Huskies Key On Doubles Heading To Pac-10 Championships
April 21, 2010
THIS WEEK: The Pac-10 Women's Tennis Championships have arrived, and Washington will join the rest of the conference this week in Ojai, California, which lies east of Santa Barbara in Ventura County. The Huskies will use the individual championships to hone their doubles play while keeping the larger goal of the NCAA Championships as the main focus. To that end, Top-20 singles players Denise Dy and Venise Chan will compete only in doubles, but the Huskies will still be well represented in singles action. The Pac-10 tourney is the highlight of the annual Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament, which is now in its 110th season. The tournament gets underway this Thursday morning, April 22, at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club. Saturday's semifinal rounds move over to Libbey Park, and the championships conclude on Sunday, April 25.
THE DRAW: The 32-player women's singles draw consists of three players from each of the nine schools, with five additional competitors selected by a committee of coaches based upon the participant's record. The 16-team women's doubles draw has one doubles team from each school and seven additional teams selected by the committee, based upon the participants' record. In addition to the main draw, there is a second 32-player and 16-team invitational section. Matches begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, with two rounds of singles on opening day. One round of singles and two rounds of doubles will be played on Friday. The women's singles final will be Sunday at 9:30 a.m., with the women's doubles championship at 12:30 p.m.
A quick look at the draws shows a very big challenge for senior Joyce Ardies and junior Lina Xu in the main singles draw. Ardies faces 3rd-seed Yasmin Schnack of UCLA and Xu takes on 2nd-seed Hilary Barte of Stanford, both opponents ranking in the Top-10 nationally. Sophomore Samantha Smith plays ASU's Micaela Hein, who is ranked 68th in the country. Senior Aleksandra Malovic is the top seed in the invitational draw and has a first round bye. In doubles, the 16th-ranked pair of Ardies and Denise Dy are the four-seeds, and play USC's Fansler and Kinstler in round one.
WASHINGTON FIRST ROUND MATCHUPS
Main Singles Draw (Thursday)
Joyce Ardies vs. (3) Yasmin Schnack (UCLA), 8 a.m.
Samantha Smith vs. Micaela Hein (Arizona State), 11 a.m.
Lina Xu vs. (2) Hilary Barte (Stanford), 12:30 p.m.
Invitational Singles Draw (Thursday)
(1) Aleksandra Malovic, BYE
vs. Toporowska (Arizona) or Kinstler (USC), 3:30 p.m.
Main Doubles Draw (Friday)
(4) Ardies/Dy vs. Fansler/Kinstler (USC), 9 a.m.
Chan/Xu vs. M. Burdette/Tan (Stanford), 9 a.m.
Invitational Doubles Draw (Friday)
Malovic/Smith vs. Cor/Skowronski (Oregon), 9 a.m.
LAST YEAR AT THE OJAI: Washington got two wins in the main singles draw from a pair of freshmen, as Denise Dy and Samantha Smith both knocked out a pair of Cougars in the first round before each fell to an eventual finalist in the Round of 16. Aleksandra Malovic was the last Husky left as she moved on to the semifinals of the invitational singles draw.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: In the new rankings on April 20, the women fell a few spots to a season-low No. 31 despite a 6-1 win in their only match of the last week against Washington State. The ranking slip is more a product of earlier season opponents losing than the Huskies hitting hard times. Washington has been as high as 16th this season and was ranked in the Top-25 all year until the past two weeks. This is the first year since 2005 that the Huskies have been in the rare air of the Top-20. All of Washington's six losses have come to teams currently ranked in the Top-25, with UW's top win coming over No. 16 South Carolina. New individual rankings were released this week with sophomore Denise Dy slipping a spot to No. 10, down from her season-high of No. 3. Junior Venise Chan also checks in at No. 15, up one spot from the last period. Chan has been ranked as high as No. 11 this year. In the doubles rankings, Dy and senior Joyce Ardies remain in the top-20 nationally, coming in at No. 16 this week, and have been as high as No. 6.
LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies closed the regular season in Pullman last Saturday and squashed any potential upset with a 6-1 win over Washington State in the regular season finale for both teams. The Huskies took the doubles point, and then rolled to three straight-set singles wins in the lower half of the lineup. Senior Aleksandra Malovic earned her fourth win in a row, topping Marina Nicolas, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 5 singles. Fellow senior Joyce Ardies then posted a similarly one-sided 6-2, 6-1 win over Andjela Kankaras at No. 4 singles to make it 3-0. Junior Aleksandra Krlsljanin got her first action since March 6, and came through with the clinching win, a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Lea Jansen at sixth singles. Wazzu's top two singles players were two of the hottest in the Pac-10, after going 3-1 against Stanford and California last weekend. Liudmila Vasilieva earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors last week and moved up to 58th in the ITA singles rankings. However, 16th-ranked Husky Venise Chan rallied to defeat Vasilieva 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 in the No. 2 singles match. At the No. 1 spot, ninth-ranked Denise Dy also lost the first set to 78th-ranked Elisabeth Fournier, but took the second set, 6-2, and then took the decisive third-set super-tiebreaker, 10-7, for the win.
DAWG BITES: Denise Dy and Venise Chan have been ranked in the Top-20 of the singles rankings throughout the dual season; currently only Washington, Florida, California, and Baylor have two players in the top-20 ... Dy is the third Husky woman to earn a top-five singles ranking, joining Kristina Kraszewski (career-high No. 1) and Dea Sumantri (career-high No. 5) ... with a winning percentage of .857 (24-4), Dy currently ranks second in Husky single season history behind Teri Agee's 21-1 mark (.955; 1980-81) ... with 24 doubles wins this season, Joyce Ardies is tied for seventh in single-season history, and she has moved up to sixth on the career list with 67 doubles wins; she also moved into a tie for ninth on the singles wins list with 73 with her win at WSU ... over the past two seasons, and based on the March 30 singles rankings, Venise Chan had defeated every player ranked second through eighth at least once, with wins also against women ranked 15th, 18th, and 19th, giving her wins over half of the nation's Top-20 players ... Denise Dy has seven wins this season alone over women currently in the Top-50 ... all told, Dy has 13 wins over ranked opponents at the time of the match, while Chan has 10 such wins ... the Huskies are a perfect 10-0 when winning the doubles point but 1-6 when losing it.
NCAA INFO: The NCAA selection show is Tuesday, May 4 on ESPNNEWS. Should the Huskies be selected, they will play in the Regional rounds on May 14-15 at a four-team site to be determined. Should Washington advance out of the first two rounds, they would head for Athens, Georgia for the Round of 16 beginning on May 20. The first round of the NCAA women's singles championship is May 26 and NCAA doubles begins on May 27.
CHAN AND DY ON FIRE IN THE FALL: The 2009 fall season will go down as one of the best in Husky history, as both Denise Dy and Venise Chan had multiple outstanding tournament runs. Dy showed sings of what was to come during the summer, when she won the Washington State Open, beating Arizona State All-American Kelcy McKenna in the final. Starting with the ITA Northwest Regional Championships, Dy really caught fire. In the quarterfinals, she upset reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year Hilary Barte of Stanford. Next Dy beat Mallory Burdette, ranked 16th in the latest rankings, in a third set tiebreak. In the championship match, She took down fourth-ranked Jana Juricova of Cal, the 2009 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, in straight sets to become the first Husky ever to win the Regional title. That earned Dy a spot in the ITA National Indoor Championships, where she joined Chan. At the Indoors, Dy beat three more Top-25 players, including Barte again, to reach the semifinals. She had a three-set win over Anastasia Petukhova of Fresno State, who moved up to No. 4 in January. In the semis, Dy was unable to get past Juricova a second time, and the Cal sophomore then took the title. Chan's National Indoor run was also special, as she joined Dy in the quarterfinals, highlighted by a win over 20th-ranked Kristy Frilling of Notre Dame. Chan started her fall off with a semifinal run of her own, as she reached the final four at the ITA All-American Championships. Her run included wins over No. 23 Lenka Broosova of Baylor, and rival Pac-10 First Teamers Kelcy McKenna of ASU and Marina Cossou of Cal, both ranked in the Top-20. Chan's run was halted in the semis by Georgia Tech's Irina Falconi in a 7-5, 7-6 heartbreaker. Falconi would win the tournament and assume the No. 1 ranking after the fall. It was Falconi again that topped Chan at National Indoors.
HEAD COACH Jill Hultquist: Entering year five of her tenure, head coach Jill Hultquist has ushered in a rebirth of the women's tennis program. In just four years, Hultquist took a 3-17 team and restored stability, added depth and an influx of talent, and brought the Huskies back to national prominence. The turnaround was made official when the Huskies reached the NCAA Round of 16 in 2009 with a stunning upset of Pac-10 Champion USC. Hultquist was named the Northwest Region Head Coach of the Year for her efforts in 2009, as the Huskies went 18-8 and finished the season ranked 27th. Sophomore Venise Chan earned her first All-Pac-10 First Team honor and became the third Husky ever to end the year ranked in the Top-25, finishing 25th. One year prior, Hultquist guided the Huskies back to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2005, and the Huskies climbed back into the ITA Top-40 after nearly a two-year absence. Hultquist is the fourth head coach in program history, and succeeded Patty McCain, whom Hultquist worked with as an assistant for five seasons from 1997-2002. During her first tour of duty at UW, Hultquist helped lead the Huskies to five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances including a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2001. Hultquist was named the National Assistant Coach of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in 2001. She was also selected as the ITA Northwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year in both 2000 and 2001. Before joining the coaching ranks at Washington, Hultquist played professionally on the WTA Tour from 1987-1997, winning more than 20 doubles titles. She ranked as high as sixth in the world in doubles and 64th in the world in singles. Hultquist teamed with McCain on the doubles circuit, and among their victories was a win over Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini in the semifinals of the 1988 U.S. Open. They also advanced to the finals of the 1989 Australian Open. Hultquist reached the mixed doubles finals of the French Open in 1995 and competed in the Olympic Games for Canada in 1984, 1988 and 1996. A native of Toronto, Canada, Hultquist and her husband Rich have two children, Jack (8) and Maggie (6).