Bruins Advance to Round of 16 With 4-2 Victory Over Cal
May 15, 2005
LOS ANGELES - The seventh-seeded UCLA men's tennis team (23-3) advanced to the round of 16 of the NCAA Championships Sunday, defeating Cal, 4-2 in an NCAA Second-Round showdown at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. Next up will be a meeting with 10th-seeded Tennessee (16-8) on Saturday, May 21 in College Station, TX. With the loss, Cal ends its season with a 12-10 overall record.
UCLA's 9-8(4) victory at the No. 2 doubles position clinched what turned out to be a hard fought battle for the doubles point. Although the Bruins cruised to an easy 8-3 win at court No. 3, both court Nos. 1 and 2 went to tiebreakers. UCLA was actually down 4-3 at court No. 1 when Philipp Gruendler and Benjamin Kohlloeffel clinched the point for the Bruins at the No. 2 spot.
Although they lost the doubles point, the Golden Bears battled back to even the match at 1-1 once singles play began, as Ken Nakahara defeated Gruendler, 6-1, 6-3 at court No. 6. UCLA responded by taking the next two matches for a 3-1 advantage. Alberto Francis was a 7-5, 6-1 winner over Tyler Browne at court No. 5, and Kohlloeffel dispatched of fellow German Lennart Maack, 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 2 spot.
Cal got on the board again, cutting the lead to 3-2, when Conor Niland posted a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Bruin senior Luben Pampoulov. At the time of Niland's win, both remaining matches were extremely close. Bruin senior Chris Lam was heading into a third set with Daniel Sebescen at court No. 4, and Kris Kwinta, after winning the first set in a tiebreaker, was in a tight second set with Patrick Briaud at court No. 3. Although Kwinta had a match point up 5-4 in his match, it was Lam who ended up clinching the win for UCLA with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Sebescen.
UCLA has advanced to at least the semifinals of the NCAA Championships in the last three seasons, going all the way to the final last year in Tulsa, Okla. The Bruins lead the all-time series with Tennessee, 6-2, although the Volunteers won the last meeting between the two teams (4-1 - NCAA Quarterfinals in 2000). The Bruins have won 16-straight round of 16 matches at the NCAAs, last falling to Georgia back in 1988.