#49 UW 4, #12 Arizona St. 3

SEATTLE - In a dual match marking the final home appearances for seniors Tara Simpson and Allison Rainey, freshman Venise Chan made sure they could celebrate Senior Day with a victory, outlasting Nadia Abdala in a third set tiebreak to give the 49th ranked Huskies a thrilling 4-3 upset over 12th ranked Arizona State at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on Saturday afternoon.

With the win the Huskies improved to 2-5 in the Pac-10 and 12-8 overall while the Sun Devils dropped to 4-2 and 13-5.

Both teams had won three of seven total points with the all important fourth point still up for grabs, and it came down the top singles match between Chan and Abdala. It did not look good for the Huskies when Abdala won the first set 7-5, but Chan came back to win the second 6-3, getting a service break to go up 5-3 and then serving out the st.

In the third set, after splitting the first two games Chan broke Abdala to go up 2-1 and held serve for 3-1, but Abdala came back with a hold and a break of her own to tie the set at 3 all. The seesaw set continued when Chan won the next two games to regain the lead at 5-3, but Abdala rallied to win the next three games and take a 6-5 lead.

A key in Abdala's rally came when she saved four match points on her serve in the ninth game, including two at 15-40, and eventually held. She broke Chan for 5 all and held for 6-5, forcing Chan to serve to keep the Huskies' upset hopes alive. Chan looked like she would hold easily for 6-6 when when had two game points at 40-15, but an errant drop shot, a forehand winner by Abdala and another unforced error gave Abdala a match point. Chan saved it with a terrific backhand crosscourt passing shot, and after an unforced error by Abdala gave Chan a second game point she converted it with a backhand winner into the deuce court.

So with the score all tied at 6 all the two would ultimately decide the team match in a tiebreak.

Abdala won the first point on an errant forehand into the net by Chan, but Chan went up 2-1 with a service winner and an error by Abdala. Abdala regained the lead at 3-2 with a pair of winners, but then gave Chan a 3-3 tie when she netted a backhand. An inside out forehand crosscourt winner on Chan's serve gave Abdala a 4-3 lead, but Chan came up with a pair of incredible winners to go back up 5-4.

On the first one a crosscourt forehand looked like it would go into the net but somehow went over for 4 all. Then on the second one Chan came up with a running forehand passing shot when it looked like Abdala would win with a shot into the deuce court corner. A nifty backhand stab volley winner by Abdala made it 5 all, but a pair of unforced errors finally ended the match and gave the Huskies their first win over a top 25 opponent in three years. After a backhand by Abdala on the final point landed beyond the baseline a jubilant bunch of Huskies mobbed Chan.

The celebration would not have occurred had Joyce Ardies not won another three setter at fourth singles against Micaela Hein. Ardies won the first set easily 6-2 but lost a hard fought second set 5-7. In the third set Ardies and Hein held serve to 2 all. Ardies held in the fifth game for a 3-2 edge, and then got a crucial break to go up 4-2. Another hold made it 5-2 and forced Hein to serve to stay in the match. Hein put up quite a fight to stave off defeat, saving three match points and battling Ardies through 18 points before finally going down when Ardies came up with a winning forehand half volley. The win by Ardies tied the match at 3 points apiece.

Simpson earned the first point for the Huskies in her final home match, beating Laila Abdala 6-3, 6-1 at three. In the first set Simpson broke serve in the fifth game to go up 3-2 and again in the ninth game to close out the set. Then in the second set, after the two both held serve for 1 all, Simpson won five straight games, finishing off Abdala with a forehand approach winner into the deuce court. It was a very popular victory among the Husky partisans as they gave Simpson a standing ovation after the match.

Despite the Sun Devils earning the doubles point with wins in two of three matches, Simpson also won her final home doubles match, teaming with Ardies to defeat the 28th ranked sister pair of Laila and Nadia Abdala 8-6 at the number one position. Neither pair broke serve until the 11th game, when, after four deuces and 14 points, the Huskies took a 6-5 lead on a unforced error by Laila Abdala. Simpson held for 7-5, and the Huskies would only need Ardies to hold her next service game and they would win. That they did, at love, with the winning point coming on an errant forehand volley into the net by Laila.

The Sun Devils won the doubles with a pair of 8-3 victories. First Lauren Megale and Wendy Pilecka beat Aleksandra Malovic and Melinda Wong at three. Then Kelcy MecKenna and Micaela Hein beat Chan and Kelsey Anonsen at two.

After Simpson's singles win, the Sun Devils went up 2-1 when Ashlee Brown beat Aleksandra Krsljanin 6-2, 6-2 at six. Anonsen came back with a 7-5, 6-0 win at five to get the Huskies even at two points all. McKenna put Arizona State up 3-2 with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 defeat of Malovic at two.

The Huskies will have a week off before finishing the regular season in Pullman with a match at noon against arch-rival Washington State on Saturday, April 19.


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