Stanford 5, UW 2

Claire Carter rallied to defeat Amber Liu 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the top singles match as the seventh ranked Huskies battled top ranked and undefeated Stanford for more than four hours on Friday afternoon before finally falling to the Cardinal 5-2 in Pac-10 action at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.

With the hard fought victory over the Huskies, Stanford improved to 2-0 in the Pac-10 and its perfect mark to 15-0, while the Huskies dropped to 1-1 and 14-3. The loss also snapped a 19 match home winning streak for the Huskies as they last lost at home to California on March 30, 2002.

The match began poorly for Carter as she committed four unforced errors on her serve in the opening game to give Liu the break and a 1-0 lead, and despite breaks in games five, six, eight and nine, the opening break made the difference as Liu took the first set 6-4.

Carter rallied in the second set, taking the opening game on her serve and then breaking Liu to take a 2-0 lead. After Carter held again to go up 3-0, Liu cut the lead to 2-3 with a hold and a break, taking advantage of three unforced errors. Then, in the sixth game on Liu's serve, the two players battled for 12 points and three deuces before Carter finally broke to take a 4-2 lead.

Before finally getting the break on a terrific backhand passing shot down the line set up by a lob and Liu's inability to put it away for a winner, Carter had two previous break chances but Liu saved the first with a service winner wide to Carter's backhand and the second on a backhand slice error into the net. Carter then held and broke to take the second set and extend the match to a decisive third set.

As she did in the second set, Carter held serve to take a 1-0 lead, but then Liu won three consecutive games with two holds and a break to go up 3-1. Carter and Liu then exchanged holds for a 4-2 Liu lead, and as long as the two players exchanged holds, Liu would prevail. Carter held for 3-4 and then had a break point at 30-40 in the eighth game.

Twice in the point, Liu had a chance to put away Carter with forehand overhead smashes but Carter got them back both times. Carter then hit a third lob which Liu had a chance to put away but she sprayed the overhead wide to give Carter the break and knot the set at 4. Carter held again for 5-4 and then earned two match points at 15-40 in the 10th game, and converted the first chance to take the set and the match.

With Carter's victory, the Huskies won their second consecutive point to cut Stanford's lead in the team match to 3-2, as Erin Hoe outslugged the Cardinal's Erin Burdette in #3 singles 6-3,6-3.

Carter also won in doubles, as she and Dea Sumantri - ranked sixth in the country - overcame six match points to outlast the top ranked pair of Burdette and Lauren Barnikow 9-8(6) in a thriller in the top match.

With Carter serving in the 14th game and the Huskies trailing 6-7, Burdette struck two return winners and Barnikow a backhand winner to give the Stanford duo a 15-40 lead and the first two match points, but Carter saved one with a service winner down the center line and Sumantri placed a backhand volley perfectly in the center of the court between Barnikow and Burdette to save the other.

They went on to win the game and tie the set up at 7, but then Barnikow held for 8-7, and the Huskies faced another match point against on Sumantri's serve when Burdette ripped a forehand passing shot by Carter. Once again the Huskies averted defeat and forced the set to a tiebreak at 8-8 on two unforced errors by Barnikow and a forehand volley winner by Carter.

In the tiebreak Stanford jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and had three more match points at 6-3, but Carter and Sumantri escaped defeat by winning the next three points, the first on a forehand volley placed in the center of the court by Carter, the second on an errant backhand return by Burdette, and the final one on a backhand return flicked down the line by Sumantri.

The Huskies then got their one and only match point when Barnikow netted a forehand overhead, and made the most of it, winning the match on a forehand volley by Sumantri.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, by the time Carter and Sumantri won, Stanford already clinched the doubles point, as the duo of Emilia Anderson and Anne Yelsey routed Washington's Mugette Ahn and Saskia Nauenberg 8-1 in the third position. The match went so poorly for the Huskies in that match that, during a point, a shot by Ahn drilled her own partner Nauenberg in the back.

In the #2 position, Liu and Alice Barnes prevailed over Hoe and Dinka Hadzic 8-6.

Despite the triumphs of Carter and Hoe in singles, Stanford still took four of the six matches. Theresa Logar easily defeated Nauenberg in the #5 position 6-0, 6-2 to give the Cardinal a 2 points to none lead, and Anderson made it 3-0 in the sixth position with a 6-4,6-2 win over Stephanie Svanfeldt.

After Hoe and Carter put the next two points in the match on the board for the Huskies, it looked like Washington might actually have a chance to defeat Stanford for the first time ever. Unfortunately Barnikow quashed the hopes of the Husky partisans and clinched the match for Stanford with a 7-6(5), 6-2 win over Hadzic in the #4 position, and Barnes wrapped up the match for the Cardinal, defeating Sumantri 6-3,6-7(7), 6-3 in #2 singles.

The Huskies play their final home match of the season when they host 12th ranked California at 12:00 noon at either Quillian Stadium, weather permitting, or the Nordstrom Tennis Center. Top Stories