Ouellette defeats Slovic

PALO ALTO, Calif. - In a slugfest between left handers that lasted nearly three hours, a forehand overhead into the net gave Greg Ouellette of Florida a 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4) victory over Alex Slovic of Washington on Wednesday afternoon in an NCAA Men's Round of 64 singles match on Stanford's Taube South Court #2.

Slovic finished the season with a 28-15 record in singles, while Ouellette advanced to face fifth seeded Ludovic Walter of Duke in the Round of 32. Walter moved on when his opponent, Michal Kokta of Baylor, retired with an injury after trailing 1-4 in the first set.

Slovic had his chances to take command in the first set when Ouellette double faulted to give him a service break and a 4-2 lead. Slovic served for 5-2, but the feisty Gator returned the break on an errant forehand beyond the baseline. Slovic had two chances to break serve in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead when he led 15-40, but Ouellette saved the first on a forehand unforced error and the second on a forehand overhead winner. Slovic got a third break chance on a backhand error by Ouellette but squandered it when he hit a forehand overhead well beyond the baseline. Ouellette went on to hold for a 4-4 tie.

With Slovic serving in the ninth game, the two players battled through 20 points and seven deuces. Ouellette had six break points but Slovic saved one with a forehand volley winner and the other five with big serves wide to Ouellette's forehand, tallying two aces and three service winners. A service winner down the center service line then gave Slovic a game point but two straight unforced errors by Slovic gave Ouellette his seventh break chance, and he finally converted with a forehand return winner to take a 5-4 lead and serve for the set.

Ouellette trailed 15-30 in the 10th game but two more unforced errors by Slovic gave him a set point and he seized it with a service winner wide to Slovic's forehand.

In the second set a double fault by Slovic gave Ouellette the opening game, but Slovic dominated after that, winning six straight games and forcing the match to a decisive third set. It looked like Ouellette might win the set and match easily when he held serve twice and got a break for a 3-0 lead, but Slovic rallied. He held serve in the fourth game to get on the board, broke in the next game when the Gator double faulted, and then held serve in the sixth game for a 3-3 tie.

Slovic had two chances to break serve in the seventh game to go up 4-3, but gave away the first with a forehand unforced error and lost the second when Ouellette drilled a forehand winner down the line in the deuce court. Four points later Ouellette went up 4-3 when a forehand by Slovic landed long. Three routine service games brought the set to 5 all. Slovic had a break chance in the 11th game to go up 6-5 and serve for the match, but could not convert. Two deuces later Slovic netted a crosscourt forehand and forehand volley to give Ouellette a 6-5 lead. Slovic held serve easily for 6-6, extending the match into a tiebreak that would determine the winner.

Ouellette won the first point with a service winner down the center service line, but Slovic tied it at 1 on a backhand unforced error. Ouellette regained the lead at 3-1, but Slovic won the next three points to go up 4-3.

Unfortunately the rest of the tiebreak went in Ouellette's favor as he won the next four points, three of them on unforced errors by Slovic, to close out the match.

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