N. 24 Huskies Show More Bite Than Bulldogs In 5-2 Win
Feb. 5, 2010
SEATTLE - Four wins in singles and a clutch doubles point win propelled the 24th-ranked Husky men's tennis team to a 5-2 win tonight over Mississippi State at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. The match was the first leg of the annual Great Northwest Shootout, and gives the Huskies (6-1) the early lead in the round robin format. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Kyle McMorrow took out ranked opponents in the top-two singles matches to close out the win.
Mississippi State came in ranked 61st nationally but nearly upset 10th-ranked Ole Miss earlier in the season and showed the ability of a team that could finish the season ranked much higher than where they began it. Head coach Matt Anger knew it would be a dog fight between the Huskies and Bulldogs.
'All the matches these days are close matches, that's what makes this sport so exciting, and this one was no different than that,' said head coach Matt Anger. 'They had a tough, spirited team, so we're fortunate to make it through. In Kyle's match, he was doing better and better in the return games, and I was just hoping he'd be able to break through he was able to do it at 30-40 in the last game.'
The doubles point brought the intensity level in the Nordstrom higher than its been at any point so far this season, as the point came down to a tiebreaker at the No. 2 spot. First up came an 8-5 win by Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Kyle McMorrow at No. 1 doubles against Coupland and Ilyushin. The two came back from 40-0 down to break serve and take a 4-2 lead and never gave the break back. Mississippi State then evened it with an 8-5 win at No. 3 doubles. That turned all the attention on No. 2, where Martin Kildahl and Derek Drabble held a 7-5 lead, and served for the match at 7-6, but MSU's Sanchez and Lastre broke to stay alive, then held for an 8-7 lead. The Bulldogs held match point in the next game, but Kildahl fired an ace down the middle to save it and eventually held to force a tiebreak. The Husky duo pulled away in the breaker, 7-2, to clinch the point.
Mississippi State certainly wouldn't roll over just because they lost the doubles point, however. MSU tied the match with a win from Max Gregor at sixth singles over junior Brad Bator. Washington then retook the lead when junior Tobi Obenaus pulled away from Chris Doerr at No. 5 singles to earn a 6-4, 6-2 win.
Louis Cant of MSU fended off Drabble at third singles in straight sets to level the match at 2-all again, but Nedunchezhiyan was well in control of his No. 1 singles match against 42nd-ranked George Coupland. After going up two breaks in the first set, Nedunchezhiyan held on for a 6-4 win, then broke twice more early in the second to open a 4-0 lead and held on for the 6-4, 6-2 win. The All-Pac-10 First Teamer has now beaten two Top-50 players in his past three matches.
Two matches remained on court with UW needing to close out just one. McMorrow, the freshman from Thousand Oaks, Calif., was up a set and on-serve in the second against 125th-ranked Artem Ilyushin. McMorrow had broken Ilyushin's serve to win the first set, 6-4, and when the same circumstance presented itself in the second set, McMorrow capitalized again. Leading 5-4 on Ilyushin's serve, McMorrow earned a break point and the Bulldog netted a backhand to give the freshman the 6-4, 6-4 win and give UW the clinching point.
In the final match on court, Kildahl bounced back from a 3-6 first set loss to Antonio Lastre and reversed the second set score, 6-3 in his favor. The two traded blows until 4-4 in the third set, when Kildahl cashed in a break point and served it out for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win to end the evening.
Tomorrow, Mississippi State will take on East Tennessee State at the Nordstrom, with UW then facing ETSU on Sunday afternoon, starting at 2 p.m. The winner of the Shootout will be based on best overall record and match scores if needed.
Washington Men's Tennis
Great Northwest Shootout
February 5, 2010 - Seattle, Wash.
Nordstrom Tennis Center
No. 24 Washington 5, No. 61 Mississippi State 2
1) Nedunchezhiyan/McMorrow (UW) def. Coupland/Ilyushin (MSU), 8-5
2) Drabble/Kildahl (UW) def. Sanchez/Lastre (MSU), 9-8 (2)
3) Doerr/Cant (MSU) def. Obenaus/Rosinski (UW), 8-5
Order of finish: 1, 3, 2
1) Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (UW) def. (42) George Coupland (MSU), 6-4, 6-2
2) Kyle McMorrow (UW) def. (125) Artem Ilyushin (MSU), 6-4, 6-4*
3) Louis Cant (MSU) def. Derek Drabble (UW), 6-3, 6-2
4) Martin Kildahl (UW) def. Antonio Lastre (MSU), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
5) Tobi Obenaus (UW) def. Chris Doerr (MSU), 6-4, 6-2
6) Max Gregor (MSU) def. Brad Bator (UW), 6-3, 6-1
Order of finish: 6, 5, 3, 1, 2, 4