Illinois Gets Best of Dawgs in Grinder

Feb. 17, 2008

SEATTLE - The Husky men's tennis team worked the late shift once again tonight, but were defeated, 4-1, in a match with 11th-ranked Illinois that was much closer than the final score. The Huskies (5-4) wrapped up play at the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships with a 1-2 record.

'Both teams were fighting pretty hard tonight. I'm not sure the tennis was quite as good tonight as it was the first two nights,' said head coach Matt Anger. 'Guys were maybe getting a little worn down emotionally, but everyone was fighting hard. Nobody was giving anything away. The courts we were struggling on, we came back, and the courts where we had a good start we weren't able to finish them all off.'

Five of the six singles matches went to three sets, and two did not finish once Illinois got the decisive win. In one of the unfinished matches at No. 1 singles, junior Patrik Fischer led Ruben Gonzales, 4-2, in the final set. The other, No. 5 singles, had freshman Tobi Obenaus just beginning a third set against Waylon Chin after the two swapped 7-6 sets. Obenaus did not get to finish any of his three matches in the tournament.

As for the matches that did finish, only junior Ryo Sekiguchi could finish off a victory. He battled back from a first 2-6 first set loss to Brandon David, eventually ripping his way to a 6-2, 6-4 win. Sekiguchi was 3-0 in the tournament, and is now 8-1 in dual play.

Sophomore Derek Drabble served for his No. 4 singles match, up a set and 5-4 in the second, but Illinois' Mark Spicijaric got the break back, and carried the momentum to a 6-7, 7-5, 6-3 win that was the clinching match. Just moments before, Illinois' 15th-ranked Ryan Rowe had completed a come-from-behind victory over freshman Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, 6-7, 6-1, 6-4 at No. 2 singles. The only straight-set match was at third singles, where senior Andy Kuharszky fell, 6-4, 6-1 to 70th-ranked Billy Heiser.

The Huskies had a missed opportunity in doubles play, as Illinois came back in each of the top two double matches to win and take the point, 2-1. Obenaus and fellow freshman Martin Kildahl continue to excite the crowd and seem to have locked up the No. 3 doubles position, evidenced today by an 8-5 win over Chin and Spicijaric to give the Huskies the lead. However, despite being even at 7-7 in both remaining matches, Illinois came up with the better play under pressure and won each, 9-7.

'It was a great, great college match,' said Anger. 'It's a pleasure for us to host the event and I think for the people here to see all these matches and it's almost all like this. It's great stuff. We know we can play with anybody, and now we just have to work hard to close the gap even more and get over a couple more hurdles.'

In the day's semifinal matches, top-seed Virginia advanced to the final with a hard-fought 4-3 win over No. 5 Mississippi. Two-time defending champion Georgia was not as fortunate, however, as the second-seeded Bulldogs were defeated for the first time since 2006 by No. 3 Ohio State, 4-1. The Cavaliers and Buckeyes will meet in Monday's final at 12 noon.

As for the Huskies, they will be back in action this Saturday, Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. for a dual match with Arkansas at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.

Washington Men's Tennis
ITA National Team Indoor Championships - Consolation
2/17/08 - Nordstrom Tennis Center

(11) Illinois 4, (15) Washington 1

1. Gonzales/Davis (UI) def. Kuharszky/Drabble (UW), 9-7
2. (36) Rowe/Heiser (UI) def. Fischer/Nedunchezhiyan (UW), 9-7*
3. Kildahl/Obenaus (UW) def. Chin/Spicijaric (UI), 8-5
Order of finish: 3, 1, 2

1. Patrik Fischer (UW) vs. Ruben Gonzales (UI), 4-6, 6-3, 4-2 DNF
2. (15) Ryan Rowe (UI) def. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (UW), 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4
3. (70) Billy Heiser (UI) def. Andy Kuharszky (UW), 6-4, 6-1
4. Mark Spicijaric (UI) def. Derek Drabble (UW), 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-3
5. Tobi Obenaus (UW) vs. Waylon Chin (UI), 6-7 (7), 7-6 (4) DNF
6. Ryo Sekiguchi (UW) def. Brandon David (UI), 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
Order of finish: 3, 6, 2, 4
* Clinching match

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