Anger gets No. 200 in historic sweep

Washington's 20th ranked men's tennis team gave Matt Anger his 200th career win as Husky head coach in dramatic fashion, rallying from a 3-1 deficit to stun the NCAA champion and seventh ranked UCLA Bruins 4-3 at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on Saturday afternoon.

Coupled with a win over 50th ranked USC on Friday the Huskies also completed a historic sweep, defeating the Bruins and Trojans in the same season for the first time in school history. More importantly, they remain in contention for their second straight Pac-10 title with their fourth straight conference win, improving to 4-1, good for a third place tie with California. Both teams, however, remain just a half match behind Stanford and UCLA, who share first place in the Pac-10 with 5-1 marks.

Anger downplayed the personal milestone.

"Every match has a life of its own with the ups and downs, so just pulling out a win against a very good (UCLA) team was the big thing."

Jean Noel Insausti clinched the win against the Bruins at third singles, beating Mathieu Dehaine in a third set tiebreak to send a raucous capacity crowd home happy.

After losing the first set 2-6, Insausti rallied to take the second 6-4, drawing even with a break of Dehaine's serve in the ninth game and then holding his own serve for the set. In the third set, Insausti got broken on serve to fall behind 2-3, but immediately broke back for a 3-3 tie, winning the game on a double fault. After the two players held serve for a 4-4 tie, Dehaine had a chance to break in the ninth game and serve for victory, but Insausti won the next three points to go up 5-4. Insausti then had three match points against Dehaine's serve to give the Huskies the upset, but Dehaine came up with great shots under pressure.

He saved the first one with a terrific forehand volley winner after Insausti drilled a return at him, and the other two on service winners. He won the next two points to knot the set at 5 all. Insausti came back with another hold of serve for a 6-5 lead and got his fourth match point against Dehaine's serve on a double fault, but gave it away with an errant forehand beyond the baseline. He then committed tow more unforced errors to give Dehaine a 6-6 tie, forcing the match to a tiebreak, and making it seem to the crowd like they wanted to squeeze every last bit of drama out of an already exciting match. Insausti won the first two points on backhand winners, and after giving Dehaine a point with an errant forehand swinging volley, came back to win the next two points to go up 4-1.

The crowd, exhorted by Insausti's teammates, went into a frenzy with chants of, "Let's go Huskies!" and, "Whose house? Dawgs' House!" reverberating through the arena. Those cheers gave way to groans when Dehaine won the next three points to draw even at 4 all. Insausti lost two of those points on unforced errors, including a double fault, and the third on a big forehand approach winner by Dehaine. Insausti regained the lead at 5-4 with a forehand crosscourt winner but an unforced return error on a Dehaine second serve made it 5 all. Some confusion then arose as Insausti regained the lead at 6-5 without even hitting a shot.

The Bruins got assessed a code violation for racquet abuse, which resulted in a point penalty, when Haythem Abid threw his racquet following a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 loss to Pierre Metenier at second singles. Because that match had ended, and the rule book stipulates that the point penalty is assessed immediately if the next highest remaining singles match is in a tiebreak, Insausti suddenly found himself serving for the match. He came up with a big first serve to Dehaine's backhand, and when the return sailed long, giving the Huskies the improbable victory, Insausti turned around and pumped his fist to the crowd.

"I got lucky", Insausti said. "I waited to return serve and then it is 6-5 and I serve for the match and it is over."

About the point penalty, Anger said, "If there ever was a lesson on keeping your emotions in check this was it and hopefully our guys will learn from it."

Approximately three and a half hours earlier, the match began with doubles and the Bruins sweeping the three positions for a 1-0 lead. The top duo of Benjamin Kohlloeffel and Philip Gruendler bested the Huskies' Alex Slovic and Daniel Chu 8-3. The match began even with the two teams splitting the first four games, but then UCLA won six of the next seven games to put the match away. At second doubles, Abid and Chris Surapol beat Klaus Jank and Andy Kuharszky 8-5. At third doubles, Dehaine and Jeremy Drean used one service break in the fifth game to beat Insausti and Mike Ricks 8-6.

When play shifted to singles, Jank got the Huskies even with a 6-4, 6-1 win against Michael Look at sixth singles, but UCLA won the next two matches to take a 3-1 lead and move to within one point of beating the Huskies for the second time this season, following a 4-1 win in a consolation match at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors in February. In the featured match, Kohlloeffel, the top ranked player, used two breaks in the first set and one in the second to prevail over Slovic 6-3,6-4. At the fifth position, Surapol downed Kuharszky 6-2,6-4. Chu started the Huskies' comeback and made it 3-2 with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Gruendler at fourth singles, allowing Metenier to tie it with his three set win. With Insausti then winning, the Huskies remarkably topped a thrilling 4-3 win over USC on Friday.

Just as Insausti did against the Bruins, Chu smacked a service winner on the first of two match points in the third set tiebreak to defeat Adam Loucks 6-3, 6-7 (10), 7-6 (4) and help the Huskies avoid a big upset against the Trojans (7-13,0-5) in a four hour 12 minute marathon, also at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. USC put the Huskies a point down by sweeping the doubles matches. At third doubles, Loucks and Garrett Snyder beat Insausti and Ricks 8-3. At the second position, Jeff Kazarian and Kaes Van't Hof beat Jank and Kuharzky 8-6. Then in the featured match, Jamil Al-Agba and Dejan Cvetkovic beat Chu and Slovic 8-4.

The consensus among the partisans in the crowd was that the Huskies looked listless in doubles. Anger said that surprised him, especially after the way the Huskies played the previous week in sweeping Arizona State and Arizona on the road. Asked if there was anything he could say to his team during the break between doubles and singles, Anger replied, "Not really. The guys knew they didn't play well and had to pick it up."

In singles Slovic tied the match at one point apiece with an easy 6-0, 6-2 win over Al-Agba in the top match, but Whit Livingston put the Trojans back on top 2-1 with a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over Jank at sixth singles. The French duo of Metenier and Insausti both won three setters to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead. At second singles Metenier prevailed over Cvetkovic 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4 and Insausti beat Van't Hof 6-3,2-6,7-6 (11) at the third position. Chong Wang tied the match at 3-3 with a 4-6, 6-3,7-5 win over Kuharszky at fifth singles, bringing the match down to the duel between Chu and Loucks at the fourth position.

Chu broke Loucks twice, first in the seventh game and again in the ninth, to take the set. Loucks looked like he saved set point when he hit a shot into the deuce corner but Chu chased it down and flicked a terrific angle backhand passing shot to close out the set. In the second set Chu had five match points, two in the tenth game and three in the tiebreak, but Loucks saved them all. At 10 all in the breaker Loucks finally won the set with a backhand return winner and a service winner.

With the win in the second set Loucks earned the privilege of opening the third set on his serve. Normally that would not mean that much but Loucks really picked up his game in the second and third sets, and held serve with such ease that he put the pressure on Chu to hold his own serve. Loucks took a 4-3 lead in the third set and then had a 0-40 advantage on Chu's serve in the eighth game. If Loucks could break Chu he would lead 5-3 and then serve to give the Trojans the upset. Somehow Chu rose to the occasion and saved all three, sandwiching two service winners around an errant forehand that Loucks hit off his racquet frame.

Eventually the match went to a tiebreak, and the two alternated winning points until Chu won three straight to turn a 3-4 deficit into a 6-4 lead. He then finished off the exciting win over Loucks with a service winner wide to Loucks' backhand.

Following the drama of the weekend the Huskies return to either the hardcourts of the Nordstrom Tennis Center or Quillian Stadium to finish their home schedule against Oregon on Saturday, April 22 at 2 p.m. They then conclude the regular season against California in Berkeley, most likely on Wednesday, April 26, in the makeup of a postponed match.

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