Bruins Head to Athens for NCAA Championships
May 12, 2003
Bruin to Play Oklahoma State in NCAA Round of 16 . . .
Sixth-seeded UCLA won two matches in NCAA Regional play this past weekend to earn a spot in the 16-team NCAA Championships, May 17-20 in Athens, Ga. The Bruins will meet Oklahoma State (18-4) this Saturday at 9:00 a.m. (EST). The Cowboys upset 11th-seeded Minnesota in the second round. If the seeds hold out, the Bruins are looking at a potential rematch with No. 3 Florida in the quarterfinals. The Gators upset then-No. 1 UCLA, 4-1 at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors earlier this season in Louisville, Ky.
Three Bruins Selected for NCAA Singles Championships, May 21-26 . . .
Tobias Clemens, Marcin Matkowski and Chris Lam all received bids to compete in the NCAA Singles Championships, May 21-26 in Athens, Ga. Clemens is the only seeded Bruin, checking in at No. 5. The Bruins' top doubles team of Rodrigo Grilli/Matkowski, ranked No. 24 in the country, did not receive a spot in the NCAA Doubles draw. The individual championships begin a day after the team competition is concluded.
Bruins Post Two Shutouts in NCAA First & Second Round Action . . .
Sixth-seeded UCLA defeated Wichita State and No. 21 USC over the weekend to advance to the round of 16. On Saturday, the Bruins posted a 4-0 decision over Wichita State in the first round. UCLA won the doubles point and received singles victories from Tobias Clemens, Rodrigo Grilli and Erfan Djahangiri. Against the Trojans on Sunday, UCLA again captured the doubles point and received wins from Clemens, Djahangiri and Chris Lam. It marked the third time this season that UCLA defeated USC.
Clemens, Matkowski Named Pac-10 Co-Players of the Year . . .
Tobias Clemens and Marcin Matkowski were selected co-players of the year by the Pacific-10 Conference on May 6. They become the first UCLA players to win the award since Justin Gimelstob achieved the feat back in 1996. Clemens, a junior from Bonn, Germany, is currently ranked No. 5 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's singles rankings. He finished the regular season with a 30-4 overall singles record, playing all of his matches at the No. 1 position, going 18-2. Matkowski, a junior from Szczecin, Poland, currently occupies the No. 24 spot in the ITA singles rankings. He is coming off one of the most successful showings of his career, capturing the singles title at the Pac-10 Championships two weeks ago in Ojai, Calif. He did not drop a set in all five of his matches at the Pac-10s, eventually defeating Washington's Alex Vlaski, 6-4, 6-2 in the final. Matkowski owns a 23-3 overall singles record and is 14-2 in dual-match play, seeing most of his action at the No. 2 spot.
Matkowski Wins Pac-10 Singles Title . . .
Top-seeded Marcin Matkowski became the second UCLA player in as many years to win the singles title at the Pac-10 Championships on Apr. 27, posting a 6-4, 6-2 decision over Washington's Alex Vlaski in the main draw finals at Ojai's Libbey Park. With the victory, Matkowski, who is currently on a 12-match winning streak, improves his overall record this year to 23-3. UCLA's Rodrigo Grilli, who reached the quarterfinals this year, claimed the Pac-10 singles title over Vlaski in 2002. In the finals of the Pac-10 Invitational draw, UCLA's Alberto Francis made quick work of Cal's Wayne Wong, winning 6-1, 6-3 Sunday. Francis was also a finalist in 2002.
Final Regular-Season Rankings Put UCLA No. 5 . . .
In the last computer ranking before the end of the year, UCLA checked in at No. 5 in the country, falling one spot from the previous week. The top two remained the same, with Illinois holding on to the No. 1 position and Florida remaining at No. 2. Baylor and Stanford are Nos. 3 and 4 respectively.
ITA Top-25 (4/28)1. Illinois2. Florida3. Baylor4. Stanford5. UCLA6. Vanderbilt7. Cal8. Mississippi9. Duke10. Texas A&M11. Minnesota12. Washington13. Kentucky14. Texas15. Tulane16. Alabama17. VCU18. South Carolina19. LSU20. Georgia21. USC22. Ohio State23. Auburn24. TCU25. Oklahoma St.
Five Bruins Listed in ITA Individual Rankings . . .
Fifth-ranked Tobias Clemens leads the way as a total of five Bruin players are ranked in singles according to the latest ITA individual rankings released on April 9. Following Clemens are Marcin Matkowski (#24), Chris Lam (#37), Erfan Djahangiri (#88) and Rodrigo Grilli (#98). The Bruins also have two teams ranked in doubles, as Grilli/Matkowski check in at No. 24 and Clemens/Lassi Ketola are at No. 51. Individual rankings will not be released again until the end of the year.
Streaks . . .
With his impressive run at Ojai two weeks ago, Marcin Matkowski pushed his winning streak to 12 in a row and has not lost a singles match since Feb. 22. Similarly, junior Tobias Clemens has not lost a singles match since Mar. 5, and has won 12 in a row, including 18 of his last 19. Bruin senior Erfan Djahangiri had a 12-match winning streak from Jan. 24-Mar. 28.
Bruins Keep Top Local Talent at Home . . .
Three freshman on this year's team were all local standouts at local Southern California high schools. Chris Surapol, Aaron Yovan and Travis Kinard all elected to stay home and play for the Bruins. Surapol captured the CIF singles title in 2002, posting a career dual-match record in high school of 70-0. He reached the semifinals of the Pac-10 Invitational draw in Ojai two weeks ago. Yovan, a high school All-American in 2002, was one of the top juniors in the nation, achieving a top-10 national ranking in the 16s division. He has posted a 10-8 overall record this season. Kinard was the top player at powerhouse San Marino High School, finishing his career with a 110-4 overall record. He was ranked No. 7 in the Southern California Men's Open division as a 17-year old, and is 7-5 this season.
Head Coach Billy Martin . . .
The 1996 ITA National Coach of the Year and UCLA's 1975 NCAA singles champion, Billy Martin, owns a 228-43 (.841) record in his 10th season as head coach at UCLA. He has led the Bruins into the NCAA Tournament in each of his 10 seasons, guiding the team to six top-4 finishes, including trips to the finals in 1996 and '99. UCLA has also won four Pac-10 titles during his tenure. Inducted into the ITA Tennis Hall of Fame in 1996, Martin's playing career is full of highlights. To this very day he is still regarded as one of the best junior players in the history of the sport. He captured the 1973 and '74 singles titles at the Junior Wimbledon, Junior U.S. Open and Junior Orange Bowl tournaments. Just this past year, Inside Tennis Magazine ran an article that named him 'Junior Player of the Century.'
Season Highlights . . .
Marcin Matkowski was unavailable to join his teammates in the Bay Area on April 4 due to commitments with Poland's Davis Cup Team. Matkowski was in South Africa taking part in a tie between Poland and South Africa. Poland fell 3-2, with Matkowski taking part in the doubles match ...Playing in front of a large, vocal crowd and a regional TV audience, UCLA turned in one of its most impressive performances of the season on Mar. 7, shutting out defending NCAA Champion USC, 7-0 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. With the victory, UCLA completed its sweep over USC, having already defeated the Trojans, 6-1 back on Jan. 31 ... UCLA posted a 2-1 record at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors in Louisville, Ky., Feb. 20-22. The top-seeded Bruins started the tournament with a 4-0 victory over San Diego State, advancing to defeat No. 8 Duke, 4-1 in the next day's quarterfinals. However, UCLA fell to No. 6 Florida, 4-1 in the semifinals ... For the second time in as many years, Tobias Clemens claimed the singles title at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup. Clemens, the tournament's No. 1 seed, defeated teammate Marcin Matkowski, 6-2, 6-1 in the final on Jan. 20. In 2002, Clemens registered a three-set victory over San Diego State's Oliver Maiberger ... Sophomore transfer Chris Lam captured the singles title at the Southern California Intercollegiates held at the Los Angeles Tennis Club on Nov. 10. Lam defeated USC's Johan Berg, 6-4, 6-3 in the final ...In a match featuring UCLA teammates, No. 6 seed Erfan Djahangiri outlasted No. 5 seed Chris Lam by scores of 6-3, 6-4 on Oct. 27 to win the singles title at the Omni Hotels Region VIII-South Championships hosted by Pepperdine at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center. With the victory, Djahangiri qualified for the Omni Hotels Nationals, held Nov. 7-10 in Dallas, TX ...Bruin freshman Chris Surapol took home the consolation singles title at the Omni Hotels Regionals ...UCLA men's tennis coach Billy Martin announced the signing of local tennis standout Robert Yim (Glendale, Calif.) to a national letter of intent on Nov. 18. Yim is the No. 1-ranked player in the United States Tennis Association Boys' 18s singles rankings. UCLA will also have the services of Austrian Luben Pampoulov next season, as he is already enrolled for the spring quarter.