No. 9 UCLA Downs No. 7 Stanford 4-2 In NCAA Round of 16
May 21, 2010
ATHENS, Ga.- Matt Brooklyn's three-set victory over Alex Clayton at the No. 3 spot sealed a 4-2 victory for No. 9 UCLA over No. 7 Stanford on Friday evening in the round of 16 at the NCAA Championships.
Stanford concludes its season at 20-6 overall and 5-1 in Pac-10 play. The Cardinal captured a share of the Pac-10 title for the first time since 2006, advanced to the round of 16 for the second straight year and registered back-to-back 20 win seasons for the first time since 2002-03.
UCLA (17-6, 4-2 Pac-10) advances to Sunday's quarterfinal round against No. 1 Virginia.
Despite losing the doubles point and experiencing a shift to the indoor courts midway through singles, Stanford managed to hang close and nearly complete the comeback.
For only the fourth time this year, Stanford was unable to capture the doubles point. The Cardinal's top team of Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher coasted to an 8-3 win at the No. 1 spot over UCLA's top duo of Amit Inbar and Nick Meister.
But UCLA bounced back to claim an 8-6 win at the No. 2 position.
That shifted the action over to No. 3, where UCLA's Alex Brigham and Holden Seguso squeaked past Matt Kandath and Denis Lin 9-8 (4) after the Bruin tandem had faced late-match deficits of 5-4, 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7.
Leading 1-0, UCLA took control early in the first sets of singles play and figured to be in good shape. But midway through those first sets, the outdoor courts were hit hard by rain and the decision was made to move the contest indoors, where singles matches from Nos. 1-4 would be played out first with Nos. 5 and 6 if necessary.
Amit Inbar locked up the first singles point, putting away Denis Lin 6-3, 6-2 at the No. 4 spot to give UCLA a 2-0 lead.
With the Cardinal trailing on the remaining courts, Bradley Klahn came through with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Nick Meister in a battle of nationally-ranked players at the No. 1 spot.
The Bruins countered with another victory to extend their lead to 3-1, as Holden Seguso defeated Richard Wire 6-3, 6-3 on court five.
Trailing 3-1, Stanford needed to collect wins at Nos. 2, 3 and 6.
Ryan Thacher grinded out a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-3 triumph at the No. 2 spot, bringing Stanford within 3-2. Thacher's three-setter bought some additional time for Greg Hirshman, who was furiously making a comeback at No. 6 after being down a set, and Alex Clayton, who had just won a tight second-set tiebreaker before being deadlocked in the third.
With Hirshman in control 3-0 midway through the third set, the crowd focused its attention to Clayton and Brooklyn on court three.
Tied at 2-2 and 3-3, Brooklyn rattled off three consecutive games to provide the clincher while negating Hirshman's momentum-swinging 3-1 lead on court six.
The last time Stanford lost the doubles point but won the match was Feb. 21, 2009 against California, when the Cardinal posted a 5-2 win ... Thacher is now 5-3 in three-set matches this year, tying Bradley Klahn (5-4) for the team lead in that category ... Stanford notched a 22-1 record at the No. 6 spot this year, mainly thanks to Greg Hirshman's 15-1 mark ... Bradley Klahn is now 35-8 overall, matching his win total from last season (35-9). Klahn will compete in the NCAA Singles Championship next week ... Head coach John Whitlinger is 93-52 in six seasons at the helm, having reached the NCAA Tournament five times ... Stanford defeated UCLA 4-3 in Los Angeles back on Apr. 3 in the team's only meeting this year. The squads were scheduled to compete on Feb. 26 at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium, but that match was cancelled due to rain ... Stanford's No. 1 team of Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher defeated UCLA's top duo of Amit Inbar and Nick Meister for the first time this year. Inbar and Meister had won the two previous meetings ... The Cardinal's No. 3 team of Matt Kandath and Denis Lin lost for just the third time since Mar. 23. The duo entered today's match 10-2 since that date ... The match got underway at 10 a.m. PT, one hour later than its originally scheduled start time.
No. 9 UCLA 4, No. 7 Stanford 2
1) No. 4 Klahn/Thacher (STAN) d. No. 16 Inbar/Meister (UCLA) 8-3
2) Abid/Brooklyn (UCLA) d. No. 51 Clayton/Wire (STAN) 8-6
3) Brigham/Seguso (UCLA) d. Matt Kandath/Lin (STAN) 9-8 (4)
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1) No. 13 Bradley Klahn (STAN) d. No. 71 Nick Meister (UCLA) 6-4, 6-2
2) No. 84 Ryan Thacher (STAN) d. No. 51 Haythem Abid (UCLA) 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-3
3) No. 58 Matt Brooklyn (UCLA) d. No. 62 Alex Clayton (STAN) 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3
4) No. 117 Amit Inbar (UCLA) d. Denis Lin (STAN) 6-3, 6-2
5) Holden Seguso (UCLA) d. Richard Wire (STAN) 6-3, 6-3
6) Greg Hirshman (STAN) led Maxime Tabatruong (UCLA) 5-7, 6-3, 3-1, susp.
Order of Finish: 4, 1, 5, 2, 3
THEY SAID IT:
Head coach John Whitlinger
Talking about having to face a conference foe again in the postseason:
'This was just another great Stanford-UCLA match. We've beaten them and had some luck at times, and they've been in the same situation. You always know going in that it will be a tough match, and today was another example. I'm extremely proud of our guys, but UCLA is a great team and they are healthy at the right time.'
Thoughts on the shift from outdoors to indoors midway through singles:
'I can't say enough about my team, and how we fought our way back into the match after the rain delay. After doubles, I told them `UCLA won the first half, so let's go win the second half'. It gave us sort of a timeout, which I thought helped a little. And I think that we almost won the second half, we just got down early in those matches.'
Junior Greg Hirshman
The No. 6 singles match was the last of the six to be played indoors. After losing the first set 7-5, Hirshman put himself in position to book a point for Stanford, winning eight games in a row at one point.
'I tried to maintain my focus and keep playing my game. He is an unbelievable player, but was making some errors that I was able to capitalize on. Just like I hit a streak and ran off those games, he is capable of snapping off eight or nine games in a row also. I just told myself to keep fighting and hanging in the match, knowing we were going to stay in it on the other courts.'