BERKELEY - With their wins in singles, Ben McLachlan and Gregory Bayane pulled No. 15 California to within 3-2 of fourth-ranked UCLA in the Pac-12 opener on Friday, but the Golden Bears ultimately lost the dual match, 5-2, to the Bruins at the Hellman Tennis Complex. Cal's record now stands at 8-8 (0-1 in the Pac-12), while UCLA improved to 15-1 (1-0 Pac-12).
Earlier, UCLA claimed the doubles point after wins on courts one and three. The court-three match ended first, as Bayane and sophomore Chase Melton fell to Mkrtchian and Alex Brigham, 8-4. The 40th-ranked duo of junior Campbell Johnson and senior Christoffer Konigsfeldt then lost to No. 60 Giron/Dennis Novikov, 8-6, on court one.
Konigsfeldt and Novikov met again in singles, with Cal's co-captain dropping a 6-2, 6-4, match to the 32nd-ranked Bruin. Freshman Mads Engsted then lost to No. 114 Clay Thompson, 6-4, 6-1, to give UCLA a 3-0 lead in the team scoring.
Bayane, a sophomore, claimed Cal's first point of the match with a 6-4, 6-3, upset win over No. 57 Dennis Mkrtchian on court three. McLachlan, a junior ranked 44th in singles, then upset No. 14 Marcos Giron, 6-2, 7-6(5), on court one to lift Cal to within one of the Bruins.
But UCLA clinched the victory on court six, as Melton fell to Karue Sell, 6-2, 6-4, to make the score 4-2. On court three, Johnson, ranked 46th in singles, lost to No. 19 Puget, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, to make the final score 5-2.
"We're a better team than we were a month ago, and I'm encouraged by how we competed today," Cal head coach Peter Wright said. "Both Ben McLachlan and Gregory Bayane played high-level tennis, notching wins over top-quality players. We had plenty of chances today, and there are a couple of things we can do better. UCLA is one of the teams that will be in the conversation for a national championship. Today we took some small steps toward our goal of being in that conversation."
Cal hosts No. 2 USC on Sunday, March 31, at 1:30 p.m. at the Hellman Tennis Complex. The Pac-12 Networks will broadcast the match live starting with singles at 3 p.m.
No. 4 UCLA 5, No. 15 California 2
March 29, 2013, in Berkeley, Calif.
Hellman Tennis Complex
1: No. 60 Giron/Novikov (UCLA) def. No. 26 Johnson/Konigsfeldt (California) - 8-6
2: No. 40 Engsted/B. McLachlan (California) vs. No. 62 Puget/Sell (UCLA) - Abandoned
3: Mkrtchian/Brigham (UCLA) def. Bayane/Melton (California) - 8-4
(UCLA wins the doubles point)
Order of Finish: 3, 1.
1: No. 44 Ben McLachlan (California) def. No. 14 Marcos Giron - 6-2, 7-6(5)
2: No. 32 Dennis Novikov (UCLA) def. No. 66 Christoffer Konigsfeldt (California) - 6-2, 6-4
3: No. 19 Adrien Puget (UCLA) def. No. 46 Campbell Johnson (California) - 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
4: Gregory Bayane (California) def. No. 57 Dennis Mkrtchian - 6-4, 6-3
5: No. 114 Clay Thompson (UCLA) def. Mads Engsted (California) - 6-4, 6-1
6: Karue Sell (UCLA) def. Chase Melton (California) - 6-2, 6-4
Order of Finish: 2, 5, 4, 1, 6, 3.