked Jaak Poldma, and California's Eoin Heavey and barely losing to UCLA's Holden Seguso in a third-set tiebreak at No. 1 singles. Chu has been solid for the Dawgs in singles as well, going 10-8 in dual matches and playing in every spot from third through sixth singles at least twice. Chu's 64 career singles wins are second-most of any Husky, trailing just behind Sekiguchi, who owns 66 wins from his two seasons at San Diego and two at Washington. Sekiguchi is riding a three-match Pac-10 win streak, starting with two outstanding wins in Los Angeles, as he defeated USC's Jason McNaughton and UCLA's Ahmed Ismail in the No. 6 singles spot. Sekiguchi then provided UW's only win last Saturday against Stanford, beating Ted Kelly in straight sets. In just his two years at UW, Sekiguchi has gone 36-20 in singles. In their nine combined seasons at Washington (Fischer began his career as a sophomore), Chu, Fischer, and Sekiguchi have racked up 156 singles wins, and Washington has qualified for the NCAA Championships every year of their tenures.

UP NEXT: Washington will learn its NCAA fate this coming Tuesday, April 28, when the team selections are announced live on ESPNews at approximately 2:20 p.m. Pacific time. The team brackets will be posted on the NCAA.com site shortly after the completion of the televised announcement, but no later than 3 p.m. Pacific. The list of individuals selected to the singles and doubles championships will be posted on both websites no later than 6 p.m. Eastern time, Wednesday, April 29.

HEAD COACH Matt Anger: The turning point in modern Washington tennis came with the hiring of Matt Anger, now in his 15th season as head coach. Since his arrival, the Huskies have been a model of consistency, and consistently excellent at that. The winningest coach in Washington history, Anger's teams have never once missed the NCAA Championships and have been a fixture in the Top-25 with five runs to the NCAA Round of 16 in this decade alone. Under Anger's watch, Washington has posted a winning record in all of his 14 seasons, and won its first ever Pac-10 title in 2005 as Anger was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Furthermore, several of Anger's players have seen tremendous individual success, with seven of the top eight winningest players in UW history competing during his tenure. Five different singles players have earned All-American honors under Anger, 10 different players earned year-end Top-50 rankings, and Alex Vlaski captured the 2003 ITA All-American Championships, the first national title for a Husky since 1924. In addition, Anger is the only active coach who over the past 10 years, has guided three different players to the NCAA Singles Semifinals. Anger played collegiate tennis at USC from 1982-84 and was a three-time All-American, while leading the team to a top-five finish three consecutive years. In 1983, he was a Pac-10 singles finalist and helped lead the Trojans to a third-place NCAA finish. The next season, Anger won the Pac-10 doubles championship, was a Pac-10 singles semifinalist, and helped USC win the conference team title. At the conclusion of his junior season, 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.

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