Washington's Season Ends in NCAA First Round
May 10, 2008
LOS ANGELES - The Washington men's tennis team had its season come to a close today as the 32nd-ranked Huskies fell to No. 33 Wisconsin, 4-1, in the first round of the NCAA Championships. The loss followed a familiar and painful script for the Huskies, who lost to the Badgers in the first round last year as well, despite winning the doubles point in each match. Wisconsin moves on to face UCLA in the second round tomorrow at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
The match came down to the third and fourth singles positions, which Wisconsin pulled out in tight third sets. Had the match continued, UW was on the verge of winning at No. 5 singles, and was early in a third set at No. 2 singles as well.
Wisconsin's Marek Michalika clinched the match with a comeback win at No. 3 over UW's only senior, Andy Kuharszky. The first set went to Kuharszky, the only first set in singles that went to Washington, however Michalika clambered back into things with a 6-2 second set win. The two battled even until reaching 5-5 in the third, but Michalika pulled out the final two games, winning 7-5 on his second match point. It was a tough way to end a career for Kuharszky, who has been one of the team's best and brightest leaders over the past four years, winning a combined 165 singles and doubles matches, the fourth-most in UW history.
Moments before the No. 3 match finished, Wisconsin pulled out another nailbiter at fourth singles. Sophomore Derek Drabble lost the first set, 7-5, but won the second, 6-3, against Wisconsin's Jeremy Sonkin. Serving to stay in the match down 4-5, Drabble was broken, giving the Badgers the 3-1 advantage.
Two matches went Wisconsin's way in straight sets. Junior Patrik Fischer fell to 50th-ranked Mortiz Baumann, 6-4, 6-4, at No. 1 singles, and freshman Martin Kildahl was defeated, 6-4, 6-3, by Felipe Bellido, in the No. 6 spot.
Junior David Chu was unfortunately denied a chance to complete a very clutch comeback for the Huskies, as he was leading 5-1 in the third set against Michael Dierberger at No. 5. Chu had lost the first set, 6-4, before winning the second by the same score, and taking a 5-0 lead in the third.
Freshman Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan also split sets in his No. 2 singles match with 104th-ranked Nolan Polley. Nedunchezhiyan led, 4-1, in the first set tiebreaker, but lost a pair of set points and Polley prevailed, 7-6. Nedunchezhiyan bounced back with a 6-4 win in the set two, but Polley had an earlier service break in hand in the third set when Wisconsin clinched.
The Huskies came out with one of their best efforts of the season in doubles play, easily winning at Nos. 1 and 3 and up a break at the No. 2 spot. Fischer and Nedunchezhiyan upset Baumann and Polley, ranked 49th, by an 8-3 count. Kildahl and fellow freshman Tobi Obenaus then clinched the point with an 8-2 victory over Sonkin and Michalicka at No. 3. Drabble and Kuharszky led, 6-4, in their match as well.
Unlike last year's first round loss which saw the Huskies lose three starters in singles, this year's squad will bring everyone back with the exception of Kuharszky. Washington winds up with a 14-10 record.
Washington Men's Tennis
NCAA Championships First Round
5/10/08 - Los Angeles, Calif. - Los Angeles Tennis Center
No. 33 Wisconsin 4, No. 32 Washington 1
1. Fischer/Nedunchezhiyan (Wash) def. (49) Baumann/Polley (Wisc), 8-3
2. Drabble/Kuharszky (Wash) led Dierberger/Luke Rassow-Kantor (Wisc), 6-4 DNF
3. Kildahl/Tobi Obenaus (Wash) def. Michalicka/Sonkin (Wisc) - 8-2
Order of Finish: 1, 3
1. (50) Moritz Baumann (Wisc) def. (94) Patrik Fischer (Wash) - 6-4, 6-4
2. (104) Nolan Polley (Wisc) led Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (Wash) - 7-6 (8), 4-6, 2-0 DNF
3. Marek Michalika (Wisc) def. Andy Kuharszky (Wash) - 4-6, 6-2, 7-5*
4. Jeremy Sonkin (Wisc) def. Derek Drabble (Wash) - 7-5, 3-6, 6-4
5. David Chu (Wash) led Michael Dierberger (Wisc) - 4-6, 6-4, 5-1 DNF
6. Felipe Bellido (Wisc) def. Martin Kildahl (Wash) - 6-4, 6-3
Order of Finish: 6, 1, 4, 3