#10 Washington 4, #32 Oregon 3

Dinka Hadzic defeated Davina Mendiburu 6-4,1-6,7-6 (6) to clinch a tight tension filled match as the fourth seeded and 10th ranked Huskies rallied for a thrilling 4-3 victory over 32nd ranked Oregon in the second round of the NCAA Women's tennis tournament at Quillian Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

With the win the Huskies improved to 20-5 and beat the Ducks (17-9) for the third time this season, following a 5-2 win at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on February 21 and a dramatic 4-3 triumph in Eugene on March 12.

In a classic which lasted nearly five hours, the decisive point came down to the match at #4 singles between Hadzic and Mendiburu. They split the first two sets, with Hadzic taking the first 6-4 and Mendiburu the second 6-1. After the two players both held serve for a 1-1 tie in the third, Hadzic capitalized on four unforced errors by Mendiburu to break for a 2-1 advantages.

Hadzic then held serve to take a 3-1 lead, before Mendiburu's finesse game of slices, drop shots, and lobs helped her take the next four games for a 5-3 lead and agitate some Husky partisans into muttering that "her (Mendiburu) game is setting back Division I tennis." Mendiburu began the streak of four consecutive games by holding serve in the fifth game to close to 2-3. She won the game on a controversial forehand winner that landed on the line in the ad court.

Hadzic thought the ball landed just wide for what would have been the fourth deuce of the game, but the chair umpire overruled the call and awarded the point to Mendiburu. Hadzic slammed her racquet down on the court in disgust, and both Duck head coach Nils Schyllander and assistant Kathy Sell thought that the chair umpire should have assessed a code violation, at which point very poor sportsmanship by a Husky fan reared its ugly head, as he yelled at the Duck coaches that they should "play some tennis and win the match on the court!"

Mendiburu then won 12 of the next 14 points to hold serve once and break Hadzic twice, remarkably while she was called for numerous foot faults and despite admitting in the sixth game to a Duck supporter, that "she could not even see straight."

In the ninth game Hadzic had three chances to break Mendiburu for 4-5 and finally did so as she charged a drop shot and flicked a running forehand crosscourt winner. Both players then held through the 11th game, with Mendiburu leading 6-5, and in the 12th game she had two match points against Hadzic's serve. Hadzic saved both, the first on a forehand passing shot into the ad corner and the second on a service winner. After getting her third game point on an errant backhand by Mendiburu, Hadzic finally held serve for 6-6 and sent the match to a climactic third set tiebreak with a backhand winner down the line in the deuce court.

Mendiburu took a 3-2 lead in the tiebreak before Hadzic won four points in a row to take a 6-3 lead and hold three match points on her racquet. Mendiburu, however, saved the first one with a forehand approach winner, the second one on a forehand unforced error by Hadzic, and squared the tiebreak at 6 all with a forehand overhead smash. Hadzic got her fourth match point at 7-6 when a backhand passing shot by Mendiburu landed wide, and when a forehand by Mendiburu landed in the net, the jubilant Huskies rushed over to Hadzic and mobbed her.

The Huskies trailed 3-2 and Ester Bak put the Ducks within one set of closing out the match and rendering the match at #4 irrelevant to the eventual outcome when she took the first set against Mugette Ahn 7-6 at #6 singles, but Ahn came up huge for the Huskies, rallying to take the next two sets 6-4 and 6-1 and tie the match at 3 points apiece.

Earlier, the Ducks put the pressure on the Huskies to produce in singles by taking the doubles point. In the top match the 44th ranked pair of Daria Panova and Courtney Nagle defeated the Huskies' 10th ranked Claire Carter and Dea Sumantri 8-4, rallying to win six consecutive games after falling behind 4-2. Bak and Mendiburu then won at #3 doubles 8-6, prevailing despite a rally by Ahn and Saskia Nauenberg to tie the set after they trailed 1-6.

When play shifted to singles, All-American Carter, ranked #33 in the country, secured the first point for the Huskies with a 7-5, 6-1 upset over 12th ranked Panova in the final home match of her career at #1 singles. #17 Sumantri then put the Huskies ahead 2-1 just briefly with a 6-2,6-2 win over #71 Dominika Dieskova at #2, but a moment later Courtney Nagle beat #64 Erin Hoe at #3 6-1,6-4 to tie the match at 2 points apiece. Anna Leksinska then beat Nauenberg at #5 singles to put Oregon ahead 3-2, forcing Hadzic and Ahn to win if the Huskies wanted to advance to the Round of 16 for the third time in history, after appearances in 2001 and 2003.

With the win the Huskies now face #44 Arizona State (8-14), another Pac-10 opponent, in the Round of 16 in Athens, Georgia at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 20. The Sun Devils became the second lowest ranked team - after #45 Kansas State in 2003 - to advance that far in the tournament after shocking #13 LSU 4-1 in the first round and then pulling off one of the biggest upsets in tournament history with a 4-0 shocker over #12 Texas on the Longhorns' home court.

Following the team portion of the NCAA Championships, Carter, Sumantri and Hoe will participate in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in Athens from May 24-29.

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