Big Home Weekend For Huskies As No. 12 UCLA And No. 5 USC Come To Town
March 24, 2010
THIS WEEK: Pac-10 play begins with a bang this weekend for the 21st-ranked Husky men's tennis team, as Washington hosts 12th-ranked UCLA and 5th-ranked USC this Friday and Saturday in what is certainly the most exciting homestand of the year for the Dawgs. Washington wrapped up non-conference play with a 15-1 record and ten wins in a row and owns the best record through sixteen matches in program history. But the Huskies will now get a major test from the Bruins and Trojans as UCLA has won six-straight Pac-10 Championships, and USC captured the 2009 NCAA title. Both matches will be played outdoors at the Bill Quillian Courts with first serve against UCLA set for 1:30 p.m. and the first point vs. USC at 1:00 p.m. Saturday.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Washington was idle last week and dropped two spots in the rankings from 19th to 21st. One week prior UW was at 18th, which was the highest that the men have been since the 2007 season. New singles and doubles rankings were unveiled last week. Junior Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan comes in at No. 54, up two spots from the last set, and down just a bit from his season-high of 51st. Nedunchezhiyan owns wins over current Top-50 players Casey Watt of Notre Dame (27th) and James Meredith of Boise State (41st). Also ranked for the third-straight period is the junior pair of Alex Rosinski and Tobi Obenaus. The two are 15-4 for the season and ranked 69th.
LAST TIME OUT: On Tuesday afternoon Washington met up with UC Santa Barbara to close out the non-conference season during its spring break. The Huskies established a record for the best start in school history with a 6-1 win that lifted their record to 15-1. Washington took care of the Gauchos with a doubles point sweep and five wins in singles. 54th-ranked junior Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan got himself ramped up for conference play with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Philip Therp in the No. 1 singles match. The Huskies also picked up straight-set wins from juniors Martin Kildahl and Tobi Obenaus at fourth and fifth singles, respectively. Kildahl handled Scott Hohenstein, 6-4, 6-4, while Obenaus was too much for Benjamin Recknagel, cruising to a 6-1, 6-4 victory. On courts two and six UW fought back from a set down for the win. Freshman Kyle McMorrow upped his record to 17-3 on the year with a 4-6, 6-4, (12-10) win over Alex Konigsfeldt in the second position. At No. 6, after a rough first set, junior Alex Rosinski dominated the remainder of his match with Mathieu Forget, winning 1-6, 6-1, 6-2. UCSB's only point came at No. 3 singles, a straight-set win for Lucas Sudow over senior Derek Drabble.
SCOUTING UCLA: UCLA owns an 8-4 record and has been ranked in the Top-10 for much of the season. They swept Wichita State at home on Tuesday in their most recent match. The Bruins have strong wins this year over No. 9 Kentucky, No. 16 California, and No. 24 Duke. Two of their losses have come against USC. The Bruins have won at least a share of the last six Pac-10 titles, sharing it with UW in 2005. UCLA has four players currently ranked in singles and their lineup has been very malleable. Typically, senior Haythem Abid holds down the No. 1 spot. Abid is ranked 61st in singles, though senior Matt Brooklyn is ranked higher at No. 50. Junior Amit Inbar is ranked 108th and junior Nick Meister comes in at No. 111. In doubles, Abid and junior Holden Seguso are ranked 50th, while Meister and Inbar are ranked 62nd, and Meister and Abid are 65th. UCLA has controlled the series all-time, leading 26-2. Last season the Bruins beat UW, 6-1, in Seattle though the Huskies played without Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and three matches went to third-set tiebreaks.
SCOUTING USC: The Trojans are the defending NCAA Champions and have been playing like it of late. USC features two singles players who have won national titles in senior Robert Farah and sophomore Steve Johnson. Johnson is currently the No. 1-ranked singles player in the country and won the 2009 ITA National Indoor Championships and Farah is ranked 11th nationally and is a former ITA All-American Champ. In their most recent match, USC took out 6th-ranked Georgia in Athens, 4-2, snapping Georgia's 71-match home win streak. All told there are six ranked Trojans. Aside from Farah and Johnson, junior Jaak Poldma is ranked 72nd, and junior Peter Lucassen is ranked 84th in singles. Also ranked is sophomore Daniel Nguyen (89th) and freshman JT Sundling (119th). Johnson and Farah are also ranked 14th in doubles, Nguyen and Jason McNaughton are ranked 48th, and Lucassen and Poldma are 49th. Last season UW nearly pulled the upset over the Trojans, though neither Farah nor UW's Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan competed. The match went 4-3 in USC's favor, with current junior Tobi Obenaus earning a third set super-tiebreak win over Nguyen at fifth singles. Washington is 4-23 all-time against the Trojans.
DAWG BITES: At 15-1, Washington has set a new benchmark for the best start in school history through sixteen matches ... Washington's season-high ranking was 18th on March 9; that was UW's highest ranking since 2007 when they were ranked as high as 15th ... the Huskies have already clinched a winning season for the sixteenth-straight year, coinciding with the beginning of Coach Anger's tenure ... freshman Kyle McMorrow is on an eight-match win streak and has won 16 of 17 sets in the run ... Nedunchezhiyan has gone 5-2 against ranked players at No. 1 singles with his best win coming over then-No. 28 Casey Watt of Notre Dame ... Nedunchezhiyan and McMorrow have won 11 of their past 12 doubles matches and have been ranked as high as 50th in the rankings ... Tobi Obenaus just had a six-match win streak snapped but at 19-6 this season he has already surpassed the 16 wins from his first two years combined.
UP NEXT: Washington continues conference play with a trip to Tucson to face the 32nd-ranked Arizona Wildcats on Friday, April 2, at 12:30 p.m. That will be followed a week later by a trip to the Bay Area to face Stanford and Cal, then the final home match of the year on April 17 vs. Oregon.
HEAD COACH Matt Anger REACHES 250 WINS: The turning point in modern Washington tennis came with the hiring of Matt Anger, now entering into his 16th 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 the last decade. With Washington's win at Arkansas in the second match of the 2010 season, Anger passed another milestone with his 250th victory. Under Anger's watch, Washington has posted a winning record in all of his 15 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 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 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. Starting with the Australian Open in 1985 through Wimbledon in 1987, no American won more Grand Slam singles matches. In that span, Anger reached the round of 16 at both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 1986.