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Men's Tennis Opens Play at Pac-12 Championships Thursday

Apr 20, 2022
Bryce Pereira (Photo: Scott Chandler)

The No. 46 UCLA men's tennis team embarks on the postseason portion of its 2022 dual-match schedule Thursday, when it opens Pac-12 Championships play at Libbey Park in Ojai, Calif. The fifth-seeded Bruins (12-11, 2-4 Pac-12) meet fourth-seeded and 33rd-ranked Utah (20-6, 4-4) in quarterfinal-round action, beginning at 9 a.m. PT. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this represents a return to Ojai for the Pac-12 Championships. The city last hosted the event in 2019.

2022 PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Wednesday, April 20

Match 1: #8 Washington vs. #9 Oregon 12 p.m.

Thursday, April 21
Match 2: #4 Utah vs. #5 UCLA 9 a.m.
Match 3: #1 Arizona vs. Winner Match 1 12 p.m.
Match 4: #2 USC vs. #7 California 3 p.m.
Match 5: #3 Stanford vs. #6 Arizona State 6 p.m.

Friday, April 22
Match 6: Winner Match 2 vs. Winner Match 3 1 p.m.
Match 7: Winner Match 4 vs. Winner Match 5 4 p.m.

Saturday, April 23
Match 8: Winner Match 6 vs. Winner Match 7 3 p.m.

FOLLOW LIVE
Tickets for the 2022 Pac-12 Championships at The Ojai are available HERE. Valid proof of full vaccination is required. More information regarding health and safety protocols can be found HERE.

Live results for all matches at the Pac-12 Championships will be accessible HERE. Pac-12 Networks will televise Saturday's championship match.

LAST TIME OUT
UCLA closed out its regular season Tuesday with a doubleheader sweep of UC San Diego at Los Angeles Tennis Center. Stefan Leustian earned the clinching victory in each match. Jeffrey Fradkin – who prevailed on the dual-match singles courts for the first times in his college career – and Patrick Zahraj were also triumphant twice on the singles courts. Karl Lee also picked up a singles win.

UCLA AT THE PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
UCLA men's tennis has captured the conference's team tournament title four times since the format was adopted in 2012 (2013, 2014, 2016, 2018). USC has won the other five championships. The Bruins have twice achieved runner-up status (2012, 2017). Last year, with the event relocated to Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, UCLA earned a 4-1 consolation win against Washington after suffering a 4-3 loss to Arizona State in the quarterfinal round.

IN THE RANKINGS
UCLA is No. 46 in the latest ITA team rankings, released Wednesday. Individually, Alexander Hoogmartens found himself at No. 30 in the most recent ITA singles rankings, which also came out Wednesday. The freshman from Beersel, Belgium has a 14-6 record this season, including a 6-3 mark against nationally-ranked opponents. Patrick Zahraj, who knocked off then-No. 27 Andre Ilagan of Hawai'i April 12, was elevated to a career-high No. 75. The Bruins are also represented in the doubles rankings, as Hoogmartens is listed with Bryce Pereira at No. 63 and alongside Drew Baird at No. 66. The combination of Pereira and Zahraj is No. 77. Marquee wins for the ranked doubles pairs include then-No. 6 Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye of USC for Hoogmartens/Pereira (April 9), then-No. 43 August Holmgren and Gui Osorio of San Diego for Baird/Hoogmartens (March 7) and then-No. 10 Dostanic and Frye for Pereira/Zahraj (March 1). As a team, UCLA completed the 2020-21 season at No. 25 in the ITA team rankings.

BREAKOUT BRYCE
Fifth-year senior Bryce Pereira, a staple in the Bruins' doubles lineup since his first dual-match season in 2018, won five singles contests in a row from March 29-April 12. He had prevailed just once in dual-match singles play entering this season. Three of his victories during the stretch clinched overall wins, including both ends of a doubleheader with Hawai'i April 12. Pereira has also triumphed a team-high 12 times in dual-match doubles action. He has twice had a hand in upsetting USC's combination of Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye. Pereira and Patrick Zahraj beat the then-No. 10 team March 1. Pereira and Alexander Hoogmartens knocked off the then-No. 6 pair April 9.

BRUINS ON TOUR
Three former UCLA men's tennis players are currently listed in the top 70 of the ATP singles rankings. Mackie McDonald is slotted at No. 51 after climbing to a career-best No. 49 in February. He skyrocketed back into the top 100 in August 2021, on the heels of his ATP Tour final-round appearance at the Citi Open. McDonald beat Top-100 players Nick Kyrgios of Australia, Ilya Ivashka of Belarus, Benoit Paire of France and Kei Nishikori of Japan in Washington. Marcos Giron, meanwhile, is No. 55. He reached a career-best No. 52 in March after watching his number gradually improve throughout 2021. His standout performance came when he advanced through qualifying and into the third round at the ATP Masters 1000 Paris event last November. Giron beat top-50 opponents Frances Tiafoe of the United States 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 in February. Maxime Cressy is at No. 65 after reaching 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 John Isner of the US. Giron (2014 singles), McDonald (2016 singles and doubles) and Cressy (2019 doubles) each won an NCAA individual championship under head coach Billy Martin while at UCLA.

FULL TILT HOOGIE
Alexander Hoogmartens has won eight of 10 singles decisions dating back to Feb. 13, improving his 2021-22 record to 14-6 in the process. Four of his last five victories have come against nationally-ranked opponents, with then-No. 14 Luc Fomba of TCU (March 10 – 6-2, 6-2), then-No. 102 Yuta Kikuchi of California (March 25 – 2-6, 6-2, 6-2), then-No. 2 Arthur Fery (March 26 – 6-3, 6-1) and then-No. 79 Joshua Charlton of Oregon (April 3 - 3-6, 6-4, 6-1) finishing on the opposite ends of those results. For the season, Hoogmartens is 6-3 versus ranked counterparts. He also defeated then-No. 70 Lleyton Cronje of UCF and then-No. 117 Daniel De Jonge of Pepperdine in the fall.

HOOGMARTENS EARNS PLAYER-OF-THE-WEEK HONORS
In his first-career appearances on the top singles court, Alexander Hoogmartens defeated then-No. 102 Yuta Kikuchi of California, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2, and then-No. 2 Arthur Fery of Stanford, 6-3, 6-1. Hoogmartens also teamed with Bryce Pereira to beat Tomas Kopczynski and Timothy Sah of the Cardinal by a 6-3 score on the second court, giving the Bruins the doubles point. As a result, Hoogmartens was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for March 21-27. The weekly conference honor was the first of Hoogmartens' career and 47th in UCLA men's tennis program history. He also collected the ITA x Universal Tennis Player of the Week award for NCAA Division I after his Universal Tennis Rating climbed 0.17 to 13.49.

PACIFIC COAST DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP
Drew Baird and Alexander Hoogmartens defeated teammates Stefan Leustian and Bryce Pereira in the final round of the 132nd Annual Pacific Coast Doubles Championship at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. Started in 1890 at the Hotel Del Monte in Monterey, Calif., the Pacific Coast Doubles Championship has seen the likes of Jack Kramer, Ted Schroeder, Bobby Riggs, Pancho Segura, Don Budge, Tony Trabert, Stan Smith, Bob Lutz, Arthur Ashe, Dennis Ralston and John McEnroe lift its trophy. Joining the finalist quartet in the field were teammates and coaches Blaine Hovenier (seeded fourth with partner Clay Thompson), Rikus de Villiers (seeded 16th with Michael de Villiers), Ben Goldberg (seeded 16th with Grant Chen), Jeffrey Fradkin/Max Wild and Karl Lee/Giacomo Revelli.

UCLA IN 4-3 MATCHES
UCLA holds a 13-10 record in matches decided by 4-3 scores since the start of the 2016 season. Head coach Billy Martin's 2022 team is 1-1 in such results. Drew Baird rallied from a 2-5 deficit to notch the decider against Texas Tech in the Jan. 30 ITA Kickoff Weekend consolation contest. On March 7, at the University of San Diego, Baird was outlasted by No. 8 August Holmgren, giving the Toreros a narrow win. 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.

FALL RECAP
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 Hoogmartens 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.

WHO'S BACK?
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.

WHO'S GONE?
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.

WHO'S NEW?
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 TennisRecruiting.net, 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 TennisRecruiting.net 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
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 629-146 (.812) 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.