#19 Washington 4, #37 Arizona State 3

Alex Vlaski defeated Chris Stewart 6-4,7-5 to clinch the match as 19th ranked Washington held on to defeat 37th ranked Arizona State 4-3 in Pac-10 tennis at Quillian Stadium on Friday afternoon.

With a win in their first home match after spending almost seven weeks on the road, the Huskies improved to 2-1 in the Pac-10 and 12-6 overall while the Sun Devils dropped to 0-3 and 7-9.

Playing in the top singles match, Stewart took an early 3-0 first set lead as he held serve twice and broke Vlaski in the second game. Both players had chances to break the other in the opening service games, but while Vlaski could not convert the two chances he had against Stewart, the Sun Devil finally converted his eighth chance against Vlaski in the second game when a forehand approach by Vlaski landed beyond the baseline.

Vlaski had plenty of opportunities to hold and even the match at 1-1 but hurt his own cause with eight double faults.

After Stewart held at love to extend the lead to 3-0, Vlaski finally got on the board with an easy hold of his own, smacking four winners, one on a backhand slice, two on serve and the final one on a forehand passing shot.

He then broke Stewart in the fifth game to get back on serve at 2-3, taking advantage of a double fault and an errant approach. The two players then exchanged holds through the eighth game, with the set even at 4, before Vlaski capitalized on three errors by Stewart to break and take a 5-4 lead.

In the 10th game, Vlaski took a 40-15 lead and then powered an ace wide to Stewart's forehand side to punctuate the game and take the first set. In the second set Vlaski and Stewart battled to a 5-5 tie before Vlaski broke serve for a 6-5 lead and had the opportunity to serve out the match. Vlaski quickly took a 30-0 lead by whipping a forehand crosscourt approach winner and then smoking an ace wide to Stewart's backhand, but he gave the two points right back with successive double faults.

After smacking another service winner for his first match point, Vlaski proceeded to double fault for deuce. After seizing another match point with a forehand crosscourt winner past a charging Stewart, Vlaski finally closed out the match with a huge serve that Stewart weakly backhanded into the net.

The day began with doubles with the Huskies sweeping all three matches and taking the point. At #2, Alex Slovic and Nick Weiss prevailed over Jonathan Kinsella and Ryan McBride 8-4. Then at #3, Christoph Palmanshofer and Peter Scharler clinched the point with an 8-3 win over Christopher Biro and Nick Hegarty.

In the top match Vlaski and Daniel Chu fell down a break to Stewart and Clinton Letcher 6-4, but after Vlaski held for 5-6, the Huskies got the break back on a forehand winner by Vlaski and a Letcher double fault. Chu held serve in the 13th game for a 7-6 lead and the Huskies broke Stewart in the next game to complete the sweep.

Clinching the doubles point proved the difference in the match for the Huskies as the Sun Devils fought back for a split of the six singles matches. In the #2 position, Slovic easily dispatched Letcher 6-3,6-1 to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead in the match, but Kinsella made it 2-1 Washington with a straight set 6-3,6-3 win over Palmanshofer at #4.

Scharler made it 3-1 Huskies with a 6-4,6-3 win over McBride, but after taking the first set and heading toward an easy win by going up a break and 3-0 in the second, McBride rallied to even the set at 3 with two holds of his serve and a break in the fifth game.

After Scharler held for 4-3, he broke in the eighth game and then held serve to finish off McBride. Arizona State though would not go away easily and reduced the Huskies' lead to 3-2 when Biro defeated Chu 6-3,6-0 at #3 singles. Following Vlaski's clinching win over Stewart, one match remained, at the #6 position between the Huskies' Scott Felsenthal and the Sun Devils' Hegarty.

Felsenthal took the first set 6-4, but Hegarty pulled out the second 7-6(5) after nearly squandering a 4-1 lead. With the match already decided, the two played one 10 point super tiebreak, with Hegarty prevailing 10-5.

The Huskies resume their season - ending five match homestand against #21 Arizona on Sunday, April 4 at 1 p.m at Quillian Stadium, weather permitting.

Dawgman.com Top Stories