#12 UW 4, #49 Arizona 2

Freshman Andy Kuharszky delivered the clinching point as the 12th ranked Huskies moved a step closer to securing a possible host berth in the NCAA tournament with a 4-2 win over #49 Arizona at a sunny but chilly Bill Quillian Stadium on Friday afternoon.

More importantly, with the victory the Huskies improved to 4-1 and tied sixth ranked UCLA for first place in the Pac-10, as the Bruins dropped their first conference match of the season, a 4-3 upset against #35 California in Berkeley.

After losing the first set against Bruno Alcala 7-5, Kuharszky stormed back to win 12 of the next 13 games and take the final two sets 6-0,6-1. Down a break at 1-4 in the third set, Alcala served to remain down just the one break and battled Kuharszky through four deuces, but two forehand unforced errors gave Kuharszky a commanding 5-1 lead, and he served out the match to give the Huskies the win.

The Huskies needed Kuharszky to come through as they dropped matches at #1 and #6 singles and trailed at #4.

In the featured match, 55th ranked Roger Matalonga of the Wildcats defeated #19 Alex Vlaski 6-2,6-4. The prospects of a Vlaski victory looked good early, as in the opening game of the match, Matalonga double faulted on the first point and only got 40 percent of his first serves in. Despite winning the game, Matalonga had to battle through 10 points just to hold serve, while in the second game Vlaski easily held at love for a 1-1 tie.

Vlaski broke serve to take a 2-1 lead and had a game point to go up 3-1, but he double faulted to deuce and Matalonga won the next point and got a break chance with a crosscourt forehand passing shot. He converted the break chance when Vlaski dumped a forehand into the net. Matalonga then held to go up 3-2, and battled Vlaski through five deuces and 16 points in the sixth game before two unforced errors gave him another break and a 4-2 lead. After holding again for 5-2, Matalonga broke Vlaski for the third time to take the first set.

In the second set, both players held through the nine games with Matalonga leading 5-4 and Vlaski serving to stay in the match. Vlaski won the first point with a service winner but then committed four consecutive unforced errors to give Matalonga the break and the win. The win put the first point on the board for the Wildcats, and Arizona tied the match at two points apiece when Claudio Christen beat Peter Scharler at #6 6-4,6-4.

At #3 Christoph Palmanshofer defeated Daniel Andrus 6-1,7-6(7-3) to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead. After winning the first set easily 6-1, it looked like Palmanshofer would have to play three sets as he fell behind Andrus 2-5 in the second. However, he battled back to take a 6-5 lead, but still had work to do after Andrus forced the tiebreak. He finally put the match away with a terrific backhand stab volley that just landed on Andrus's side of the net.

At #4 the Huskies' Daniel Chu lost the first set to the Wildcats' Paul Warkentin but led 5-4 in the second when the match was suspended as Arizona had to travel to play Oregon.

Alex Slovic put the Huskies up 2-0 with a 6-3,6-2 win over Colin O'Grady at #2 singles.

Earlier, the Huskies won the doubles point in a sweep. At #2, Palmanshofer and Vlaski beat Andrus and Warkentin 8-5. At #3 Kuharszky and Mike Ricks beat Alcala and Christen 8-6, and in the top doubles match Chu and Slovic beat Matalonga and O'Grady 8-5.

The Huskies return to the hardcourts of Quillian Stadium, weather permitting, or the Nordstrom Tennis Center for their home finale when they host #53 Arizona State at 12:00 noon. The match will mark the final regular season home appearance for seniors Vlaski, Palmanshofer and Scharler.

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