The Pac-12 regular-season title is on the line this week, as the third-ranked UCLA men's tennis team (21-1; 6-0 Pac-12) hosts No. 4 USC (22-5; 5-0 Pac-12) this Friday at the Los Angeles Tennis Center beginning at 3:00 p.m. The match is part of the USTA College Match Day Series, which highlights collegiate tennis around the country. As a result, the first 100 fans in attendance will receive a commemorative hat. Free pizza will be given out to fans, and the UCLA Band will also be in attendance.
Following the Action
Live stats will be provided for Friday's UCLA-USC showdown by clicking HERE. The team's twitter feed will also be updated during the match. Visit @uclatennis to follow. Ken Thomas from radiotennis.com will be broadcasting the match. Tune in early to hear player and coach interviews.
Pac-12 Title Race
UCLA has a chance to claim back-to-back Pac-12 regular-season titles on Friday, as with a victory the Bruins will finish the conference season with a perfect 7-0 record. UCLA was also 7-0 last year, beating No. 1 USC, 4-3 in the regular-season finale at the Marks Tennis Stadium.
As Close as it Gets
UCLA and USC have already played twice this season, with each team owning a victory over the other. The Trojans struck first, registering a 4-3 victory over the Bruins in the semifinals of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors on Feb. 17 in Seattle. UCLA returned the favor less than a week later at USC's Marks Tennis Stadium, notching a 4-3 win of its own to even score. As amazing as it sounds, the two teams could very well meet again in the Pac-12 Tournament in Ojai, Calif. next week and once again in the NCAA Tournament. That would make it five meetings between the two schools in one season.
Friday marks the final regular-season home match for Bruin seniors Alex Brigham and Maxime Tabatruong. Both players have played a significant role in the team's success the last several years and will be sent off with a special senior ceremony that will take place between doubles and singles. Brigham, from nearby Culver City, has been a standout doubles player for the Bruins. Last season he teamed with Adrien Puget at the No. 1 position, helping UCLA reach the semifinals at the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga. Tabatruong, from Paris, France, has been slowed by injury the last two years, however he has been a solid performer at the Nos. 4-6 positions when healthy.
Bruins Edge No. 7 Pepperdine, 4-3 in Malibu
It wasn't easy but the Bruins managed to register a 4-3 victory over No. 7 Pepperdine at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center on Monday. UCLA lost the doubles point, however was able to win four singles matches, capped off by a thrilling three-set victory from Clay Thompson at court No. 5 to clinch the win. Thompson actually fought off a match point in the third-set tiebreaker against Pepperdine's David Sofaer. A recap of that match can be found HERE.
UCLA In the ITA Rankings
UCLA slipped from No. 2 to No. 3 in the latest ITA team rankings released on Tuesday. Virginia is ranked No. 1 followed by No. 2 Georgia. Singles and doubles rankings were also released this week and Marcos Giron continues to be the team's highest ranked singles player at No. 20. He is followed by No. 22 Adrien Puget, No. 27 Dennis Novikov and No. 71 Dennis Mkrtchian. In doubles, Giron and Novikov are ranked No. 43, followed by Puget and Karue Sell at No. 76. Complete rankings are below:
ITA Rankings (April 16): Team | Singles | Doubles
Sell on Fire
Karue Sell takes an 11-match winning streak into this Friday's meeting with USC. The freshman from Brazil also leads the team in dual-match victories, owning a 20-2 record. Sell, who has played mostly at the Nos. 4-6 positions, has not lost since falling to Eric Johnson on Feb. 22 at USC.
UCLA tennis signee Gage Brymer took home the singles title at one of the most prestigious junior tennis tournaments in the United States on Sunday, as he battled back from set down to defeat Luca Corinteli in the boys' 18s final at the 2013 ASICS Easter Bowl. With the win, Brymer becomes the third Bruin in a row to win the event, following Marcos Giron (2011) and fellow signee Mackenzie McDonald (2012). McDonald also enjoyed a solid performance at this year's Easter Bowl, reaching the boys' 18s doubles final with partner JC Aragone. A write-up on the match can be found HERE