#24 UW 6, Oregon 1

Washington's 24th ranked men's tennis team completed its regular season on a triumphant note and celebrated Senior Day with a 6-1 win over the visiting Oregon Ducks on Saturday afternoon at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.

With the win, the Huskies finished 2-4 in the Pac-10 and 17-5 overall, while the Ducks dropped to 0-6 and 12-11.

The Huskies honored their lone senior, Derek Drabble, in a pre-match ceremony. Then he and Martin Kildahl proceeded to get their team off to a fast start, beating Nico Bjerke and Ric Mortera 8-2 at second doubles.

Drabble and Kildahl quickly went up 1-0 in the opening game, capitalizing on a pair of errors to break Bjerke's serve. After Kildahl held serve at love for 2-0, the Huskies broke Mortera's serve for 3-0, taking advantage of three unforced errors by the Ducks. Drabble held serve for a 4-0 lead before the Ducks finally got on the board at 1-4 when Bjerke held at love. Three more service holds made it 6-2 Washington, and the Huskies broke Oregon for the third time in the ninth game, punctuating the game when Drabble sliced a backhand return of a Bjerke serve into the deuce court alley for a winner. Kildahl then served out the match to give the Huskies the win.

In addition to the scoreboard, the Huskies dominated the match statistically, winning 20 of 24 points on their own serve and 39 of 53 overall. They also struck 24 winners, including service, versus nine unforced errors.

The Huskies went on to win the doubles point and take a 1-0 lead in the team match when Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Kyle McMorrow beat Alexander Cornelissens and Marcos Verdasco 8-3 in the top doubles match. Oregon denied the Huskies the doubles sweep when Aaron Clissold and Douglas Mayeda prevailed 7-6(3) over Tobi Obenaus and Alex Rosinski.

When play shifted to singles, the Huskies quickly went ahead 3-0. At second singles, McMorrow beat Verdasco 6-3, 6-2, and in the top match, Nedunchezhiyan dispatched Cornelissen in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.

Kildahl clinched the team victory and put Washington up 4-0 when he beat Mortera, 6-3, 7-5 in the third slot.

At that point many of the fans in the partisan Husky crowd shifted their attention to Drabble at fourth singles to see if he could write a perfect ending to his final home match, especially after winning in doubles. Unfortunately he came up on the short end of a 6-2, 7-6(3) score. Drabble fell behind a break and 0-1 against Bjerke in the opening game of the match and never saw as much as a break point against his opponent's serve, eventually dropping the set 6-2. The second set did not start much better than the first as, following a Drabble service winner for 15-0, Bjerke won the next four points to go up a break and 1-0.

Unlike the first set, however, Drabble finally got a break on Bjerke's serve, in the second game. A backhand return slice just dropped over the net for a winner for 0-15. Then a forehand winner made it 0-30 Drabble. After an errant forehand made it 15-30, Bjerke shanked a forehand well beyond the baseline to give Drabble two break chances at 15-40. Drabble gave those chances away with two unforced errors to even the game at deuce, but Bjerke came right back with two unforced errors of his own to give the Drabble a break and a 1-1 tie.

From that point the two players held serve to 6 all, forcing the set to a tiebreak. As in the first set, Drabble needed another break to even the match at a set apiece, and with the team match already decided, force a super-tiebreak. He did not, however, get another look at a break chance against Bjerke. Then in the tiebreak, Bjerke won the first four points to go up 4-0 but gave Drabble hope when he dumped first a forehand and a backhand into the net for 4-2. Bjerke won the next point for 5-2; Drabble came up with a big service winner down the center service line for 5-3; and Bjerke won the next two points to close out the set 7-6 (3).

Commenting on what Drabble has meant to the Husky program, head coach Matt Anger said, "As I look back, he's a quality person, quality guy, he's always trying 100 percent for us. Even today, he moved up a little bit more on the career doubles list, which is good, I think he's got more singles wins this year than any other year, so he's continued to improve, but I think, like me, he still has his eye on the postseason."

After the Bjerke win gave Oregon a point and made it 4-1, the Huskies went on to win the matches at the fifth and sixth positions, respectively. Obenaus beat Jose Iquierdo 6-3, 7-5 at five and Rosinski came back from losing the first set to beat Clissold 3-6, 6-1, 1-0 (5).

The Huskies will next return to the courts of Ojai, California for the individually based Pac-10 championships from April 22 to 25 and then expect to receive a berth for the NCAA tournament beginning on Friday, May 14.

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