UW 7, Oregon 0

SEATTLE - Andy Kuharszky capped a stellar career with a victory in his final home match as 32nd ranked Washington swept the Oregon Ducks 7-0 at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on Saturday afternoon.

A capacity crowd saw the Huskies snap a three match losing streak and complete the regular season with a 14-9 record and 2-5 mark in the Pac-10. The Ducks finished 11-14 and 0-7.

Despite the Ducks' record, Husky head coach Matt Anger said, "Oregon played a lot better the second half of the season, and if they had played that way all season they would be ranked, so to get each point down the line really shows something. We've had some tough losses lately but only one loss to a team outside the top 25 and we're still in the game, ready to make a run at the NCAAs."

Although the Huskies got the sweep, it looked like the Ducks would spoil Senior Day for Kuharszky, as Geoff Embry and Romeo Mortera beat him and Derek Drabble 8-6 at second doubles. His match against Alex Cornelissen at third singles did not start out well either as he dropped the first set 6-4. The key to the first set was when Cornelissen broke Kuharszky's serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Kuharszky himself did not get a chance to break serve in the set. In fact, the closest he came to a break chance was in the second game when a double fault and a winning backhand volley gave him a 0-30 advantage, but Cornelissen won the next four points to hold serve.

Not much separated the two in the second set. Both players held serve to a 4-4 tie. Kuharszky began to fare a little better against Cornelissen's serve, particularly in the eighth game. Remarkably, prior to the eighth game, no game in the match had gone to deuce. Kuharszky took Cornelissen to three deuces, but each time, Cornelissen got a game point and finally converted the third with a forehand crosscourt approach winner to make it 4 all.

In the next game Kuharszky held serve to go up and 5-4, and then won the set 6-4 when he finally broke serve. He had three set points at 0-40 and converted the first one when Cornelissen hit an errant forehand beyond the baseline.

Once the match went to the third set it was all Kuharszky. He held serve three times while breaking twice to take a 5-0 lead, and at that point, with the outcome of the match no longer in doubt, the only question was if Kuharszky could get the third set 6-0 bagel. He got to 30 all at Cornelissen's serve in the sixth game but a terrific backhand stab volley and a mis-hit forehand error got the Duck on the board at 1-5. Kuharszky then looked like he would have to wait a game or two longer for victory when he fell behind 0-30 on his serve in the seventh game, but he came back to win the next four points and the match. On match point he came up with a winning backhand volley off a terrific serve to Cornelissen's backhand. He raised his arms in triumph, while an appreciative crowd gave him a standing ovation.

The win gave Kuharszky 86 career singles victories and moved him into a tie with Eric Drew (1996-1999) for sixth on the all-time Husky singles victory list.

Of Kuharszky, Anger said, "Andy had defeated the Oregon player a couple times but I'm not surprised the gave him a tough match. Andy probably had other things on his mind, and Cornelissen came out inspired. But I'm very happy he fought back and got the win in front of the fans."

Moments after Kuharszky gave the Huskies a 5-0 lead in the team match, David Chu made it 6-0 with a 6-3, 7-6(1) triumph over Mortera at fifth singles. Patrik Fischer completed the Husky sweep with a three set, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 win over Marcos Verdasco at #1.

Earlier the Huskies won a closely contested doubles point with wins at #1 and #3. The top duo of Fischer and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan beat Verdasco and Cornelissen 8-3. After Oregon prevailed at #2, Martin Kildahl and Tobi Obenaus clinched the point for the Huskies with an 8-6 win over Francisco Gallardo and Stephen Wiechert at #3.

In singles, Kildahl made it 2-0 Huskies with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Mike Myrhed at 6. Nedunchezhiyan made it 3-0 with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Gallardo at 2. Drabble clinched the match and earned the all-important fourth point with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Embry at 4.

The Huskies next travel to Ojai, California for the Pac-10 championships, which determine the singles and doubles champions, from Thursday, April 24 through Sunday, April 27. Then on Tuesday, April 29, they find out their destination for the 64 team NCAA tournament, which begins at campus sites the weekend of May 10-11.


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