Husky Men's Tennis Outlasts Oklahoma, 6-1
Feb. 6, 2009
SEATTLE - In a match that stretched well past the four hour mark, the 39th-ranked Washington men's tennis team knocked off the Oklahoma Sooners, 6-1, in the first match of the Great Northwest Shootout. The match was much closer than the score indicated, but the UW prevailed thanks in part to Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Patrik Fischer coming back from first set losses to each upset ranked singles players.
The Huskies improved to 5-2 on the season in handing the 71st-ranked Sooners their first loss (2-1). Washington earned the doubles point and two straight-set singles wins before Oklahoma dug in its heels, sending the final three matches to lengthy third sets. But UW won each of the three and finished the match off four-hours and 26-minutes after first serve.
"Oklahoma is a very good team and we knew that going in," said head coach Matt Anger. "They've got some very highly-regarded players and you can't pay attention to the team rankings this early in the season."
The Huskies began the match with a sweep of doubles play, but the Sooners made things tough in the end. Sophomores Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Martin Kildahl won seven games straight at No. 1 doubles to defeat Sergey Avdeyev and Ionut Beleleu, 8-2. Sophomores Tobi Obenaus and Brad Bator were in control, up 6-3, at No. 2 doubles but UO's George Chanturia and David Pultr broke back to get the 6-5. Obenaus and Bator would break again to win the match and clinch the doubles point for the Huskies. Finally, senior Patrik Fischer and junior Derek Drabble fought back from 4-7 down to force a tiebreak at No. 2 doubles, which they won, seven points to four. Drabble and Fischer are now 6-1 at No. 2 doubles.
Moving on to singles play, Kildahl got into the win column at No. 3 singles over David Pultr, using one service break early in the first set to win 6-4, and another late in the second to win 7-5. The Huskies extended their lead to 3-0 as senior David Chu notched a 6-3, 6-3 win over Chanturia at No. 6 singles. Oklahoma got its first point at fourth singles, where Beleleu held off Drabble, 6-4, 6-4
With UW up 3-1, the final three matches all headed into third sets. The dramatic clincher came from Nedunchezhiyan at No. 1 singles, as he came back to upset 44th-ranked Andrei Daescu, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Nedunchezhiyan, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week, broke Daescu for a 3-1 lead in the decisive set and gradually forced more and more errors from his foe. Daescu is a two-time NCAA Singles participant and the second-straight Top-50 player that Nedunchezhiyan has defeated.
"Daescu is a big guy but he moves so well and covers a ton of ground. Obviously Jeevan covers his share of ground too, so some of the points between those two were just mesmerizing," said Anger. "It was great to see Jeevan hang in there and then look really strong and win the third set going away."
The match was anything but finished, however, as Fischer's match at No. 2 singles and Obenaus' at No. 5 both stretched past the three hour mark. Fischer, taking on 77th-ranked Avdeyev, survived match points trailing 4-5 in the third set and finally pulled out a back-and-forth match, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 7-5. Obenaus, battling with Blake Boswell, went the full distance as he broke serve to force a third-set tiebreaker, rallying to win the breaker, 7-4, to complete a 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (4) marathon victory
The Great Northwest Shootout is a round robin tourney between the Huskies, Sooners, and 30th-ranked Boise State. The Sooners will now play Boise State tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Nordstrom, and then the Huskies will play the Broncos at 12 noon on Sunday, with the team with the best record after Sunday earning the tournament title.
Washington Men's Tennis
No. 39 Washington 6, No. 71 Oklahoma 1