Men's Tennis Faces Arizona State in Opener of Pac-12s
Date/Time: Saturday, April 24/3:00 PM PT
Sunday, April 25/3:00 PM PT*
Monday, April 26/3:00 PM PT*
Television (Monday): Pac-12 Network
Talent (Monday): J.B. Long (play-by-play)
Corina Morariu (analyst)
Live Scoring: pac12.me/TENLiveScores
* - if necessary
2021 PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Saturday, April 24
Match 1: #1 Stanford vs. #8 Washington 3:00 PM
Match 2: #4 UCLA vs. #5 Arizona State 3:00 PM
Match 3: #2 Arizona vs. #7 Utah 6:00 PM
Match 4: #3 USC vs. #6 Oregon 6:00 PM
Sunday, April 25
Match 5: Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2 3:00 PM
Match 6: Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4 3:00 PM
Monday, April 26
Match 7: Winner Match 5 vs. Winner Match 6 3:00 PM
The UCLA men's tennis team begins postseason play Saturday, when it meets Arizona State in quarterfinal-round action at the Pac-12 Championships. Fourth-seeded UCLA meets No. 5 seed ASU at 3 p.m., PT in a rematch of a March 26 contest narrowly won by the Bruins, 4-3. Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego plays host to the tournament, which was relocated from the Ojai (Calif.) Valley Tennis Club due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Competition continues through Monday's final round. Pac-12 Network will cover the championship match, also scheduled to get underway at 3 p.m., PT.
Pac-12 Network is set to air Monday's final round of the Pac-12 Championships, beginning at 3 p.m., PT, with J.B. Long and Corina Morariu on the call. Additional coverage will be available on Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app. Live scoring is available at pac12.me/TENLiveScores.
UCLA AT THE PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
UCLA is a four-time champion of the Pac-12's year-end tournament, as head coach Billy Martin has led teams to titles in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2018. USC has collected the other four titles, with UCLA achieving runner-up status in 2012 and 2017. The tournament was not played in 2020. The 2019 Bruins bowed out in the semifinal round against California, which earned the doubles point and added singles victories from Paul Barretto, Bjorn Hoffmann and the clinching Jacob Brumm. Patrick Zahraj picked up the lone singles win of the day for UCLA.
LAST TIME OUT
UCLA made a statement in its final match of the regular season, defeating Pepperdine by a 4-0 score Wednesday afternoon at Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins, who honored seven graduating student-athletes after the contest, received the clinching point from graduate transfer Sam Feit. Roscoe Bellamy and Govind Nanda were also victorious on the singles courts. The Waves entered the match winners of 10 of 11 and had not been shut out since their Jan. 23 season opener.
IN THE RANKINGS
The UCLA men's tennis team checks in at No. 21 in the latest Tennis Channel/USTA Top 25, it was announced Wednesday. The most recent Oracle ITA team rankings, also released Wednesday, have the Bruins at No. 28 on its computerized list and No. 27 according to the coaches poll. Oracle ITA also unveiled its newest player rankings the same day, with Bruins Keegan Smith (No. 61), Govind Nanda (74) and Drew Baird (115) on the singles list. The combination of Baird and Nanda made its debut in the doubles rankings at No. 68.
Drew Baird, Ben Goldberg and Keegan Smith defeated a trio of Oracle ITA then-top-26 players in the Bruins' narrow Feb. 28 home loss to USC. 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 28-15 versus nationally-ranked opponents for his career. Baird is 2-4 in those situations, while Goldberg holds a 5-7 mark.
SMITH EARNS NATIONAL RECOGNITION
Keegan Smith was named UTR ITA Division I Player of the Week for April 8-15, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced April 14. 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. His UTR rose from 13.75 to 13.88 with the wins. 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.
SMITH, NANDA COLLECT PAC-12 AWARDS
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 marked the second received by a Bruin this season, as Keegan Smith was previously 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 No. 3 player, Alexandre Rotsaert, he did just that by a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 score. The showdown on Court 2 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.
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 March 8. 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.
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 616-133 (.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.