Pivotal Pac-10 Match Awaits No. 21 Huskies In Tucson
March 31, 2010
THIS WEEK: Washington starts its final regular season road stretch this weekend and looks to get on the board in Pac-10 play with a stop in Arizona. The 21st-ranked Huskies (15-3, 0-2 Pac-10) head to Tucson to battle the 34th-ranked Wildcats this Friday, April 2, at 12:30 p.m. After two tough losses at home to UCLA and USC that were closer than the scores indicated, the Huskies will look to get off to a faster start against Arizona.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Washington stayed put in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, released March 30, remaining at No. 21. The Huskies have been ranked has high as 18th this year, which is the highest that the men have been since the 2007 season. New singles and doubles rankings were unveiled this week. Junior Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan comes in at No. 65, having been ranked as high as No. 51 this season. Nedunchezhiyan owns wins over current Top-50 players Casey Watt of Notre Dame (29th) and James Meredith of Boise State (48th). Also ranked for the fourth-straight period is the junior pair of Alex Rosinski and Tobi Obenaus. The two are 15-6 for the season and ranked 65th.
SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Wildcats are also in need of their first conference win, after starting 0-2 with losses at Cal and Stanford last weekend. They lost both Bay Area matches, 6-1, to fall to 11-7 for the season. Arizona is strong at the top of its singles lineup, with senior Andres Arango ranked 90th and coming off an upset win over Stanford's 45th-ranked Alex Clayton. Arango plays No. 2 singles behind Jay Goldman. At the No. 3 spot, Andres Carrasco is ranked 115th and had UA's only win against Cal. Arizona's No. 1 doubles team of Pat Metham and Borja Malo took Stanford's top-ranked tandem to 8-6 in a loss. Arizona has two wins over current Top-40 teams in No. 32 Tulsa and No. 33 BYU. Last year the Huskies had a 6-1 win in Seattle over the Wildcats, highlighted by Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan topping Goldman, 6-4 in the third set, and Martin Kildahl overcoming Carrasco, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. The Huskies hold a slim all-time edge, 12-11, over the Wildcats.
LAST TIME OUT: Washington played host to two of the top teams in the nation last weekend to start Pac-10 play. 12th-ranked UCLA, the six-time defending conference champions, were up first on Friday. The Huskies got off to a slow start and lost doubles and every first set in singles, though only one set was decided by more than one service break. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Martin Kildahl came back to take their matches to third-set super-tiebreaks, but Nedunchezhiyan fell to 111th-ranked Nick Meister, 10-8, and Kildahl came up short against Holden Seguso, 10-3. Alex Rosinski took Alex Brigham to a full third set at third singles but fell short 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 as the Huskies were swept and had their ten-match win streak snapped. Things weren't any easier on Saturday against the defending NCAA Champs from USC. The Huskies played every match close once again against the Trojans, who started five ranked singles players, but only Tobi Obenaus was able to break through at fifth singles. Obenaus saved match points to force a second-set tiebreak against 84th-ranked Peter Lucassen. Obenaus won the breaker, bringing up a super-tiebreak for the match, and Obenaus led 6-1 before Lucassen was disqualified for a second conduct violation. That gave USC the 6-1 win. The top two singles matches pitted Nedunchezhiyan against No. 1-ranked Steve Johnson, and Kyle McMorrow against 11th-ranked Robert Farah. Nedunchezhiyan played well but fell 6-4, 6-4, and McMorrow battled the veteran All-American to a second set tiebreak before dropping a 6-3, 7-6 (5) decision.
DAWG BITES: At 15-1, Washington 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 had an eight-match win streak from Feb. 12 through Mar. 23 and won 16 of 17 sets in the run ... Nedunchezhiyan has gone 5-4 against ranked players at No. 1 singles with his best win coming over then-No. 28 Casey Watt of Notre Dame; against unranked opponents he is 13-1 this year ... Nedunchezhiyan and McMorrow have won 11 of their past 14 doubles matches and have been ranked as high as 50th in the rankings ... Tobi Obenaus leads the team with 20 overall singles wins this season, including two wins over ranked players, and has already surpassed the 16 wins from his first two years combined.
UP NEXT: Washington takes its final road trip of the regular season, heading to the Bay Area for two more Pac-10 showdowns. The Huskies will take on No. 7 Stanford on Friday, April 9, at 1:30 p.m. and then will challenge 17th-ranked California on Saturday, April 10, at 1 p.m.
FALL SEASON REVIEW: Washington got some good news to begin the fall as junior Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan earned a preseason No. 32 singles ranking and senior Derek Drabble and junior Martin Kildahl were ranked 11th nationally in doubles. However, Kildahl was recovering from foot surgery and would be unable to compete and back up the ranking until 2010 rolled around. Still, Nedunchezhiyan started off the year playing in the main draw of the ITA All-American Championships, where he lost his opener then went 1-1 in the consolation bracket. The first full team event for the Dawgs was Northwest Regionals. Washington had its most success in doubles, where juniors Alex Rosinski and Tobi Obenaus made the semifinals, and Nedunchezhiyan and new freshman Kyle McMorrow reached the quarters. Drabble made the Round of 16 in singles, as did McMorrow in his first college action. The Huskies showed their expected singles depth as Obenaus and Matt Stith both made the consolation semis. Washington hosted the inaugural PNW Intercollegiates to end official fall action, and dominated several local rivals including Oregon, Portland, Gonzaga, Idaho, and Boise State. Nedunchezhiyan captured the top singles flight over his teammate Drabble in the final. Junior Brad Bator made his fall debut by sweeping through to the title of the second flight, beating teammate Skyler Tateishi for the win.
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.