UCLA Falls to Vanderbilt, 4-3 in NCAA Semifinals

May 19, 2003

Athens, Ga. - Sixth-seeded UCLA's run at a national championship came to an end Monday, as the Bruins fell to No. 7 Vanderbilt, 4-3 in a six hour marathon match at the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships at Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The Bruins, which fall in the semifinals for the second year in a row, end their season with a 24-4 overall record. Vanderbilt (27-3) advances to Tuesday's final and will face the winner between No. 1 Illinois and No. 5 Stanford.

Vanderbilt picked up the doubles point with victories on court Nos. 1 and 3. The Bruins were able to win at No. 2 doubles, where Tobias Clemens and Lassi Ketola defeated Chad Harris/Matt Lockin, 8-3.

It looked like the Bruins were going to bounce back strong in singles play, as UCLA took the first set on five of six courts. Vanderbilt, however, moved out to a 2-0 lead when No. 1-ranked Bobby Reynolds posted a straight set win over fifth-ranked Clemens, 6-3, 6-4.

Next to finish was court No. 5, where UCLA's Erfan Djahangiri defeated Vanderbilt's Zach Dailey, 6-4, 6-3 to make the score 2-1. Moments later Ketola tied the score at 2-2 following his 6-1, 6-2 decision over Commodore junior Lewis Smith at No. 6 singles.

UCLA then took a 3-2 lead in the dual match when Bruin senior Rodrigo Grilli registered a 6-4, 7-5 win over Lockin at No. 3 singles.

With two matches remaining, a brief rain delay ensued. At that time, Bruin junior Marcin Matkowski had won the first set and was down 3-2 in the second at the No. 2 position. UCLA's Chris Lam had split sets and was down 2-1 in the third set of his match on court No. 4.

When play resumed, Lam got down early and ended up falling to Vanderbilt's Scott Brown, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2. With the dual match now tied at 3-3, all attention focused on court No. 2 where Matkowski and Vanderbilt's Chad Harris were deep into the second set of their match.

With a 7-5, 5-4 advantage, Matkowski was broken by Harris and ended up losing the set in a tiebreaker, 7-2. Down 5-4, Harris had actually fought off two match points on Matkowski's serve.

In the third set, Harris went up two breaks for a 4-1 lead before rain halted play once again. When play resumed about 45 minutes later, Matkowski broke Harris and held serve to make it 4-3. Each player then held serve for the next three games, as Harris was able to serve it out for a 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4 clinching victory.

'Sure I'm disappointed,' said UCLA head coach Billy Martin. 'I still think we played a great match. It just didn't seem to go our way. (Vanderbilt) is a very good team. You have to give them credit. They fought hard and were competitive.'

Doubles

Opponents Score 8-4 8-3 Dailey/Smith (VU) def. Djahangiri/ Alberto Francis (UCLA) 8-4
Pos.
1. Brown/Reynolds (VU) def. (24) Grilli/Matkowski(UCLA)
2. (51) Clemens/Ketola (UCLA) def. Harris/Lockin (VU)
3.
Vanderbilt WinsDoubles Point

Singles

Opponents Score 6-3, 6-4 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4* 6-4, 7-5 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2 6-4, 6-3 6-1, 6-2
Pos.
1. (1) Bobby Reynolds (VU) def. (5) Tobias Clemens(UCLA)
2. (16) Chad Harris (VU) def. (24) Marcin Matkowski(UCLA)
3. (98) Rodrigo Grilli (UCLA) def. (66) Matt Lockin(VU)
4. Scott Brown (VU) def. (37) Chris Lam (UCLA)
5. (88) Erfan Djahangiri (UCLA) def. Zach Dailey (VU)
6. Lassi Ketola (UCLA) def. Lewis Smith (VU)
* Denotes Clinching Match -- Order of Finish (Singles): 1, 5,6, 3, 4, 2
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