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Wildcats sweep NAU to start spring season

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA sophomore Daniel Andrus attempts a return yesterday afternoon during the Wildcats' home sweep of Northern Arizona. Arizona opened its home slate led by the singles play of senior Tom Lloyd and doubles tandem of Andrus and junior Paul Warkentin.
By Roman Veitsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
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The UA men's tennis team started off its season with a clean sweep of Northern Arizona yesterday, winning every match to complete the 7-0 victory.

In the No. 1 doubles match, sophomore Daniel Andrus and junior Paul Warkentin defeated the team of Thibault Schram and Lew DeLeon 8-5, while senior Tom Lloyd defeated Schram 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-2 in the No. 1 singles match.

UA head coach Bill Wright said he was pleased with the performance.

"The first match is always very tough," he said. "The guys played very well today."

Arizona came into the match with the same No. 37 ranking it ended with last season. The Wildcats improved their record against NAU to 18-1 in the all-time series.

Arizona will play 19 ranked opponents in its 22 matches this year, so opening 2004 with a win was important for the coaching staff.

The non-conference schedule will prepare his team well, Wright said.

"We have three seniors, two juniors that have played a lot, and five sophomore. So everyone has played, and that's a very big thing," he said. "If we get everybody healthy, we should be better."

Andrus and Warkentin battled in their doubles match, winning their first two games, in which they served without giving up a point. Neither man broke serve until the fifth game.

MELISSA HALTERMAN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona senior Tom Lloyd hits a return during the Wildcats 7-0 sweep of Northern Arizona at home yesterday afternoon. Lloyd won his individual match - 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-2 - to set the tone.

After NAU broke their serve in game six, and held in the seventh game, Andrus and Warkentin came back to win four of the last five games, including a comeback from 40-love in the 12th game, when they put the Lumberjacks away for good.

Lloyd, ranked 84th in the country, struggled in the first set, but still managed to carry the set into the tiebreak. After making a few slight adjustments, Lloyd dominated the second set, winning 6-0.

"I just tried to keep my mind and my energy focused on keeping the balls in the court and make the guy play, and hopefully try to outplay me," Lloyd said. "I made him play more shots per point, and he just fell apart."

Lloyd finished off Schram in the third set, winning 6-2 to push his record to 8-3 after concluding the fall season at 7-3 with two wins over ranked opponents.

"I wanted to make sure I'm not beating myself," Lloyd said. "If he's going to beat me, make sure he's the one hitting the good shots, and me not missing. I tried to get a lot of balls in play and make him play out the points."

Arizona will go on the road to face No. 24 Rice on Jan. 30. The Wildcats could regain the services of senior Whi Kim in the matchup.

Kim has been sidelined with tennis elbow and is currently rehabbing, but hopes to be back in about two weeks.

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