Huskies Cap Off Regular Season Against Ducks

April 14, 2004

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- THIS WEEK: Washington men's tennis concludes its regular season schedule this weekend with the final home match of the year against the 50th-ranked Oregon Ducks. The dual match swings into action on Saturday, April 17 at 1:30 p.m. at the Bill Quillian Stadium. The 22nd-ranked Huskies (13-8) sit in fourth place in the Pac-10 at 3-3 and look to finish over .500 in conference play with a win over the Ducks.

LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies ran into two of the nation's top teams last weekend, falling 4-3 to third-ranked USC and 5-2 to fourth-ranked UCLA. Washington took both teams to the limit but were unable to pull off the upsets. Against the Trojans, UW picked up the doubles point when Alex Vlaski and Daniel Chu upset USC's 12th-ranked doubles team, 9-8, at No. 1 doubles. Vlaski and Alex Slovic then both picked up wins over USC's highest-rated members, Adriano Biasella and Johan Berg, at the top two singles spots. USC's depth proved to be the difference however, as the Trojans captured each of the lower four singles matches to escape with the win. Vlaski and Chu shined individually and as a team against UCLA. Vlaski earned another huge singles win , defeating No. 6 Tobias Clemens in three sets, while Chu picked up perhaps the biggest win of his career thus far by upsetting 82nd-ranked Chris Lam at No. 3 singles. At No. 1 doubles, the duo notched their second upset of the weekend, beating the No. 8 pair of Francis and Kwinta, 8-6. The Huskies were without the services of junior Peter Scharler against UCLA, who was forced out with a shoulder injury.

SCOUTING THE DUCKS: Oregon handed the Huskies a 4-3 loss earlier this season in a non-conference dual in Eugene. In that match, the Ducks won the doubles point and the top three singles matches, with Manuel Kost upsetting UW's Alex Vlaski at No. 1 singles and Sven Swinnen picking up another upset at second singles, handing Alex Slovic his first dual loss of the year. Oregon now stands at 9-9 on the year and are 1-5 in the Pac-10. Their only conference win came over Arizona State and was the Ducks' first Pac-10 win since 2000. Swinnen is now ranked 35th and Kost stands at No. 88.

BIG SHOT: Junior All-American Alex Vlaski (Belgrade, Yugoslavia) continues on his way to a potential national championship as the anchor of the Huskies' singles lineup. Vlaski was the only Husky to go undefeated over the weekend against the Trojans and Bruins. Vlaski handled USC's No. 23 Adriano Biasella in straight sets on Friday, then upended UCLA's sixth-ranked Tobias Clemens on Saturday, winning in a third-set super-tiebreak. The junior is on a five-match winning streak with three of his victims being ranked. Always facing the opposition's top gun, Vlaski has amassed an exceptional 16-3 record against ranked foes this season including eight wins over players in the top-25, and four over top-10 players. This fall, Vlaski became the first Husky national champion since 1924 by winning the ITA All-American Singles Championship. As the fourth seed in the prestigious tournament, Vlaski defeated three players ranked in the top-20 of the ITA rankings en route to the title.

STELLAR START: Vlaski is not the only left-handed Alex from Yugoslavia that has been dominating the singles courts this season. Freshman Alex Slovic (Pancevo, Yugoslavia), a childhood friend of Vlaski's, has made an immediate major impact on the collegiate tennis world. Against USC, Slovic earned his eighth win against a ranked opponent by defeating No. 73 Johan Berg, 7-5, 6-2. Slovic leads the Huskies in dual and total wins this season and is 24-5 overall. 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 23 of his 24 matches in straight sets. His win against Barker was the first three-set win in his career.

ALIVE AT FIVE: Peter Scharler (Salzburg, Austria) has been the third member of Washington's powerhouse singles trio. With his stellar play at No. 5 singles, Scharler has given the Dawgs a reliable source of points lower in the lineup to complement Vlaski and Slovic at the top. Scharler has had win streaks of seven and five matches this year, and owns wins in 12 of his last 14 matches. Four of his last five wins have come in three sets. He has also moved up to fourth singles three times this season, winning each match. The junior is 15-3 in dual play overall this season, placing him behind only Vlaski and Slovic's 17 wins.

DOUBLE SWITCH: After getting off to a 6-5 start in the doubles point, Head Coach Matt Anger made a lineup switch that has since produced a mark of 7-2. Alex Vlaski and freshman Daniel Chu have already earned themselves a No. 43 national ranking despite only playing nine matches together. The pair went undefeated against two of the top doubles teams in the country over the weekend, downing USC's 12th-ranked team of Hoskins and Langre, 9-8, and upsetting UCLA's No. 8 team of Francis and Kwinta, 8-6. Vlaski and Chu showed instant chemistry by upsetting TCU's 10th-ranked duo of Rafael Abreu and Fabrizo Sestini in their first match together. In the No. 2 spot, Alex Slovic and senior Nick Weiss are 8-1, finally losing their first match together, 8-6, to a UCLA combo. Christoph Palmanshofer and Peter Scharler are 3-3 so far in the No. 3 spot. The lineup switch snapped a four-match doubles point losing streak. UW's overall record stands at 13-7 in the doubles point. Slovic leads the Huskies with 20 doubles wins, followed closely by Weiss and Vlaski with 19. Weiss has shown great versatility by picking up his 19 wins with four different partners. When the Huskies win the doubles point they are 11-3. When they lose the doubles point their record stands at 2-5.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: UW dropped slightly in the rankings from 18th to 22nd following the close losses to USC and UCLA. The Huskies have been as high as tenth this season when they started the year winning seven of their first eight duals. In the latest singles rankings, All-American Alex Vlaski earned a No. 9 rank and freshman Alex Slovic saw his ranking climb one spot to a new career-high 42nd. Slovic is currently the fourth-highest ranked freshman. On the doubles front, Vlaski and Chu are on the rise with a No. 43 ranking, while Vlaski and Slovic remain ranked at 37th despite not playing a match together since February.

UP NEXT: The Huskies head to the Pac-10 Championships in Ojai, Calif. following the Oregon dual. The tournament runs from Thursday-Sunday, April 22-25 with play going throughout each day.

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