No. 5 UCLA Faces No. 4 USC This Thursday
March 5, 2002
(5)UCLA vs. (4) USC
Thursday, March 7 - 1:30 p.m.
Marks Tennis Stadium (USC)
This Week . . .
After splitting both matches earlier in the year, No. 5 UCLA and No. 4 USC will do battle again this Thursday, Mar. 7, as both teams are set to clash at the Marks Tennis Stadium on the campus of USC. The Bruins defeated the Trojans, 7-0 back on Feb. 1 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. USC avenged that loss a week later, knocking off UCLA, 4-1 at the National Team Indoors on Feb. 7. The Bruins lead the all-time series 55-30.
UCLA vs. USC Match to be Televised by Fox Sports Net2. . .
Thursday's match will be televised on a tape-delayed basis by Fox Sports Net2. The match will air three times, beginning on Mar. 12 at 1:00 pm. The other two times are Mar. 17 at 11:00 a.m. and Mar. 20 at 8:00 p.m. Leif Shiras and Tom Kelly will be calling the action.
Bruins Riding Six-Match Winning Streak . . .
Since UCLA's loss to USC back on Feb. 7, the Bruins have won six in a row, including two wins over top-10 opponents. UCLA defeated then-No. 9 Duke, 4-1 on Feb. 8 and current-No. 9 Pepperdine, 5-2 just last Wednesday.
Pac-10 Season Starts Thursday . . .
Though the Bruins have already played both the Arizona schools and USC, those matches do not count in the Pac-10 standings. The Pac-10 Conference has designated the second meeting between two conference teams as the counting match. Since UCLA's second meeting with USC this year was at the National Team Indoors, that did not count either. Thursday's match is the Pac-10 opener for both teams.
Clemens Fills Top Spot . . .
After using four different players in the No. 1 position to start the year, head coach Billy Martin has finally settled on sophomore Tobias Clemens. Not only is Clemens UCLA's highest ranked singles player at No. 9 in the nation, but he also owns one of the best records on the team at 24-4. He is an impressive 7-1 at the top spot, with his only loss coming to Steven Capriati of Arizona on Feb. 23. Clemens owned an 18-match winning streak from Nov. 8 to Feb. 22. He is also 3-0 this year against USC's No. 1 player Andrew Park.
Grilli Makes Immediate Impact . . .
Bruin junior Rodrigo Grilli, just one year removed from playing junior college tennis, is tearing up opponents at the Division-I level. Grilli, who is a two-time California Community College doubles champion and California state singles champion in 2001, is ranked No. 25 in the nation with a 17-1 overall record. In just his first tournament as a Bruin back in January, he ran off five straight victories to win the singles title at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Las Vegas.
Joining the 20-Win Club . . .
At 24-4, Bruin sophomore Tobias Clemens is the only Bruin to reach the 20-win plateau this season. With victories this Thursday however, two other Bruins will join him, as Marcin Matkowski and Lassi Ketola both have 19 victories to date. With an 18-9 overall record Jean-Julien Rojer is not far behind.
Matkowski/Rojer Headline ITA Rankings . . .
Led by No. 1 ranked Marcin Matkowski and Jean-Julien Rojer, the UCLA men's tennis team had several players ranked in the ITA individual rankings released on Feb. 22. In addition to Matkowski and Rojer, Tobias Clemens and Lassi Ketola check in at No. 29. In singles, Clemens is UCLA's highest ranked Bruin at No. 9, followed by Matkowski at No. 19. Rounding out the rankings are No. 25 Rodrigo Grilli, No. 50 Rojer and No. 78 Lassi Ketola. The next individual rankings will be released this Wednesday (3/6).
ITA Rankings (2/27)1.Illinois2. Georgia3. Stanford4. USC5. UCLA6. Mississippi7. Notre Dame8. BaylorT9. KentuckyT9. Pepperdine11. California12. Tennessee13. Mississippi St.14. Texas15. LSU16. Washington17. Ohio State18. Auburn19. Duke20. Indiana21. Middle Tennessee22. Alabama23. Arkansas24. Texas A&M25. Minnesota
Bruins Stay at No. 5 . . .
UCLA has been ranked No. 5 in the country for the last three weeks, however the Bruins could move up a spot with No. 1 Illinois' loss to No. 19 Duke last week. The Bruins started the season at No. 3, however fell two spots after their loss to USC back on Feb. 7. New team rankings will be released this Wednesday.
Francis Contributes in Doubles . . .
After sitting out the entire fall with an injury, freshman Alberto Francis has become a consistent starter in the lineup, teaming with Rodrigo Grilli to form UCLA's No. 3 doubles team. Francis, who took a year off following high school to test the pro tour, was top-10 in the U.S. Boys' 18s singles and doubles rankings and is a former member of Team USA. In 1998, he teamed with Tres Davis (formerly of Texas A&M) to claim the Boys' 16s title at the Nationals in Kalamazoo, Mich.