Nanda, Bruins Down Stanford in Thriller
LOS ANGELES – Govind Nanda proved to be the last man standing in his return to the lineup, clinching the No. 23 UCLA men's tennis team's 4-3 non-conference win over Stanford Monday afternoon at Los Angeles Tennis Center.
With all eyes on Court 2, Nanda closed out the nation's third-ranked player, Alexandre Rotsaert, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. Mathew Tsolakyan and Keegan Smith picked up straight-set wins early in singles play for the Bruins (6-2), who were unable to capture the doubles point. The Cardinal (2-1) was able to pull even at 2-2 and 3-3. Sam Feit added the fourth singles victory for UCLA.
In his return to LATC, Govind Nanda plays the role of hero.
— UCLA Men's Tennis (@uclatennis) March 22, 2021
Doubles play was a closely-contested affair, with each match in question until completion. Rotsaert and Arthur Fery struck first for Stanford, posting a 6-4 win over Nanda and Drew Baird on Court 2. Tsolakyan and Roscoe Bellamy looked primed to one in the Bruins' column with a 5-2 lead on Court 3, but Neel Rajesh and Timothy Sah charged back for a 7-5 victory to clinch the initial point. The top-court match was also completed, with Tristan Boyer and Axel Geller prevailing for the Cardinal, 7-6(3), over Smith and Bryce Pereira.
In need of four wins, UCLA collected a quartet of singles first sets. Tsolakyan quickly recovered from his doubles loss to dispatch of Aryan Chaudhary, 6-3, 6-2. Dating back to Feb. 15, 2020, Tsolakyan has won 12 consecutive singles decisions.
Smith followed shortly thereafter, prevailing in his top-20 showdown on the top court. Facing off against No. 20 Geller, No. 10 Smith came flying out of the gate and buckled down when Geller pushed for a third set. With his 6-1, 7-5 victory, Smith moved to 7-1 – including 4-1 against nationally-ranked opponents – on the season.
Stanford tied it up on Court 4, where No. 119 Boyer delivered a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ben Goldberg. With momentum shifting the way of the Cardinal, No. 109 Feit had the answer. The Gonzaga transfer finished each of his sets strong, knocking off Sah in a 6-4, 7-5 decision to place the focus on Courts 2 and 3, which had each begun a third set.
No. 94 Fery proved victorious on Court 3, bouncing back from an early deficit to take down Baird, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, and ensure the match would go the distance.
The 22nd-ranked Nanda made the most of his first dual-match singles appearance of 2021. He jumped out to a 4-1 first-set advantage before Rotsaert seized the final five games. Nanda forced a third frame convincingly, taking five of the first six games en route. The third proved more of the same, as he earned a break of serve at 4-2 before sealing the deal. A Rotsaert backhand found the net on the final point, setting off a celebration.
The Bruins will have a quick turnaround before their next match, as they are set to welcome UC Irvine to LATC Tuesday. First serve is set for 11 a.m., PT.
Tennis Match Results
Stanford vs UCLA
3/22/2021 at Los Angeles, CA
(Los Angeles Tennis Center)
#23 UCLA 4, Stanford 3
1. #10 Keegan Smith (UCLA) def. #20 Axel Geller (STAN) 6-1, 7-5
2. #22 Govind Nanda (UCLA) def. #3 Alexandre Rotsaert (STAN), 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
3. #94 Arthur Fery (STAN) def. Drew Baird (UCLA) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
4. #119 Tristan Boyer (STAN) def. Ben Goldberg (UCLA) 6-2, 6-2
5. #109 Sam Feit (UCLA) def. Timothy Sah (STAN) 6-4, 7-5
6. Mathew Tsolakyan (UCLA) def. Aryan Chaudhary (STAN) 6-3, 6-2
1. Tristan Boyer/Axel Geller (STAN) def. Bryce Pereira/Keegan Smith (UCLA) 7-6 (7-3)
2. Arthur Fery/Alexandre Rotsaert (STAN) def. Drew Baird/Govind Nanda (UCLA) 6-4
3. Neel Rajesh/Timothy Sah (STAN) def. Roscoe Bellamy/Mathew Tsolakyan (UCLA) 7-5
UCLA 6-2; National ranking #23
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (6,1,4,5,3,2)