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No. 18 UCLA Defeats Loyola Marymount in Home Opener

Feb 20, 2021
Drew Baird (Photo: Eric Hurd)

LOS ANGELES – The No. 18 UCLA men's tennis team recovered from a lost doubles point to notch a 4-1 home-opening win over Loyola Marymount Saturday afternoon at Los Angeles Tennis Center.

Mathew Tsolakyan clinched the overall victory on Court 5 for the Bruins (2-1), who had not played in a match since Jan. 25. The top-court trio of Keegan Smith, Drew Baird and Ben Goldberg were also triumphant in its singles contests. The Lions (2-2) were unable to break through in singles play after collecting the match's first point in doubles play.

UCLA looked poised to make quick work of the doubles point, as Baird and Sam Feit received little pushback from Ethan Prost and Emin Torlic en route to a 6-1 win. LMU was not fazed by the early loss, however, as Thien Nguyen and John Bryan Otico pulled the visitors even with a 6-4 decision on Court 3.

The day's initial point hung in the balance on Court 1, where Smith and Patrick Zahraj teamed up for the first time. A back-and-forth affair ultimately went the way of Daniel Moreno and Diego Nava, 6-4.

Smith recovered quickly in singles play, as the nation's 10th-ranked player handed Nava a 6-4, 6-2 loss on the top court. Then, next door, Baird completed a 6-4, 6-4 win over Moreno in his first dual-match action of the season. Continuing down the line, Goldberg put the Bruins one point away from the overall victory with a 6-3, 6-3 result against Otico on Court 3.

Each of the remaining three matches on the bottom courts went to three sets. With Feit holding a 4-1 lead and Zahraj deadlocked at 5-5, Tsolakyan put the match away. It was a comeback effort for the junior, who dropped a first-set tiebreaker against Torlic before rebounding for his 5-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 win.

Next up for UCLA is a home date with UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday, Feb 24. First serve is set for 1 p.m., PT.

Tennis Match Results
Loyola Marymount vs UCLA
2/20/2021 at Los Angeles, CA
(Los Angeles Tennis Center)

#18 UCLA 4, Loyola Marymount 1

Singles competition
1. #10 Keegan Smith (UCLA) def. Diego Nava (LMU) 6-4, 6-2
2. Drew Baird (UCLA) def. Daniel Moreno (LMU) 6-4, 6-4
3. Ben Goldberg (UCLA) def. John Bryan Otico (LMU) 6-3, 6-3
4. #109 Sam Feit (UCLA) vs. Max Kaiser (LMU) 7-5, 2-6, 4-1, unfinished
5. Mathew Tsolakyan (UCLA) def. Emin Torlic (LMU) 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4
6. Patrick Zahraj (UCLA) vs. Austin Di Giulio (LMU) 3-6, 6-3, 5-5, unfinished

Doubles competition
1. Daniel Moreno/Diego Nava (LMU) def. Keegan Smith/Patrick Zahraj (UCLA) 6-4
2. Drew Baird/Sam Feit (UCLA) def. Ethan Prost/Emin Torlic (LMU) 6-1
3. Thien Nguyen/John Bryan Otico (LMU) def. Connor Rapp/Max Wild (UCLA) 6-4

Match Notes:
Loyola Marymount 2-2
UCLA 2-1; National ranking #18
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,2,3,5)