Vlaski Reaches Pac-10 Quarters With Stunning Comeback
April 22, 2004
OJAI, Calif. - After reaching the final the past two years at the Pac-10 Championships, junior All-American Alex Vlaski was the odds-on favorite this year to capture his first crown, but in second round action Thursday, Vlaski was reminded just how difficult the road to the final can be. Facing USC's Jamil Al-Agba, Vlaski staged a miraculous three-set comeback to keep his title bid on track, moving into Friday's quarterfinals with a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (2) victory that ended day one at the Pac-10 Championships. Vlaski was the only Husky to advance past the second round.
The sixth-ranked Vlaski (Belgrade, Yugoslavia) dropped the first set 5-7 to the 79th-ranked Al-Agba and trailed 5-2 in the second, before winning five straight games to send the match into a decisive third set. Vlaski again fell woefully behind at 5-1, but roared back a second time to force a tiebreaker, which he won 7-2, reaching the quarterfinals with a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (2) marathon victory. In the quarters, Vlaski will face UCLA's 56th-ranked Alberto Francis. Vlaski reached the second round by downing Arizona's Daniel Andrus in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.
Husky junior Christoph Palmanshofer earned his biggest win of the year with his first round upset of Stanford's No. 61 KC Corkery, winning 6-3, 6-2. Facing an even bigger challenge in the second round, Palmanshofer fell to USC's 31st-ranked Adriano Biasella by a 7-6 (3), 6-3 count.
In other first round matches, UW's two freshman in the main draw found out how tough Pac-10 tournament play can be. 27th-ranked Alex Slovic suffered only his sixth loss of the season at the hands of Arizona State's Jonathan Kinsella, 6-4, 6-3. Also making his first appearacen, freshman Daniel Chu nearly upset No. 84 Roger Matalonga of Arizona, but the Wildcat prevailed in three close sets, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.
In the Invitational singles draw, freshman Michael Ricks picked up a pair of wins to secure a spot in Friday's quarterfinals. Ricks, who owned only three collegiate wins coming into the tournament, defeated USC's Scott Patterson in the first round and Stanford's Chris Rasmussen in round two, both in straight sets, and next will face UCLA's No. 99 Philip Gruendler.
Friday's action will feature quarterfinal singles matches as well as the first and second rounds of doubles play. Representing the Huskies are the teams of Vlaski and Chu, and Slovic and Weiss.
Washington Men's Tennis