UCLA Advances to NCAA Round of 16
LOS ANGELES - The fourth-seeded UCLA men's tennis team earned a place in the round of 16 of the NCAA Championships on Sunday, downing 27th-ranked San Diego, 4-0 in an NCAA Second Round match at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins (24-3) now head to Athens, Ga. where they will meet 13th-seeded Ole Miss (15-8) on Friday at Noon (EST) at Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
"That was a dogfight," said UCLA head coach Billy Martin. "It really was a close match. You look at the score and you see 4-0 and it's somewhat misleading. But I did think we looked a little rusty to be quite honest. That's always a concern when you haven't played for a couple of weeks. We just weren't as sharp. But take nothing away from San Diego. They are a darn good team."
UCLA's win on Sunday marked the team's 28th straight victory in NCAA Regional competition. Since regional play began back in 1999, the Bruins have never failed to reach the round of 16.
The Bruins lost a total of just three games in doubles play against San Diego (18-10), cruising to wins at court Nos. 1 and 2. Alex Brigham and Adrien Puget clinched the point at the top spot, downing Patrick Pohlmann and Thibaut Visy, 8-2.
"I was tremendously happy with doubles," said Martin. "I think we played pretty good all the way around. It set a good tone for singles. Adrien really led us again to get us started off on the right foot."
Although singles play wasn't as easy, the Bruins still managed to get by without dropping a match. In the battle of Frenchman at court No. 5, Puget turned in the most convincing win of the afternoon, as he downed Victor Pugliese, 6-1, 6-2 to give UCLA a 2-0 lead.
Playing right next door at court No. 6, freshman Dennis Mkrtchian dropped the first set before rebounding to take a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Ciaran Fitzgerald for UCLA's third point of the afternoon.
There was a race to see who could get the clinching win for the Bruins, as both Clay Thompson and Dennis Novikov were within points of finishing off their opponents at court Nos. 1 and 3, respectively. Novikov would get the clincher, registering a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 victory over Clarke Spinosa to give UCLA the 4-0 win.
UCLA notched its 24th victory on Sunday, giving the team its most wins since winning the national championship in 2005. The Bruins finished 27-3 that season.
2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Regionals
#4 UCLA 4, #27 San Diego 0
May 13, 2012 at Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Tennis Center)
1. #44 Alex Brigham/Puget (UCLA) def. Pohlmann/Visy (USD) 8-2
2. #85 Meister/Novikov (UCLA) def. Pugliese/Spinosa (USD) 8-1
3. Giron/Warren Hardie (UCLA) vs. Bubnic/Fitzgerald (USD) 7-6, unfinished
UCLA Wins Doubles Point
1. #62 Clay Thompson (UCLA) vs. #49 Nikola Bubnic (USD) 7-6 (8-6), 5-3, unfinished
2. #16 Nick Meister (UCLA) vs. #90 Patrick Pohlmann (USD) 6-0, 4-6, 2-1, unfinished
3. Dennis Novikov (UCLA) def. Clarke Spinosa (USD) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
4. #84 Marcos Giron (UCLA) vs. Thibaut Visy (USD) 4-6, 6-4, unfinished
5. #46 Adrien Puget (UCLA) def. Victor Pugliese (USD) 6-1, 6-2
6. Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA) def. Ciaran Fitzgerald (USD) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
San Diego 18-10; National ranking #27
UCLA 24-3; National ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (5,6,3)
UCLA advances to NCAA Round of 16 in Athens, Ga.