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Men's Tennis Returns Home to Face Oregon, Washington

Mar 31, 2021
Sam Feit (Photo: Jesus Ramirez)

Friday, April 2/2:00 PM PT
    Saturday, April 3/1:00 PM PT
Live Stream/Live Stats:
Series vs. Oregon: UCLA leads, 29-0
Series vs. Washington: UCLA leads, 36-2
Last Meeting vs. UO: UCLA won 4-3 on March 1, 2020
Last Meeting vs. UW: UCLA won 5-0 on Feb. 28, 2020

With its first true road trip in the rearview mirror, the UCLA men's tennis team returns to Los Angeles Tennis Center for Pac-12 dates with Oregon and Washington. The Bruins (8-3, 2-1 Pac-12) get the back-to-back opportunity underway Friday against the Ducks (13-2, 1-2), who are listed at No. 49 in the latest Oracle ITA team rankings. First serve is set for 2 p.m., PT. The Huskies (9-7, 0-3) come in the next day to complete a SoCal swing that has already had stops at Pepperdine, UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State and will find itself at USC Friday. Saturday's match between UCLA and Washington starts at 1 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 HERE.

UCLA earned a split on its desert road trip, edging out No. 17 Arizona State in a thriller before falling to No. 19 Arizona. The Bruins overcame a two-hour rain delay, a lost doubles point and four dropped singles first sets to defeat the Sun Devils, 4-3, March 26 at Whiteman Tennis Center. Mathew Tsolakyan completed the turnaround with a three-set win. Drew Baird, Govind Nanda and Keegan Smith were also victorious for UCLA, which faced a 2-0 deficit before mounting its comeback. The Bruins got off on the right foot March 28 at LaNelle Robson Tennis Center, taking the doubles point. The Wildcats charged back to prevail in the first four finished singles contests, however, with two decisions made in three sets. The unfinished singles matches were also in third sets.

UCLA men's tennis holds a combined all-time record of 65-2 against Oregon (29-0) and Washington (36-2). The Bruins were able to face both teams during the shortened 2020 dual-match season, earning a road sweep in Pac-12 play. A rare 5-0 sweep of the Huskies was completed Feb. 28, 2020 at Nordstrom Tennis Center, as Keegan Smith and Mathew Tsolakyan simultaneously completed three-set wins, backing up the efforts of Drew Baird, Govind Nanda and the UCLA doubles tandems. Then, in a match that lasted nearly four hours the next day, Ben Goldberg captured second- and third-set tiebreakers against Riki Oshima, overcoming a 1-5 second-set deficit and eight match points en route to a 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(1) victory to decide the Bruins' 4-3 win over the Ducks at Oregon's Student Tennis Center. After dropping the doubles point, UCLA bounced back with triumphs by Smith, Tsolakyan and Patrick Zahraj to start singles play. Oregon eventually tied the score, but Goldberg ultimately played hero.

The UCLA men's tennis team checks in at No. 19 (tied with Mississippi State) in the latest Tennis Channel/USTA Top 25, it was announced Wednesday. The Bruins are No. 36 in the most recent Oracle ITA team rankings, released Tuesday. Oracle ITA also unveiled its newest player rankings Tuesday, with Bruins Keegan Smith (No. 48), Drew Baird (81) and Govind Nanda (116) on the singles list. Smith and Bryce Pereira comprise the No. 75 doubles pair. The appearance of Pereira marks the first of his career.

Fresh off his initial match play of the 2020-21 campaign, Govind Nanda was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for March 22-28, the conference announced Wednesday. The award is the second received by a Bruin this season, as Keegan Smith was recognized March 2. Nanda played the role of hero in UCLA's 4-3 home victory over Stanford March 22. Tasked with taking down the nation's then-No. 3 player, Alexandre Rotsaert, he did just that by a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 score. The Court-2 showdown was the final match of the day and represented Nanda's first singles appearance of the season. He also earned singles victories against Bjorn Hoffmann of UC Irvine March 23 and Makey Rakotomalala of Arizona State March 26. Smith was honored after earning wins over a pair of top-30 singles opponents – including top-ranked Daniel Cukierman of USC Feb. 28 – and had a hand in clinching the doubles point versus UC Santa Barbara Feb. 24. He also beat No. 27 Joseph Guillin of the Gauchos.

Mathew Tsolakyan leads UCLA with three clinching wins this season, capturing the deciding points against Loyola Marymount (Feb. 15), UC Irvine (Feb. 20) and Arizona State (March 26). Since Feb. 15, 2020, Tsolakyan is 14-1. 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 then-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, Smith took down No. 1 Daniel Cukierman, 6-2, 7-5, evening their personal series at two wins apiece. Smith is now 26-15 versus nationally-ranked opponents for his career. Baird is 2-3 in those situations, while Goldberg holds a 5-7 mark.

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.

Senior Keegan Smith possesses career records of 89-20 in singles play and 65-26 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.

MR. 600
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 612-131 (.824) 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.