Men's Tennis Takes Week Off Before Beginning Pac-10 Play

March 10, 2004

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- THIS WEEK: In the midst of its six-week road trip, Washington's 26th-ranked men's tennis team takes a much deserved week off before opening up Pac-10 play next week. The Huskies snapped a three-match losing streak by upsetting 20th-ranked Arizona State in their last match. Washington finished its nonconference schedule with a 9-5 record and climbed two spots in the latest ITA rankings. After the break, Stanford and California are first up for the men on the always difficult Pac-10 road.

LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies travelled to Tempe, Arizona last weekend for the Arizona State Invitational which featured Washington, No. 5 Texas Christian, No. 18 Pepperdine, and No. 20 Arizona State. UW faced undefeated TCU in the opening round and fell 4-2. UW junior Alex Vlaski picked up a straight set win over 22nd-ranked Alex Menichini in the No. 1 singles match and the Huskies also swept doubles play for their second point. Vlaski and freshman Daniel Chu teamed at No. 1 doubles for the first time in their careers and upset the nation's 10th-ranked doubles team of Abreu and Sestini. The next day the Huskies took on host-school Arizona State in a non-conference dual. Washington took a 3-1 lead thanks to their second doubles point win of the weekend and wins from Vlaski and freshman Alex Slovic at the top two singles spots. Junior Christoph Palmanshofer clinched the win for the Huskies with a three-set comeback win at No. 4 singles. Palmanshofer lost the first set 4-6 and fought into a second-set tiebreak where he prevailed and carried the momentum into the third-set where he rolled 6-2. UW's improved doubles play was one of the weekend's biggest stories. Head Coach Matt Anger split up the nationally-ranked team of Vlaski and Slovic and teamed Vlaski with Chu at No. 1 and Slovic with senior Nick Weiss at No. 2 doubles. The new teams swept both of their weekend matches, giving Washington two doubles point wins after they had lost their previous four.

BIG SHOT: Junior All-American Alex Vlaski (Belgrade, Yugoslavia) picked up two more impressive victories over the weekend, stifling TCU's No. 22 Alex Menichini (6-3, 6-2) and then hammering ASU's No. 96 Chris Stewart (6-4, 6-2). Not only was Vlaski on fire on the singles court, but he picked up a pair of No. 1 doubles wins as well. Always facing the opposition's top gun, Vlaski has amassed an exceptional 13-2 record against ranked foes this season including six wins over players in the top-25. Vlaski also owns a win over the current national number one player, Benedikt Dorsch of Baylor, who he beat in the finals of the All-American Championships in the fall.

STELLAR START: After suffering his first dual loss in his 12th match of the year against now-43rd-ranked Sven Swinnen of Oregon, freshman phenom Alex Slovic (Pancevo, Yugoslavia) bounced back in a big way last weekend. Slovic, ranked 80th at the time, faced the player directly ahead of him, No. 79 Clinton Letcher of Arizona State. Slovic made his case for rearranging the rankings by blitzing Letcher 6-1, 6-4. Slovic leads the Huskies in dual and total wins this season and is 19-3 overall. The win against Letcher marked Slovic's sixth against a ranked opponent while all three of his losses have come to ranked foes. Slovic picked up the biggest win in his young career when he upset the nation's then-33rd-ranked player, William Barker from Rice, on Feb. 28. Slovic has dominated most of his competition, winning 18 of his 19 matches in straight sets. His win against Barker was the first three-set win in his career.

ALIVE AT FIVE: Peter Scharler (Salzburg, Austria) is quietly putting together an excellent junior campaign predominantly at the No. 5 singles spot. Scharler had won seven straight matches before a loss against TCU ended his run. Still, Scharler owns wins in 12 of his last 15 matches, with all wins coming in straight sets. Scharler has given the Dawgs a reliable source of points lower in the lineup to complement Vlaski and Slovic at the top. He has also moved up to fourth singles twice this season, winning both matches. The junior is 10-2 in dual play overall this season and only Vlaski and Slovic have compiled more wins.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The Huskies climbed up two places to 26th from 28th in the latest ITA Rankings following their split last weekend at the ASU Invite. All-American Alex Vlaski maintained his No. 3 national ranking after notching two more ranked wins over the weekend. Freshman Alex Slovic saw his ranking surge from 80th to a career-high 44th thanks to playing - and defeating - higher-caliber competition. On the doubles front, Vlaski and Slovic saw their ranking climb ten spots from 45th to 35th despite being split up to strengthen the second and third doubles spots at the Arizona State Invitational last weekend.

UP NEXT: Following the week hiatus, the Huskies swing into Pac-10 play against No. 5 Stanford, the nation's most-storied collegiate tennis program. The Cardinal dual is Friday, March 26 at 1:30 pm in Palo Alto, Calif. Saturday, March 27, the Huskies take on the 29th-ranked California Golden Bears at 1 pm in Berkeley, Calif.

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