UCLA Battles Back to Win Season Opener over Pepperdine

Jan. 29, 2008

LOS ANGELES - The ninth-ranked UCLA men's tennis team lost the doubles point but came back strong in singles play, as the Bruins rebounded for an eventual 5-2 victory over No. 16 Pepperdine in the season opener for both teams on Tuesday at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

UCLA senior Harel Srugo, a transfer from Old Dominion who was playing in his first dual match for the Bruins, picked up the clinching victory at the No. 1 position, as he upset the higher ranked Andre Begemann, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to seal the match for UCLA. Begemann came into the match ranked No. 22 in the latest ITA Singles Rankings.

'I can't say I was super optimistic,' said UCLA head coach Billy Martin. 'We didn't have (Haythem) Abid and Harel hasn't played a match in almost two months due to injury. He led us. It's important that your No. 1 guy is a leader and he really stepped up for us tonight.'

The Bruins, who lost matches at the top two doubles positions to surrender the doubles point, quickly turned things around in singles play. Although Srugo got most of the attention for his match-clinching victory, senior Jeremy Drean might have turned in the best performance back at court No. 5, as he evened the match with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Mahmoud Kamel. Drean hit several came up with several big winners in the final set, including a running forehand pass on match point.

UCLA's stellar freshmen then gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead, as Holden Seguso and Nick Meister both picked up big wins in their dual-match debuts. Seguso upset No. 73 James Lemke, 7-5, 6-1 at court No. 3, while Meister was a 6-2, 7-6(4) winner over Brian Brogan at court No. 6.

Pepperdine would cut the score to 3-2, as No. 66 Omar Altmann battled back to take an 0-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Michael Look at court No. 4. It was at that point that Srugo was serving out the match over Begemann at court No. 1. Although Begemann fought off four match points in the last two games, Srugo kept his composure to eventually clinch the win for UCLA.

Although UCLA had already clinched the match, senior Mathieu Dehaine picked up a huge win at court No. 2, upsetting No. 13 Bassam Beidas, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.

UCLA continues action this weekend, traveling to the Bay Area for matches against Stanford on Friday and Cal on Saturday.

Doubles

Opponents Score 8-5 8-4 Drean/Look (UCLA) def. Johannes de Villers/Kamel (Pepp) 8-7(3)
Pos.
1. Altmann/Begemann (Pepp) def. Meister/Srugo (UCLA)
2. Beidas/Lemke (Pepp) def. Dehaine/Seguso (UCLA)
3.
Pepperdine Wins Doubles Point

Singles

Opponents Score 6-3, 4-6, 6-4* 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 7-5, 6-1 0-6, 6-4, 7-5 7-5, 6-1 6-2, 7-6(4)
Pos.
1. Harel Srugo (UCLA) def. (22) Andre Begemann (Pepp)
2. Mathieu Dehaine (UCLA) def. (13) Bassam Beidas (Pepp)
3. Holden Seguso (UCLA) def. (73) James Lemke (Pepp)
4. (66) Omar Altmann (Pepp) def. Michael Look (UCLA)
5. Jeremy Drean (UCLA) def. Mahmoud Kamel (Pepp)
6. Nick Meister (UCLA) def. Brian Brogan (Pepp)
* Denotes Clinching Match -- Order of Finish: 5, 3, 6, 4, 1, 2
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