#10 Washington beats #64 UC Santa Barbara

Peter Scharler defeated Matthew Coin 7-5,6-4 to clinch the match as the 10th ranked Husky men's tennis team prevailed 6-1 over the #64 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in non-conference action at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on Saturday afternoon.

Playing in the #5 singles position, Scharler trailed Coin 3-5 in the first set before rallying. He held serve to close to 4-5, and then broke Coin at love to tie the set at 5 when the Gaucho double faulted. Scharler held serve again, at love, to take a 6-5 lead and force Coin to hold serve to stay in the set and force a tie-break.

Coin practically handed the set to Scharler by the score of 7-5, sandwiching three unforced errors around a Scharler backhand passing shot winner.

In the second set, Scharler held serve twice and went up a break on Coin to take a 3-0 lead, but Coin returned the favor, holding serve twice and breaking Scharler in the fifth game to even the set at 3. The players traded holds of serve through the ninth game, with Scharler leading 5-4 and Coin once again serving, this time to stay in the match as well as the set.

Unlike the first set, when Coin gave him the final game, this time Scharler earned two match points at 15-40 with a big backhand winner and a backhand drop shot winner plus a Coin backhand unforced error. After Scharler gave away one with a forehand error into the net, he converted his second chance and closed out the match with a forehand volley winner.

The match began with doubles, and Scharler teamed with Christoph Palmanshofer in #2 doubles to post an easy 8-1 victory over Nick Brotman and Michael Frick.

Alex Slovic and Alex Vlaski secured the doubles point for the Huskies with an 8-3 win over Alex Anselme and Mike Placek in the top match. One doubles match remained, between the Huskies' Scott Felsenthal and Nick Weiss and the Gauchos' Coin and Elad Stern.

Although the Huskies already had the point, the third match still mattered, if not to the team, to the individual doubles records of Felsenthal and Weiss. They looked like they were well on their way to joining their teammates as victors in doubles, when they led 6-3, but then Coin and Stern held serve and broke Felsenthal in the 11th game to tie the match at 6.

Then players on both sides held serve, forcing the set to a tie-break at 8 games all. The Gauchos took a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak, but the Huskies rallied to win the next 6 points and the match 9-8(4).

When play shifted to singles, Palmanshofer gave the Huskies their second point with an easy 6-1,6-1 win over Placek in the #3 position, and Slovic handled Brotman in the #2 match 6-3,6-1 to put the Huskies up 3-0 and Scharler in position to clinch the match. Even after Scharler's clincher, more tennis remained.

Unlike on Friday, when the Huskies easily disposed of Portland 7-0 and won each match in straight sets, the final three matches against the Gauchos all went to three sets, including the top match between Vlaski and Anselme.

After dropping the first set 1-6, Vlaski turned the tables on Anselme in the second, blanking him 6-0, and taking the deciding set 6-3, and in turn, putting the Huskies up 5-0.

The only blemish for the Huskies came in #6 singles, as Nick Edlefsen of Santa Barbara rallied to prevail over Chris Floyd 4-6,6-4,6-3 and put a point on the board for the Gauchos. That left one match on court, at the #4 position, between the Huskies' Daniel Chu and the Gauchos' Stern.

The two players split the first two sets, with Chu taking the first 6-2, and Stern the second 6-3. Chu then took a 4-3 lead in the third and served to go up 5-3, but Stern not only broke Chu to tie the match at 4, but held to take a 5-4 lead and force Chu to hold to remain in the match.

He did, and after the two held serve again the match remained tied at 6 and went to a tiebreak. Chu took a 5-2 lead before Stern closed to 5-4 on a pair on unforced errors. Stern gave Chu a match point at 6-4 with a wide backhand return and he converted the opportunity and won the tie-break 7-4 with a service winner.

The 10th ranked Huskies completed their season opening homestand with a 7-1 record, with the only loss coming to seventh ranked Mississippi in the first round of the USTA/ITA National Indoors. They now take to the road, beginning with matches at Fresno State on Friday, February 20 and San Diego on Saturday, February 21. The Huskies open the Pac-10 season at #3 Stanford on Friday, March 26 and 11th ranked California on Saturday, March 27 before finally returning home on Friday, April 2 to host Arizona State at Quillian Stadium.

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