A Great day for Kuharszky

Husky senior Andy Kuharszky advanced to the final of the men's ITA Northwest Championship with a 6-2, 7-6 (2) victory over California's Bozhidor Katsarov in a semifinal at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on Monday afternoon.

With the win the fourth seeded Kuharszky will face Richard Wire of Stanford in the final at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 16. The second seeded Wire reserved his spot in the final with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Kiryl Harbatsiuk of Sacramento State.

Kuharszky looked like he would win against Katsarov easily when he won the first set and held a 4-1 lead in the second, but Katsarov elevated his play, rallying to tie the set at 4 all. Katsarov held serve to make it 4-2, and then broke Kuharszky to make it 4-3. In that game, at 15 all, Katsarov came up with a pair of winners to seize two break chances at 15-40, and got the break when Kuharszky hit an errant forehand.

In the 11th game, with the score tied at 5 on Kuharszky's serve and 15 all, Kuharszky hit a backhand volley winner that Katsarov called out, but the chair umpire overruled the call, saying the volley landed on the line in the ad court. Although he trailed 30-15 at that point, the call just seemed to fire up Katsarov. He drilled a forehand return winner into the deuce court on a second serve to tie the game at 30 all. Kuharszky won the next point with a terrific forehand stab volley winner for a 40-30 lead, but Katsarov would not be denied. After Kuharszky sliced a backhand into the net, Katsarov got the break and a 6-5 lead with two backhand winners. With the way he played in the second set, it then looked like Katsarov would serve out the set and force a decisive third set.

Needing to break serve just to force a tiebreak, Kuharzsky stepped it up and came through. He not only broke Katsarov at love, but did so with four straight winners. On the first point, Kuharszky came up with a forehand passing shot. He followed that with a backhand crosscourt angle passing shot winner to go up 0-30. Katsarov looked like he would win the next point for 15-30 when he drove Kuharszky off the court with a an apparent volley winner, but somehow the Husky came up with a backhand crosscourt angle passing shot winner to take an 0-40 lead and set up three break points. He then finished off the break and forced the tiebreak with a forehand crosscourt passing shot winner into the deuce court.

At that point it appeared to the fans in the stands that Kuharszky would probably prevail in the tiebreak. Katsarov won the first point with a forehand volley winner, but an unforced error and three straight winners, including two on serve, gave Kuharszky a 4-1 lead. After a forehand winner by Katsarov made it 4-2, two unforced errors gave Kuharszky four match points at 6-2, and fittingly, he closed out the match with an ace wide to Katsarov's forehand.

In the morning, Kuharszky defeated the Bears' Pedro Zerbini 6-4, 6-4 in one quarterfinal. Unfortunately Husky teammate Tobi Obenaus did not fare as well, as Katsarov ended his run in the quarters with a 6-0, 6-1 win. Other quarterfinal winners were Wire and Harbatsiuk.

Should Kuharszky win against Wire he would then advance to the ITA National Indoor Championships in Columbus, Ohio from November 1-4.

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