Stanford hands Huskies first loss

Stanford's David Martin defeated Washington's Matt Hanlin 7-5,1-6,6-3 in the matchup of top singles players as the #6 Cardinal rallied for a tight come from behind 5-2 victory over the #9 Huskies in men's Pac-10 tennis action at Quillian Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Four of six singles matches in the conference opener for both schools went to the decisive third set, with Stanford prevailing in all of them, as the Cardinal snapped Washington's winning streak at 14 and handed the Huskies their first loss of the season.

Hanlin had a much more difficult time on his serve than Martin did in the opening set, but overcame that difficulty and played Martin to a 5-5 tie after 10 games. Then, in the 11th game, after he took a 30-15 lead on his serve with both a forehand and backhand volley winner, Hanlin hit a backhand long, another backhand wide, and then netted a forehand to give Martin the break and a 6-5 lead.

After failing to capitalize on a break point in the 10th game which would have given him the set, Hanlin had a double break opportunity to tie the set at 6 and force it into a tiebreaker, but Martin dug himself out of the hole, capitalizing on three more Hanlin unforced errors to give himself a set point. After Hanlin smacked it away with a forehand winner, Martin struck a forehand volley winner and then a service winner to take the first set 7-5.

After Hanlin took the opening game of the second set with a service winner, Martin gave his Husky counterpart a 2-0 lead with a double fault. Hanlin then consolidated the break by holding his own serve with four winners and led 3-0. After Martin held in the fourth service game to close to 1-3, Hanlin won the next three games to take the set 6-1.

Martin took the first game of the third set with a service winner, before Hanlin squared the set at a game apiece with a forehand volley winner. Then, after Martin smacked a service winner to take a 2-1 lead, the two players battled for 12 points in the fourth game before Hanlin double faulted to give Martin a 3-1 lead.

Martin then won the next two games to take a commanding 5-1 lead, but Hanlin fought back, breaking Martin with a backhand slice return winner to make it 5-2 and then smacking a forehand winner on the run to make it 5-3. Martin would not squander another opportunity to win the match on his serve, as he closed out Hanlin with an ace and give Stanford a 3-2 lead in the match.

The two teams opened the match with three doubles matches, with one doubles point going to the team that won two of the three. Washington's #3 doubles team of Christoph Palmanshofer and Peter Scharler defeated Stanford's Carter Morris and Sam Warburg 8-4, and the Huskies looked like they would easily win the doubles point when their top duo of Alex Vlaski and Ari Strasberg jumped out to a 6-2 lead over Martin and Scott Lipsky.

However, the Stanford duo won six consecutive games to take the match 8-6, leaving the doubles point on the racquets of the Huskies' Hanlin and Dillon Ruby and Stanford's James Pade and KC Corkery in the #2 doubles match. Hanlin and Ruby ultimately prevailed 9-8 in a tiebreaker, giving Washington a 1-0 lead.

When play shifted to singles, Vlaski gave Washington a 2-0 lead with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Lipsky in the #2 singles match. Warburg got Stanford on the board with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Palmanshofer, and Stanford tied the match at 2 wins apiece when Corkery rallied for a 6-7,6-1,6-0 victory over the Huskies' Fred Sunsten in the #3 singles match.

After Martin defeated Hanlin, the Huskies still had a chance to emerge victorious, but they needed both Ari Strasberg, in the #5 singles position,and Ruby, in the #6 position to win. Both players went to three sets against their opponents, but came up short, as Stanford's Phil Sheng defeated Ruby by a final of 6-2,5-7,7-6 to clinch the match for the Cardinal, and Pade defeated Strasberg 6-7,6-4,6-3.

The Huskies return to action on Saturday at 1 p.m. when they host #7 California in their final home match of the season. After their encounter with the Bears, the Huskies play their remaining 2003 schedule on the road, with a visit to Arizona State on Friday, April 4 and Arizona on Saturday, April 5. Top Stories