Kuharszky suffers heartbreak in finals

In a match that went the distance, to a third set tiebreak, and lasted almost two and a half hours, second seeded Richard Wire outlasted fourth seeded Andy Kuharszky of Washington 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(4), in the final of the ITA Northwest Regional at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on Tuesday afternoon.

With the win Wire advances to the ITA National Indoor Championships in Columbus, Ohio from Thursday, November 1 to Sunday, November 4.

Wire won the first set by breaking Kuharszky's serve twice, in the opening and ninth games. He dominated on his own serve, winning 16 of 18 total points. In fact, he held at love in the second, fourth and sixth games and did not drop a point on serve until the first game of the eighth game, when Kuharszky had a forehand volley winner.

In the second set, Wire began where he left off in the first, continuing to play lights out on serve, sweeping the eight points in games one and three. At that point he raised total points won on serve to 24 of 26.

Fortunately for him and the Husky fans in attendance, Kuharszky prevented an early exit by holding his own serve, although he certainly had to expend much more effort than Wire to do so. With the score tied at 2 and Wire serving for the lead, Kuharszky finally broke through, not only getting his first break point but converting it. Remarkably that game began for Wire as did almost every other service game, as he took a 30-0 lead with two forehand winners.

Suddenly, Wire double faulted, only the third point lost on his serve in the match, and Kuharszky drilled a forehand approach winner into the ad court to tie the game at 30 all. A forehand approach winner gave Wire a game point at 40-30 but a forehand drop shot into the net brought the game to deuce.

Kuharszky then came up with two forehand winners, the first on a passing shot and the second on a drop volley, to get the break and his first lead of the match.

Unfortunately, Kuharszky could not build on his break as Wire broke him in the next game and tied the set at 3 all. Kuharszky had a couple chances to hold for 4-2, but both times Wire denied him with winners. Wire, for his part, had four chances to break before finally converting when Kuharszky hit an errant forehand wide.

In the seventh game Wire held for 4-3, and then looked like he would close out the match in straight sets when he broke Kuharszky for a 4-3 edge and served for the match.

Two unforced errors and a Kuharszky approach winner later, however, Wire faced triple break point at 0-40. Two service winners made it 30-40, but Kuharszky extended the match at least two more games with a forehand approach winner. The next two games both went to the server, forcing the set into a tiebreak. Kuharszky gave Wire the first point with an unforced error but hit three straight winners to go up 3-1. An ace by Wire and an unforced error by Kuharszky tied the breaker at 3 all.

A forehand volley winner gave Kuharszky the lead at 4-3, but another ace and a forehand overhead smash gave the lead back to Wire at 5-4. Then on the next point, Wire thought he had a match point when he called a forehand volley out, but the chair umpire ruled that the shot landed on the baseline and awarded the point, and a 5-5 tie, to Kuharszky. A forehand volley winner gave the Husky his first set point at 6-5, and he got it when Wire double faulted.

On that point, Wire's first serve looked good, but the umpire called him for a foot fault. Wire seemed a little distracted as his second serve landed in the net, giving the tiebreak and the set to Kuharszky 7-5.

The third set began in routine fashion, with both players holding serve for 1-1. In the next game, on Kuharszky's serve, the two battled through four deuces and 14 points before an unforced error gave Wire the break and a 2-1 edge. Kuharszky had one chance to go up himself but lost it with an unforced error.

Wire served in the fourth game, and it looked like a game from the first as he held at love and led 3-1. Fortunately for Kuharszky Wire had cooled off considerably on his serve from the first set and only needed one break to get back on serve. That break came in the eighth game, with Wire leading 4-3.

Three unforced errors gave Kuharszky triple break point at 0-40. Wire won the next two points to make it 30-40 but gave Kuharszky the game when he hit a forehand beyond the baseline. The two then held serve in the next four games, forcing another tiebreak. Opening the tiebreak on his serve, Kuharszky looked like he had a backhand volley for a winner but netted it, giving Wire a 1-0 lead. Two holds gave Wire a 3-0 lead.

Even though he held serve the rest of the tiebreak, Kuharszky could get no closer than 3-2 or 5-4, and Wire finally prevailed 7-4 when Kuharszky netted a forehand.

With the regionals in the books, the Huskies return to the courts when they travel to Santa Clara to play in the Bronco Classic from Friday, October 26 to Sunday, October 28.

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