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Men's Tennis Visits Pepperdine Friday

Feb 24, 2022
Alexander Hoogmartens (left) and Drew Baird (Photo: Lillie Yazdi)

Fresh off a pair of home wins against Southern California region opponents, the UCLA men's tennis team will travel up the coast to take on another in Pepperdine Friday. The non-conference matchup will begin at 1 p.m. PT from Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center in Malibu, Calif. The Bruins (4-3) are ranked 47th in the ITA computer rankings, while the Waves (3-4) are No. 41.

Admission to the match is free, though an e-ticket is needed for entry. Pepperdine's guidelines can be found HERE.

Live video and up-to-the-minute scores from Pepperdine's Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center will be available HERE.

UCLA defeated UC Santa Barbara, 6-1, in a non-conference match Feb. 18 at Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins picked up the doubles point and never looked back, building a 5-0 lead before the Gauchos triumphed in the penultimate completed singles match. Patrick Zahraj clinched the victory, following the efforts of Alexander Hoogmartens and Karl Lee. Hoogmartens, Zahraj and Drew Baird each won twice on the day.

UCLA holds an all-time record of 53-16 against Pepperdine. The programs last met April 21, 2021, when the Bruins defeated the Waves by a 4-0 score at Los Angeles Tennis Center. UCLA, which honored seven student-athletes making their final home appearance following the match, received the clinching point from Sam Feit. Roscoe Bellamy and Govind Nanda were also victorious on the singles courts. Pepperdine had won 10 of 11 matches before being shut out for the first time since its 2021 opener. The Waves last beat the Bruins in the quarterfinal round of the 2006 NCAA Championships.

UCLA found itself at No. 47 in the ITA's first computer rankings, released Wednesday. Individually, Alexander Hoogmartens is No. 59 in the latest ITA singles rankings, which came out Thursday. The freshman from Beersel, Belgium has a 8-4 record this season, including a 2-1 mark against nationally-ranked opponents. In his debut at the ITA All-American Championships, Hoogmartens turned in a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win against No. 70 Lleyton Cronje of UCF in qualifying. He also beat No. 117 Daniel DeJonge of Pepperdine, 7-6(2), 7-5, to reach the singles quarterfinal round at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships. As a team, the Bruins completed the 2020-21 season slotted at No. 25.

UCLA holds a 13-9 record in matches decided by 4-3 scores since the start of the 2016 season. Head coach Billy Martin's 2022 team is 1-0 in such results, as Drew Baird rallied from a 2-5 deficit to notch the decider against Texas Tech in the Jan. 30 ITA Kickoff Weekend consolation contest. In 2021, the Bruins played five matches that ended in 4-3 scores, going 2-3. The previous three do-or-die situations went to UCLA.

Three former UCLA men's tennis players are currently listed in the top 70 of the ATP singles rankings. No. 59 Marcos Giron saw his ranking gradually climb throughout 2021, at one point reaching his top showing of No. 57 in November, after advancing through qualifying and into the third round at the ATP Masters 1000 Paris event. Giron beat top-50 opponents Frances Tiafoe of the US and Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in the main draw. Giron also knocked off fellow American and 19th-ranked Taylor Fritz on his way to the Dallas Open semifinals earlier this month. Mackie McDonald, meanwhile, is currently slotted at No. 61 after climbing to a career-best No. 49 earlier this month. He skyrocketed back into the top 100 in August 2021, on the heels of his ATP Tour final-round appearance at the Citi Open in Washington. McDonald beat Top-100 players Nick Kyrgios of Australia, Ilya Ivashka of Belarus, Benoit Paire of France and Kei Nishikori of Japan in Washington, D.C. Maxime Cressy is at No. 67. He reached a career-high No. 59 in January. Cressy has had a standout 2022, reaching his first ATP Tour final as a qualifier at January's Melbourne Summer Set ahead of the Australian Open. He defeated top-30 counterparts Reilly Opelka of the United States and Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, but was ultimately felled by Rafael Nadal. Cressy then went on to reach his first Grand Slam fourth round at Melbourne Park, a run that started with a five-set victory against fellow American John Isner. McDonald (2016 singles and doubles), Cressy (2019 doubles) and Giron (2014 singles) each won an NCAA individual championship under head coach Billy Martin while at UCLA.

UCLA took part in five tournaments during the fall. Stefan Leustian racked up a team-best eight singles wins, recording quarterfinal-round finishes at the SoCal Intercollegiate Championships and the ITA Southwest Regional Championships. Alexander Hoogamartens knocked off a nationally-ranked counterpart, No. 70 Lleyton Cronje of UCF, in his debut, and went on to beat another, No. 117 Daniel De Jonge of Pepperdine, at the ITA Southwest Regionals. He finished the year with a 4-2 singles record. Giacomo Revelli and Patrick Zahraj teamed to make the ITA Southwest Regionals doubles final round. Their three wins tops on the team during the fall.

2020-21 IN REVIEW
The 2020-21 Bruins went 13-7, earning a spot in the program's 44th NCAA tournament in as many opportunities. Shorthanded for a majority of the season, a near-full-strength group won eight of nine matches played from March 2-April 6. During that stretch, UCLA turned in 4-3 victories versus Stanford (March 22) and at Arizona State (March 26), with Govind Nanda and Mathew Tsolakyan the last men standing in those contests, respectively. Keegan Smith logged the most singles wins on the team, going 13-2 before his season was cut short. Bryce Pereira accumulated a team-best 10 doubles triumphs, playing with three different partners. Smith was named to the All-Pac-12 first team, while Nanda was voted to the second team. Drew Baird earned honorable mention acclaim. Smith was ranked No. 55 by the ITA among singles players, while Baird and Nanda formed the No. 46 doubles tandem, to finish the season.

The Bruins' core of returners is headlined by junior Drew Baird, who posted eight singles results each on Courts 2 and 3. Six seniors with dual-match experience – Roscoe Bellamy, Eric Hahn, Bryce Pereira, Mathew Tsolakyan, Max Wild and Patrick Zahraj -- are also back. Pereira, who a team-high 10 doubles wins in 2020-21, returns for a fifth year. Also back are redshirt junior Blaine Hovenier and sophomores Stefan Leustian and Timothy Li.

Seniors Lucas Bellamy (no records in 2020-21), Ben Goldberg (9-8 singles, 3-0 doubles), Connor Hance (0-1 singles, 1-0 doubles), Connor Rapp (3-2 doubles) and Keegan Smith (13-2 singles, 8-6 doubles), as well as graduate student Sam Feit (11-6 singles, 4-2 doubles), moved on after the end of the 2020-21 season. Govind Nanda (8-4 singles, 5-5 doubles) also left following his junior campaign to pursue a full-time career in professional tennis. Though he exhausted his eligibility after using the extra year afforded by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Goldberg remains with the program in the position of volunteer assistant coach.

The UCLA roster features freshmen Jeffrey Fradkin, Alexander Hoogmartens, Karl Lee and Giacomo Revelli. Fradkin (New York, N.Y.), a 5-Star recruit according to, was the Boys' 14 Combined No. 1 player for the USTA Eastern Section in 2016 and captured the ITF J4 Guatemala singles title in 2019. Hoogmartens (Beersel, Belgium) teamed with Jeffrey von Der Schulenburg to win the ITF J1 Bradenton (Eddie Herr ITF) doubles title in 2019 and participated in the Roland-Garros and Australian Open junior tournaments in 2020. Lee (Sacramento, Calif.), a Blue Chip prospect who was named the top player in his class by in 2017, collected the 2020 UTR Newport Beach (Calif.) Open singles title. Revelli (London, England) advanced to the ITF M25 singles second round in 2021 and qualified for singles main draws at the M25 Calabasas, CA, M15 Warmbad-Villach and M25 Grodzisk Mazowiecki events the same year.

Head coach Billy 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 29th year as head coach and 39th campaign on staff, Martin holds a record of 621-138 (.818) 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.