No. 5 Men's Tennis Heads to Arizona
April 8, 2008
No. 5 Bruins Head to the Desert
The fifth-ranked UCLA men's tennis team (17-1; 4-0 Pac-10) continues conference play this week, traveling to the desert for matches against Arizona (11-8; 1-3) and No. 18 Arizona State (14-2; 2-2). The Bruins were supposed to host both teams earlier this season, however the matches were canceled due to rain. Action gets underway this Friday, as UCLA visits Arizona for a 1:30 p.m. match in Tucson. The Bruins have never lost to the Wildcats, taking a 60-0 all-time record into the showdown. On Saturday, UCLA visits No. 18 Arizona State at 1:00 p.m. The Bruins take a 62-2 series advantage into that match.
UCLA Sweeps Bay Area Competition
UCLA extended its current winning streak to 11 this past weekend, taking a pair of matches over Cal and No. 25 Stanford at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins won both matches 6-1 to improve to 4-0 in Pac-10 play. After winning the doubles point, UCLA took five of six singles matches in each contest.
Srugo Downs Nation's No. 2 Player
UCLA's Harel Srugo picked up one of the biggest wins of his college career this past Saturday, defeating second-ranked Alex Clayton of Stanford in three sets at No. 1 singles. Srugo lost the first set 6-4, but rallied to take the next set in a tiebreaker before eventually registering a 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 victory over the Cardinal freshman. Srugo, who also defeated No. 92 Kallim Stewart of Cal in straight sets the previous day, improved to 17-8 on the season.
UCLA-USC Match Could Decide Pac-10 Title Once Again `08
Last year's regular-season finale pitted Pac-10 unbeatens UCLA and USC in a match that determined last year's conference champion (UCLA won 4-3). It looks like that scenario could very well play out once again this season, as the Bruins and Trojans are currently the only two undefeated Pac-10 teams. If both schools can go unbeaten this weekend in Arizona, the April 18 showdown will feature a 6-0 UCLA team against a 6-0 USC squad in the final Pac-10 match of the year. The only bad news for the Bruins is, unlike last year's match at the LATC, this year's showdown is on USC's home courts. The Bruins are looking to claim their fifth Pac-10 Championship in a row, while the Trojans are seeking their first title since 2004.
Bruins Check in at No. 5 Nationally
After achieving its highest ranking of the season last week at No. 4, the Bruins fell one spot to No. 5 in this week's computer rankings. Undefeated Virginia maintains the No. 1 spot, followed by Ohio State, Georgia, Texas and UCLA. Individually, senior Mathieu Dehaine is the Bruins' highest ranked singles player at No. 23. He is followed by No. 38 Harel Srugo and No. 45 Holden Seguso. Freshman Nick Meister and Srugo are ranked No. 59 as a doubles tandem. New team and individual rankings will be released again on April 15.
ITA Top 25 (Apr. 8)
2. Ohio State
11. North Carolina
12. Florida State
18. Arizona State
19. Oklahoma State
20. Texas Tech
21. Texas A&M
Drean and Look Avenge Lone Doubles Loss
UCLA's No. 3 doubles team of Jeremy Drean and Michael Look owns a 17-1 dual-match record this season, with its lone loss coming against Stanford's Greg Hirshman/Richard Wire back in early February. Drean and Look avenged that loss this past weekend, taking an 8-5 victory over that same Stanford duo.
Home Sweet Home
UCLA owns an 11-0 record in home matches at the Los Angeles Tennis Center this season. If the Bruins can beat UC Irvine on Apr. 16, and follow that up with two more wins in NCAA Regional play, it will mark UCLA's second straight undefeated home season (the Bruins were 15-0 in 2007).
What a Run!
At 17-1, UCLA is off to its best start since the 2001 Bruins had that same record 18 matches into their season. The last time UCLA ended the regular season with one loss or fewer was back in 1996 (the Bruins were 24-0 heading into NCAAs).
An Improbable Season
No other team in the country has suffered the personnel losses that UCLA has and still managed to stay in the national title race. The Bruins are without their top four players from a team that advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2007. Benjamin Kohlloeffel (#1 singles) Philipp Gruendler (#3 singles) and Chris Surapol (#4 singles) all completed their eligibility last year, while junior Haythem Abid (#2 singles) has been sidelined this season with an injury. The additions of newcomers Holden Seguso, Harel Srugo and Nick Meister, along with the play of senior Jeremy Drean, have helped UCLA maintain its high level of play this season.
UC Irvine Still to Come
UCLA was originally scheduled to face UC Irvine in the 2008 season opener for both teams back on Jan. 23. That match, however, was postponed due to rain. The match has now been rescheduled for April 16 at 1:30 p.m.
Head Coach Billy Martin
UCLA head coach Billy Martin owns a 339-64 overall coaching record in his 15th season at the helm of the Bruin tennis program. In his 14 seasons, Martin has never had a team finish out of the top 5 at the NCAA Championships, leading UCLA to the school's 16th NCAA men's tennis title in 2005.