April 13, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara opened one of its most important weekends of the season Friday afternoon with a tightly fought non-conference match against 56th-ranked Denver on the Recreation Center Courts. The Gauchos, who were saving junior Jack Hui for key Big West matches on Saturday and Sunday, lost a tough 4-3 decision to the Pioneers.
Denver took a 1-0 lead with victories in two of the three doubles matches. UCSB's No. 3 tandem of Josh Finkelstein and Nigel Barton posted a win at No. 3, but the No. 1 and No. 2 duos dropped their matches.
Freshman Philip Therp, who continues to play right-handed with his left wrist braced, defeated the Pioneers' Timo Keinle at No. 3. Therp won the first set 6-1 and then Keinle retired in the second, tying the score at 1-1. Denver pulled ahead 3-1 with wins at No. 1 and No. 5 singles, but sophomore Grant Robertson scored a solid 6-2, 6-2 victory over Rav Dhatt at No. 6 singles.
The final two singles matches of the afternoon were as tight as the match overall. At No. 4, the Pioneers' Nik Persson edged Finkelstein 7-5, 7-5 and at No. 2, UCSB's Anders Dalskov edged Nijc Smole, 7-6, 6-7(10-8).
"The Gauchos played some great tennis today," said head coach Marty Davis. "We were right in the match from beginning to end. The doubles were very close and the singles were exciting."
Hui, who recently returned a wrist injury, was held out of the non-conference match. Santa Barbara will host UC Irvine on Saturday and UC Riverside on Sunday in a pair of important Big West matches and Hui is expected to play in those. Wins in each would assure the Gauchos of at least a tie for the league's regular season crown and possibly a top-seed in the league tournament. Today's loss drops the Gauchos record to 3-16 overall.
The matches against UCI and UCR will begin at 1:00 p.m. on the Recreation Center Courts. Fans will also be welcome to enjoy free pizza and hamburgers, from The Habit, during each of the matches.
UCSB 3 - Denver(#56) 4
Singles #1 Adam Holmstrom (#21) def. Bijan Hejazi UCSB 6-0, 6-4 #2 Anders Dalskov UCSB def. Nejc Smole 7-6,6-7 (10-8) #3 Philip Therp UCSB def. Timo Keinle 6-1, ret. #4 Nik Persson D def. Josh Finkelstein UCSB 7-5,7-5 #5 Kalle Rosen D def. Nigel Barton UCSB 6-2,6-0 #6 Grant Robertson UCSB def. Rav Dhatt 6-2,6-2 Doubles #1 Holmstrom/Persson D def. Hejazi/Therp UCSB 8-3 #2 Dhatt/Smole D def. Dalskov/Robertson UCSB 8-5 #3 Finkelstein/Barton UCSB def. Rosen/Keinle 8-4