Dawg netters down Ducks 5-2

Claire Carter upset two time Pac-10 Indoor champion and eighth ranked Daria Panova 6-3,5-7 (10-5) in the featured singles match of the day as the fifth ranked Huskies came from behind to defeat #42 Oregon 5-2 in a hard fought women's tennis match at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.

After losing to Panova in three previous encounters, it looked as if Carter would prevail with surprising ease when she capitalized on two breaks of Panova's serve to take the first set 6-3 and broke her again in the opening game of the second on the way to a 3-1 lead. Showing the form that netted her baack to back indoor titles, Panova battled back, holding serve twice and breaking Carter in the sixth and eighth games to take a 5-3 lead. She then had the chance to force a decisive third set when she served in the ninth game, but Carter opened the game with a blistering running backhand that forced Panova into an errant volley, and three unforced errors later, Carter had the break at love and a chance to serve to tie the set. Carter looked as if she would do so easily as she took a 40-15 lead, but then she gave Panova a break chance, and set point, with three consecutive unforced errors. She came up with a big serve wide to Panova's backhand to save the break, but Panova still had two break chances and set points, but Carter saved them both, the first one with another service winner and the second with a big inside out forehand crosscourt winner. Carter then smacked a short ball by Panova for a winner to earn a game point, and finally converted it when a forehand by Panova landed in the net. Panova then held serve to take a 6-5 lead and capitalized on four unforced errors in the next game to break Carter's serve and take the set 7-5.

After the Huskies' Saskia Nauenberg defeated the Ducks' Jamie Marshall in #5 singles 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to give Washington a 4-2 lead and clinch the match for the Huskies, the two teams decided to settle the Carter-Panova match in a 10 point tie-break. Streaks dominated the tie-break, as after the two split the first two points, Carter won the next three and a 4-1 lead, but then Panova rallied to take the next four and go up 5-4. Carter then won the next six points, the last one on a Panova forehand into the net, to take the match.

The day began with doubles, with Oregon sweeping all three matches to take the doubles point. In the top match Panova and Courtney Nagle defeated Carter and Dea Sumantri 8-4, with two service breaks of Sumantri accounting for the difference. In the third position, Oregon's Esther Bak and Davina Mendiburu easily defeated Erin Hoe and Monika Kolbovic 8-3, and in #2 doubles, Dominika Dieskova and Anna Leksinska withstood a rally from a 4-7 deficit by the Huskies' Nauenberg and Dinka Hadzic to prevail 8-7(4).

In singles, Sumantri blanked Nagle in the first set en route to a 6-0, 6-4 victory in the #2 position, tying the match at 1. After Hadzic cruised to a 6-2,6-0 victory over Mendiburu in the #4 position to put the Huskies up 2-1, Bak tied the match at 2 with a 6-2,7-5 win over Kolbovic in the #6 slot. Hoe then put the Huskies up 3-2, prevailing over Dieskova 6-2, 6-4 in the third position.

In the clincher, Nauenberg took a commanding 5-1 lead in the third set before eventually prevailing 6-2 when Marshall double faulted on match point.

With the win, the Huskies improved to7-1 and now journey to Illinois for matches against #24 Illinois on Friday, February 27 and #7 Northwestern on Saturday, February 28, before returning to host #60 San Diego on Friday, March 5 at 3 p.m.

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