Men's Tennis Continues Pac-12 Play in the Desert
Date/Time: Friday, March 26/2:00 PM PT
Sunday, March 28/12:00 PM PT
Live Stream/Live Stats (Friday): TheSunDevils.com
Live Stream/Live Stats (Sunday): ArizonaWildcats.com
Series vs. Arizona State: UCLA leads, 64-3
Series vs. Arizona: UCLA leads, 72-1
Last Meeting vs. ASU: UCLA won 4-2 on April 19, 2019
Last Meeting vs. Arizona: UCLA won 4-1 on April 20, 2019
Fresh off a pair of home wins to start the week, the UCLA men's tennis team returns to Pac-12 action this weekend in the desert. The Bruins (7-2, 1-0 in Pac-12 play) begin their trip Friday at Whiteman Tennis Center, where they will face No. 17 Arizona State (13-3, 2-0) at 2 p.m., PT. UCLA will close out the week with a Sunday visit to No. 19 Arizona. First serve from LaNelle Robson Tennis Center is set for 12 p.m., PT.
Fans are not permitted to attend events at UCLA Athletics venues, including Los Angeles Tennis Center, in adherence to the latest COVID-19 guidelines set by the state of California and Los Angeles County. Live streaming and live scoring for all home UCLA men's tennis matches will be available at UCLABruins.com.
LAST TIME OUT
UCLA completed an early-week home sweep of Stanford and UC Irvine when it delivered a 7-0 shutout of the Anteaters Tuesday. The Bruins dropped just one set against UCI. The previous day, Govind Nanda proved to be the last man standing in his return to the lineup, clinching UCLA's 4-3 non-conference win over the Cardinal. With all eyes on Court 2, Nanda closed out the nation's then-No. 3 player, Alexandre Rotsaert, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. Mathew Tsolakyan and Keegan Smith posted straight-set wins early in singles play for the Bruins, who were unable to capture the doubles point. Stanford was able to pull even at 2-2 and 3-3. Sam Feit added the fourth singles victory for UCLA. Nanda, Smith and Tsolakyan each picked up two singles in two days.
UCLA VS. ASU/ARIZONA
UCLA men's tennis holds an all-time record of 64-3 versus Arizona State. The programs last faced off April 19, 2019, when the Bruins logged a 4-2 win over the Sun Devils at Los Angeles Tennis Center. Patrick Zahraj sealed the victory in straight sets. Maxime Cressy, Govind Nanda and Keegan Smith also notched wins for the Bruins, who rebounded from a lost doubles point. Andrea Bolla secured the lone singles win for the Sun Devils. The next day, UCLA captured the Pac-12 regular-season title outright with a 4-1 triumph over Arizona. Cressy, Nanda and Smith each prevailed again, backing up a winning doubles effort. Carlos Hassey turned in the Wildcats' only win of the day. UCLA is 72-1 against Arizona in the all-time series.
IN THE RANKINGS
The UCLA men's tennis team checks in at No. 22 in the first Tennis Channel/USTA Top 25 of 2021, it was announced Wednesday, March 24. The latest Oracle ITA player rankings, also announced Wednesday, feature Bruins Keegan Smith (No. 48) and Drew Baird (No. 57) on the singles list.
BY THE NUMBERS
Head coach Billy Martin led his teams to 68 straight home wins from May 8, 2015 to Feb. 28, 2021, when the streak was ended by crosstown rival USC. The Bruins will try to extend a pair of conference-related runs during the 2021 regular season:
32 – UCLA teams have won 32 Pac-12 regular-season matches in a row since the start of the 2016 season.
4 – UCLA has won four straight Pac-12 regular-season championships.
With his clinching win in UCLA's 7-0 shutout of UC Irvine Tuesday, Mathew Tsolakyan became the first Bruin to seal two victories this season. He also decided the Feb. 20 home win over Loyola Marymount. Since Feb. 15, 2020, Tsolakyan is 13-0. He has had just one match left unfinished during that time. This season has also seen Tsolakyan collect the first doubles win of his dual-match career. In an ITA Kickoff Weekend match Jan. 25, Tsolakyan and partner Ben Goldberg outlasted Stefan Dostanic and Ryder Jackson of USC, 7-5, to give UCLA the doubles point against the host and then-No. 1 Trojans.
Drew Baird, Ben Goldberg and Keegan Smith defeated a trio of Oracle ITA top-26 players in the Bruins' narrow home loss to USC on Feb. 28. Each win represents a career best in terms of ranking. Baird dispatched of No. 19 Riley Smith, 6-3, 6-4, for his third straight-set victory in a row. Goldberg knocked off No. 26 Mor Bulis, 7-6(5), 6-2, for his second-career win on Court 3. And in a top-court showdown, No. 10 Smith took down No. 1 Daniel Cukierman, 6-2, 7-5, evening their personal series at two wins apiece. Smith is now 25-14 versus nationally-ranked opponents for his career. Baird is 2-3 in those situations, while Goldberg holds a 5-7 mark.
SELL RETURNS TO WESTWOOD
The UCLA men's tennis program has hired former standout Karue Sell to the position of volunteer assistant coach, head coach Billy Martin announced Monday. A native of Jaragua do Sul, Brazil, Sell embarked on a professional career after posting records of 104-31 in singles matches and 90-41 in doubles play for the Bruins from 2013-16. He was an active tournament participant into 2019 before working with Naomi Osaka, the current WTA No. 2 singles player. Sell was by Osaka's side when she won her third Grand Slam singles championship at the 2020 US Open and continued to assist her as she took the top spot at the 2021 Australian Open. Sell also served as volunteer assistant coach for Pepperdine under head coach Marcelo Ferreira during the 2016-17 season.
SMITH BACK FOR MORE
Senior Keegan Smith possesses career records of 88-19 in singles play and 63-26 in doubles action. He captured the NCAA doubles championship with Maxime Cressy in 2019, the last time the tournament was played. The pair was undefeated in 21 matches and 26 sets. Smith is a three-time All-American and looks to join Brian Teacher (1973-76), Ferdi Taygan (1974-77) and Marcel Freeman (1979-82) in UCLA's exclusive club of four-timers.
With the Bruins' 4-0 ITA Indoors defeat of NC State on Feb. 16, 2020, head coach Billy Martin reached the 600-win plateau for his career.
MORE ON MARTIN - Martin, who became the program's all-time leader in head-coaching wins in 2019, is the longest-tenured active coach at UCLA. In his 28th year as head coach and 38th campaign on staff, Martin holds a record of 611-130 (.825) at the helm. He guided the 2005 Bruins to the program's 16th NCAA team title and just three Martin-led squads have finished outside the top five at the season-ending NCAA Championships. Benjamin Kohlloeffel (2006), Marcos Giron (2014) and Mackenzie McDonald (2016) have earned NCAA singles titles on Martin's watch, while UCLA has become a frequent landing spot for doubles champions of late. In addition to 1996 winners Justin Gimelstob and Srdjan Muskatirovic, three of the last four titleholders (McDonald/Martin Redlicki in 2016, Redlicki/Evan Zhu in 2018 and Maxime Cressy/Keegan Smith in 2019 have called Westwood home.
Legendary UCLA men's tennis head coach Glenn Bassett, who guided the Bruins to seven NCAA team championships as head coach, passed away August 18, 2020 at the age of 93. Bassett held a career record of 592-92-2 over 27 seasons (1967-93) as UCLA head coach. At the time of his retirement, he was the winningest men's tennis head coach, by percentage (.864), in NCAA Division I history. Bassett was also the first individual to collect NCAA tennis team championships as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach – all at UCLA. A co-captain under head coach Bill Ackerman, Bassett helped UCLA to its first-ever NCAA championship as a player in 1950. He went on to serve as assistant coach under JD Morgan and was part of five more team titles in that role. Bassett began his head coaching career at Santa Monica High School, where he guided his alma mater to five CIF Southern Section large-school crowns in a row (1962-66) before succeeding Morgan.