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Men's Tennis to Host Pepperdine in Regular-Season Finale

Apr 20, 2021
Ben Goldberg (Photo: Jesus Ramirez)

Wednesday, April 21/2:00 PM PT
Live Stream/Live Stats:
Series vs. Pepperdine: UCLA leads, 51-15
Last Meeting vs. Pepperdine: UCLA won 4-1 on April 9, 2019

The No. 33/27 UCLA men's tennis team wraps up its regular season Wednesday, when No. 31/30 Pepperdine visits Los Angeles Tennis Center. Previously scheduled for March 10 before being postponed due to rain, the match is set to begin at 2 p.m., PT. The Bruins (11-5, 4-3 Pac-12) will try to enter play at the Pac-12 Championships in San Diego on a winning note. The Waves (13-5, 6-0 WCC) recently completed an undefeated run through its West Coast Conference slate.

In compliance with state and county public health guidance, UCLA outdoor home sporting events are open to a limited number of team guests. Live streaming and live scoring for all home UCLA men's tennis matches are available HERE.

UCLA dropped a 6-1 decision at USC on Saturday, April 17. The Bruins captured the doubles point at David X. Marks Stadium, but were unable to achieve the same success on the singles courts in the Pac-12 match. The Trojans registered straight-set wins the rest of the way, with Bradley Frye providing the clinching point. The doubles pairs of Roscoe Bellamy/Mathew Tsolakyan and Drew Baird/Govind Nanda, which took down fifth-ranked Daniel Cukierman/Riley Smith in a tiebreaker, were victorious for UCLA.

UCLA men's tennis holds an all-time record of 51-15 against Pepperdine. The programs last met April 9, 2019 at Los Angeles Tennis Center, where the Bruins posted a 4-1 win. Then-freshman Eric Hahn of the Bruins contributed the first clinching point of his career, defeating Pawel Jankowiak by a 7-5, 6-1 score on Court 6. Maxime Cressy and Govind Nanda also turned in straight-set victories for UCLA. The Waves got their lone win from Matias Sborowitz, in three sets, on Court 4.

The UCLA men's tennis roster includes four seniors (Lucas Bellamy, Connor Hance, Bryce Pereira and Keegan Smith), two redshirt seniors (Ben Goldberg and Connor Rapp) and one graduate student (Sam Feit).

Relocated from Libbey Park in Ojai, Calif., the 2021 Pac-12 Tennis Championships begin this week at Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. Fourth-seeded UCLA is set to meet fifth-seeded Arizona State in first-round action Saturday at 3 p.m., PT. The semifinals will occur Sunday at 3 p.m. A tournament champion will be crowned at the conclusion of Monday's final, also slated for a 3 p.m. start. The conference has adopted a backdraw format to ensure each team plays at least two matches.

The UCLA men's tennis team checks in at No. 19 in the latest Tennis Channel/USTA Top 25, it was announced Wednesday, April 14. The most recent Oracle ITA team rankings, also released April 14, list the Bruins at No. 33 on its computerized list and No. 27 in the coaches poll. Oracle ITA also unveiled its newest player rankings the same day, with Bruins Keegan Smith (No. 37), Govind Nanda (62) and Drew Baird (108) on the singles list.

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. Smith is now 28-15 versus nationally-ranked opponents for his career. Baird is 2-4 in those situations, while Goldberg holds a 5-7 mark.

Keegan Smith was named UTR ITA Division I Player of the Week for April 8-15, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced Wednesday. The award, a first for UCLA men's tennis, honors players based on increase in Universal Tennis Rating throughout the previous week. Smith went 4-0 across his singles and doubles matches as the Bruins registered a split with in-state rivals San Diego and Stanford. He started his week with a pair of ranked victories, including a 6-3, 7-5 singles triumph over No. 30 (Oracle ITA) August Holmgren of USD on the top court. Smith and partner Bryce Pereira also clinched the doubles point with a 7-5 result versus No. 61 Holmgren and David Norfeldt. Smith went on to deliver a 6-0, 6-2 performance against Axel Geller of the Cardinal, capping a perfect individual day. Smith and Pereira earlier beat Geller and Neel Rajesh, 7-5. All four decisions came on the top court. Smith's UTR rose from 13.75 to 13.88 with the wins.

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 March 31. 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.

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 93-20 in singles play and 68-27 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 615-133 (.822) 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.