With the victory, their ninth straight over a ranked team, the Trojans held on to first place in the Pac-10 with an undefeated mark of 4-0 and improved to 17-2 overall, while the Huskies fell to 3-2 in the conference and 13-7 overall. Playing #4 singles, Langre took the first set easily, but it looked like Palmanshofer would come back to tie the match at a set apiece and send it to a third when he led 5-2 in the second, but Langre rallied to win the next five games and the match.
Serving for the win at 6-5 in the final game, Langre won the first point when Palmanshofer sliced a backhand into the net. After double faulting to 15 all, Langre got two match points at 40-15 on a couple of errors by Palmanshofer, and he secured the match on the first opportunity with a forehand overhead winner.
The Trojans showed their depth in singles, winning four of six matches despite losing in both #1 and #2 singles and dropping the doubles point. Drew Hoskins, ranked #94 in the nation, prevailed over Chris Floyd 6-3,6-2 in the #6 position to tie the match at one point each. #95 Ruben Torres downed Peter Scharler 6-1,6-3 to give USC a 2-1 lead, and #83 Jamil Al-Agba brought the Trojans to within one win of clinching the match when he beat Daniel Chu 6-2,6-1 at the #3 spot. Alex Slovic, ranked #42, improved his record to 17-2 and put the second point on the board for the Huskies when he beat #73 Johan Berg 7-5,6-2 at the second spot. Then, after Langre's victory sealed the match for the Trojans, ninth ranked Alex Vlaski accounted for the Huskies' final point and improved his singles record to 16-3 with a 6-2,6-4 triumph over #23 Adriano Biasella in the top singles match.
Vlaski broke serve three times en route to winning the first set. In the second set, the players exchanged holds of serve through the first six games, but then, after Biasella took a 30-15 lead on his serve in the seventh game, he dropped three points in a row on a long forehand approach, a crosscourt backhand return winner by Vlaski, and a backhand unforced error into the net. Vlaski held to go up 5-3, and in the ninth game, he had two chances to break for the match, but gave away both of them with errant backhands into the net. However, he got two more match points on his own serve in the 10th game and when a forehand by Biasella sailed long, he had the match.
When the afternoon began with doubles, the Trojan duo of Biasella and Torres defeated Palmanshofer and Scharler 8-3 at the #3 position, but at #2, Slovic and Nick Weiss improved their record to a perfect 8-0 for the Huskies with an 8-4 win over Berg and Parker Collins. With both teams registering a win, the doubles point came down to the top match between Vlaski and Chu and the Trojans' 12th ranked pair of Hoskins and Langre. No breaks of serve occurred through the first nine games, although Vlaski and Chu had four opportunities to break Langre in the sixth game. After seven deuces and 20 points, Langre finally held when Vlaski netted a forehand overhead. When Langre served again in the 10th game, the Huskies broke for a 6-4 lead, but the Trojans got the break back against Vlaski's serve in the 13th game, and ultimately the match went to a tiebreak. The Huskies led by as many as three points, at 3-0 and 4-1 in the tiebreak, but both times the Trojans narrowed the deficit to one point. After a backhand volley by Langre found the net to give the Huskies a 5-3 lead, he got the point back with a crosscourt backhand return winner. With the score 5-4, Vlaski won the final two points for the Huskies, raising his arms in triumph when a forehand volley by Langre sailed out.
#4 UCLA 5, #18 Washington 2
Alberto Francis defeated Christoph Palmanshofer 6-1,7-6(3) to clinch the match as the fourth ranked UCLA Bruins prevailed 5-2 over the 18th ranked Washington Huskies in Pac-10 action at Quillian Stadium.
With their victory, the Bruins improved to 4-1 in the Pac-10 and 16-5 overall. Since losing 4-3 to third ranked USC the Bruins have won four straight conference matches and remain a match behind the Trojans as USC defeated 46th ranked Oregon 5-2 in Eugene. The Bruins also remain tied with Stanford for second place in the Pac-10 as the 10th ranked Cardinal defeated Arizona 6-1 in Tucson. With their second straight loss the Huskies fell to 3-3 in the Pac-10 and 13-8 overall.
Playing at #4 singles, Francis, 52nd ranked in the country, won the first set 6-1 but trailed 5-3 in the second before rallying to win three of the next four games and then seven of 10 points in the tiebreak. The Bruins won four of the six singles matches after taking the doubles point. In doubles, Philip Gruendler and Luben Pampoulov handed the Huskies' Alex Slovic and Nick Weiss their first loss in nine matches, taking the #2 doubles match 8-6. At the #3 position, Tobias Clemens and Chris Surapol defeated Palmanshofer and Scott Felsenthal 8-4 to clinch the point for the Bruins. The Huskies avoided the sweep as their top duo of Alex Vlaski and Daniel Chu upset the eighth ranked duo of Francis and Kris Kwinta 8-6. Only one break occurred in the match, with Francis serving in the ninth game with the set even at 4 games each, and that made the big difference as both pairs held serve through the rest of the set.
When singles play began Gruendler, ranked #106, defeated Weiss at the #6 position to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead in the match, but Chu put a point on the board for the Huskies with a 6-3,6-4 win over #82 Chris Lam in the third singles position. Pampoulov then won his third consecutive singles match since becoming eligible as he handed #42 Slovic only his third loss in 20 matches with a 6-2,7-5 triumph, giving the Bruins a 3-1 lead. After the clincher by Francis, #62 Kwinta prevailed in a three setter over Chris Floyd 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 to put the Bruins up 5-1. Only the featured singles match, between the Bruins' fifth ranked Clemens and the Huskies' ninth ranked Vlaski remained. The two players waged a terrific battle, with Clemens having the upper hand in the first set, taking it 6-2, but the score did not indicate the closeness of the set. The two players fought through 18 deuces and 83 total points in the set, with Clemens winning 44 and Vlaski 39. The fans in attendance got an early look at how hard fought the match would be in the opening game, as at 30 all, with Clemens serving, the two players engaged in a 21 stroke rally before Vlaski finally won the point with a forehand overhead following two big forehands to the ad court corner. In the opening game alone the players fought through four deuces and 14 points before Clemens held serve with an ace and a backhand by Vlaski landed wide.
In the second set, Vlaski held and broke Clemens twice to take a 4-0 lead, but Clemens fought back to 3-4 on the strength of two holds of his own and a break in the sixth game. The two players then held serve through the rest of the set, with Vlaski holding at love in the 10th game to take the set 6-4.
With the Bruins having already clinched the match, Clemens and Vlaski settled their affair with a 10 point super-tiebreak. After the two players split the first two points, Vlaski took three point leads at 5-2, 8-5, and 9-6 with the final one giving him three match points, but Clemens saved two of them with a service winner and an ace. Vlaski then had one more match point on his serve, and he converted with a big service winner.
The Huskies conclude the dual match season at home against rival and #46 ranked Oregon at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 17 at Quillian Stadium. They also seek to avenge a 4-3 loss to the then 60th ranked Ducks in Eugene on February 29.
Tennis drops a pair to LA schools
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