Georgia Comes Back To Thwart Huskies, 4-2
Jan. 31, 2009
ATHENS, Ga. - The Husky men's tennis team pushed third-ranked Georgia nearly to the brink this afternoon, but the two-time defending NCAA Champion Bulldogs pulled out a 4-2 victory in the final qualifying round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The Huskies (4-2) held the lead early on but were unable to snap Georgia's 50-match home win streak.
The turning point proved to be the No. 4 singles match, between junior Derek Drabble and Georgia's Josh Varela. Drabble was 5-0 in singles play coming in, and took the first set in a tiebreaker. The second set was nearly as tight, but Varela broke a 5-5 tie by winning the final two games to level the match at a set apiece. With momentum in his favor, Varela went on to win the third set, 6-2, and clinch the win. Washington's Tobi Obenaus was up a set but down 0-3 in the second set against Christian Vitulli at No. 6 singles when the match was halted, thus the final score could easily have been 4-3.
The Huskies came up big in doubles play, winning the top two matches to take the early 1-0 lead. Sophomores Matin Kildahl and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan defeated Nate Schnugg and Borja Malo at the top spot, 8-4. After Georgia won the No. 3 doubles match, Drabble and senior Patrik Fischer came through at No. 2 with an 8-6 win over Varela and Vitulli. They had trailed 5-3 before winning five of the final six games.
UW's only win in singles play came courtesy of Nedunchezhiyan at No. 2 singles, who upset 35th-ranked Jamie Hunt, 6-2, 6-3. This was the second-straight year that Nedunchezhiyan upended a highly-ranked Bulldog, as he defeated 17th-ranked Nate Schnugg last season in a match Georgia won by the same 4-2 score. Schnugg has since moved up to No. 1 singles, and is ranked 18th. He handed Fischer a 6-2, 6-0 defeat for Georgia's first point of the day.
Kildahl suffered a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Javier Garrapiz at No. 3 singles, and senior Ryo Sekiguchi struggled against Georgia's Drake Bernstein at No. 5, falling 6-0, 6-1.
With the win the Bulldogs move on from qualifying to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, held Feb. 13-16 in Chicago. The Huskies will return home to host the Great Northwest Shootout next weekend. The Dawgs will host Oklahoma on Friday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. and then take on Boise State on Sunday, Feb 8, at 12 noon.
Washington Men's Tennis
No. 3 Georgia 4, No. 36 Washington 2