#12 Washington 1, #13 USC 6

Nicole Leimbach defeated Dea Sumantri 1-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-6) in the featured singles match as the 13th ranked USC Trojans dominated singles play and beat the 12th ranked Huskies 6-1 in Pac-10 women's tennis at Bill Quillian Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Trojans won the doubles point and five of six singles matches to improve their Pac-10 record to 3-0 and overall mark to 9-1, while the Huskies lost their third consecutive match to drop to 10-4 overall and 1-2 in conference.

Leimbach, ranked #15 in the nation, started slowly as she got broken on serve twice and lost the first set 6-1.

After the set, Leimbach engaged in what some fans and Husky head coach Patty McCain considered gamesmanship, taking a restroom break for nearly 10 minutes. Gamesmanship or not, the break seemed to help Leimbach in the second set as she broke Sumantri in the sixth game and led 5-2. However, Sumantri, ranked #6, battled back to tie the set at 5, breaking Leimbach in the ninth game and holding serve twice. Leimbach responded by holding serve easily to go up 6-5, forcing Sumantri to serve to force a tiebreak. Leimbach won three of the first four points to take a 15-40 lead and claim two set points. Sumantri saved one with a service winner but then gave Leimbach the set with an errant backhand slice beyond the baseline.

Since the Trojans had already clinched the team victory, Leimbach and Sumantri played a ten point super tiebreak to determine the winner. Leimbach took a 2-0 lead but Sumantri rallied to go up 3-2. Leimbach then won five straight points, four of them on unforced errors by Sumantri, to take a 7-3 lead. After an exchange of winners made it 8-4 Leimbach, Sumantri struck a pair of winners to close to 8-6, but she lost the final two points and the match on a double fault and an errant forehand.

The afternoon began with the Trojans winning two of three matches to claim the doubles point. At #3, Judy DeVera and Dianne Matias defeated Saskia Nauenberg and Alison Rainey 8-3, and at #2, the 56th ranked paair of Anca Anastasiu and Lindsey Nelson beat Mugette Ahn and Tara Simpson 8-4. In the top doubles match Sumantri and Dinka Hadzic prevented a Trojan sweep, taking a 4-0 lead and eventually winning 8-4.

However, any momentum that Sumantri and Hadzic gained from winning their doubles match did not seem to help them in singles.

At #2, Nelson, ranked #16 nationally , gave USC a 2-0 lead with an easy 6-1,6-3 win over #34 Hadzic. Simpson got the Huskies on the board with a 6-3,6-2 win over Vermuelen at the #5 position. In that match, it looked like Simpson just kept battling. On many occasions when Vermuelen seemed to have the point won, Simpson managed to retrieve the ball and force Vermuelen to hit an extra shot, and when she did so, she committed an unforced error.

Unfortunately, beyond Simpson's win, the Huskies had nary a highlight in singles, as it was all USC in the other matches. At #3, Anastasiu bested Ahn 6-3,6-2 and at #6, DeVera clinched the match with a 6-3,6-3 win over Rainey. Then at #4, Matias beat Nauenberg 6-0,7-5, overcoming an 0-3 second set deficit en route to the win.

Following a break for final exams, the Huskies return to the court when they travel to Pullman to face rival Washington State in a nonconference match on Sunday, March 20 at noon.

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