NCAA men's tennis championships: Pac-12 goes 4-0 in 1st round

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Pac-12 teams were a perfect 4-0 Friday in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships, with all four California schools taking care of business. Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC will all be in action in the second round on Saturday.

Stanford

Despite losing the doubles point, Stanford defeated Tennessee, 4-2, to nab its first NCAA tournament victory since 2012. After falling behind in the match, 1-0, Nolan Paige, who provided the clinching point in Pac-12 Championships semifinals over Cal (thus sending Stanford to its first Pac-12 tournament final), handled Andrew Dromsky in two sets to even the score. Robert Stineman followed at No. 5 singles with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Jess Jones, while David Hsu put Stanford up, 3-1, with a three-setter on at No. 4. Fourteenth-ranked Mikelis Libietis was able to close the gap for the Volunteers to 3-2 with a 6-4, 7-6 (6) triumph over Tom Fawcett, but Stanford’s David Wilczynski provided the closing point by taking down Jack Schipanski in three sets (6-3, 4-6, 6-4). It was Stanford’s second victory this year when losing the doubles point, the first one coming against Cal in February.

The Cardinal will play 10th-seeded Duke on the Blue Devils’ court in the second round Saturday at 10 a.m. PT. Duke swept South Carolina State, 5-0, in its first-round match.

California

Although the elements forced Cal’s opening-round contest indoors, there was no raining on the Golden Bears’ 4-0 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in Austin despite two delays. Cal won the doubles point and started up singles play with the Islanders before the rain hit. Once heading indoors, head coach Peter Wright’s fellas got right back to work and swept the Islanders out of the postseason.

The teams of Andre Goransson/Oskar Wikberg and Filip Bergevi/Mads Engsted won hard-fought sets (8-6 and 8-5, respectively) to take the doubles point, while Gregory Bayane (6-2, 6-0), Goransson (6-3, 6-2) and Billy Griffith (6-2, 6-1) relatively cruised en route to the three singles points necessary to advance.  The Golden Bears will take on ninth-seeded Texas on their home courts Saturday at 11 a.m. PT. The Longhorns defeated the Golden Bears in the round of 16 last season. While we have the space, might as well shout out Bayane for his academic achievement recognized earlier this week:  

UCLA

Sixteenth-seeded UCLA handled Florida Gulf Coast, 4-0, to book itself a second-round date with Texas Tech Saturday at 3 p.m. PT. The Bruins easily took the doubles point via 8-2 and 8-3 victories from Mackenzie McDonald/Martin Redlicki (No. 12 doubles team in the country) and Dennis Mrktchian/Austin Rapp, respectively. Then the Bruins got singles victories from Joseph Di Giulio (6-1, 6-1 over Michael Beiler on No. 6), Karue Sell (6-1, 6-2 over Tianyu Bao on No. 4) and Mkrtchian, the No. 36-ranked singles player in the nation; he defeated Andres Alfonzo, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 2 singles. It was a milestone victory for the senior co-captain Mkrtchian:

UCLA will now look to make it 2-0 against Texas Tech in 2015, having defeated the Red Raiders, 4-1, in January. Texas Tech eliminated UC Santa Barbara in the first round via a 4-2 result.

USC

Much like their Southern California brethren (though I’m sure there’s not a whole lot of brotherly love between UCLA and USC men’s tennis), the defending-champion Trojans swept their first-round opponent, knocking Idaho out of the NCAA tournament by a 4-0 count. Good omen? I think so – USC started its 2014 title run with a 4-0 victory over the Vandals in the first round.  Check out this great play at the net by the team of Nick Crystal and Thibault Forget to nab the doubles point:

And whaddaya say we watch Yannick Hanfmann’s winning point to clinch the 4-0 'W,' eh?

Jonny Wang and Rob Bellamy provided the other singles points for the Trojans, who continue their quest for back-to-back titles against San Diego State (4-3 conquerors of San Diego) in the second round at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Check back here Saturday for second-round results involving Pac-12 teams.

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