May 18, 2006
UCLA to Meet Seventh-seeded illinois in NCAA Round of 16 . . .
The defending champion UCLA men's tennis team (19-5) continues its quest for a second-straight NCAA title this week, traveling to Stanford, Calif. for an NCAA Round of 16 showdown with seventh-seeded Illinois (24-6). The Bruins and Illini are set to square off on Saturday, May 20 at Noon. The winner of that match will meet either second-seeded Pepperdine or unseeded Florida in the quarterfinals on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Live stats for all of this week's matches can be found at Stanford's Tournament Central.
The Last Time vs. Illinois . . .
The last time UCLA and Illinois took the court together was in the semifinals of the 2004 NCAA Championships in Tulsa, Okla. The top-seeded Illini were the heavy favorites, taking an NCAA record 64-match winning streak into the showdown. UCLA, however, didn't back down, eventually pulling out a 4-3 victory. With the score tied at 3-3, then-freshman Philipp Gruendler won the deciding match, posting a 7-6(1), 1-6, 6-3 win over GD Jones at the No. 6 position. Gruendler and fellow junior Chris Surapol are the only current team members who played in that match.
NCAA Regionals at the LATC . . .
UCLA cruised through NCAA Regional action over the weekend at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, downing Stony Brook (4-0) and 23rd-ranked Colorado (4-0) in the first and second rounds respectively. The Bruins have hosted and advanced through NCAA Regional play every year since it was instituted back in 1998.
A Season to Remember . . .
UCLA earned a No. 7 seed in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, eventually winning six-straight matches to claim the school's first NCAA title in men's tennis in more than 20 years. The Bruins began the tournament by posting wins over Manhattan (4-0) and Cal (4-2) in regional action at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. After advancing to the round of 16 in College Station, Texas, UCLA downed 14th-seeded Tennessee (4-1), No. 2 Virginia (4-1), No. 4 Mississippi (4-2) and eventually top-seeded Baylor (4-3) in the final. The win marked the Bruins' 16th NCAA title in men's tennis, tying it for second place with USC. Stanford leads the country with 17. The Bruins were rewarded with a trip to the White House, along with the UCLA men's and women's water polo teams.
Kohlloeffel Named Top Seed in NCAA Singles Draw . . .
Junior Benjamin Kohlloeffel was recently named the top seed in the 64-player singles draw at the NCAA Championships, which is set to begin one day after the team competition on May 24. In addition, Kohlloeffel and partner Philipp Gruendler are the No. 2 seeds in the 32-team doubles draw. UCLA's last NCAA Singles Champion was current head coach Billy Martin, who captured the title as a freshman in 1975. The last Bruin doubles team to win an NCAA title was Justin Gimelstob and Srdjan Muskatirovic, who claimed the crown in 1996.
Bruins Send Men & Women to Stanford . . .
UCLA is one of eight schools sending both men's and women's teams to the round of 16 this week at Stanford. The other schools are: Stanford, Florida, Baylor, Duke, Miami, Notre Dame and North Carolina.
All-Pac-10 Honors Announced . . .
After setting a new school record by going a perfect 20-0 in dual-match play this season, Benjamin Kohlloeffel and Philipp Gruendler took home Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year honors in the annual postseason awards handed out by the conference two weeks ago. Kohlloeffel was also a first-team selection, while freshman Haythem Abid was named to the second team. Junior Chris Surapol, who is 19-1 in dual-match play in 2006, was named an honorable mention selection. The Pac-10 Player of the Year was Conor Niland of Cal, while Stanford's John Whitlinger and Matt Bruch took home coach of the year and freshman of the year honors respectively.
UCLA Ranked 10th, Kohlloeffel Holds on to No. 1 Spot . . .
UCLA checked in at No. 10 in the final Fila/ITA Rankings of the regular season released on May 1. Junior Benjamin Kohlloeffel is ranked No. 1 in singles, followed by No. 96 Chris Surapol and No. 100 Mathieu Dehaine. Philipp Gruendler and Kohlloeffel are ranked No. 2 in doubles. New rankings will not be released again until after the NCAA Championships.
Bruins Clinch Pac-10 Title . . .
After finishing the conference season with identical 6-1 records, UCLA and Stanford were named Co-Pac-10 Champions in 2006. The Bruins received the automatic bid to the tournament after beating the Cardinal, 6-1 in the conference meeting. It marks the third year in a row that UCLA has been co-champions. The Bruins shared the title with USC in 2004 and with Washington in 2005. After claiming the title outright in 2002, the Bruins have now won four of the last five Pac-10 titles.
Did You Know? . . .
UCLA is the only school to compete in every NCAA Tournament since the team format was adopted in 1977. In fact, the Bruins have advanced to at least the quarterfinals in each of Billy Martin's 12 years as head coach.
Championship U . . .
When the UCLA women's water polo team defeated USC, 9-8 in the NCAA Finals this past Sunday, the UCLA athletic program captured its 99th NCAA Team Championship. The race is now on to capture title No. 100, as both tennis teams, both golf teams and the Bruin softball team are all currently competing in NCAA Tournament action. UCLA leads the nation in NCAA titles, with Stanford (91) and USC (84) close behind.
Martin on the Verge of #300 . . .
If the Bruins beat Illinois in the round of 16 this Saturday, head coach Billy Martin will notch is 300th career victory at UCLA. Only Glenn Bassett, who amassed 592 victories in 27 years as head coach (1967-93), has more wins than Martin at UCLA.
Another 20-Win Season? . . .
A UCLA victory on Saturday will also give the Bruins 20 victories for the eighth season in a row. UCLA, which currently stands at 19-5 overall, has only had one sub-20 win season in the last 10 years (17-8 in 1998).
By The Slimmest of Margins . . .
All five of UCLA's losses this season have been 4-3 scores and have come against teams still alive in the round of 16. Georgia, Pepperdine, Baylor, Stanford and Washington were the five teams that beat UCLA in 2006. Four of those teams are in the opposite side of the draw from UCLA. Second-seeded Pepperdine will be the Bruins' opponent if both teams can notch wins in the round of 16.
Gruendler in the clutch . . .
If history is any indication, junior Philipp Gruendler will be playing his best tennis of the season this week at Stanford. In the last two NCAA Tournaments, Gruendler, a junior from Weil Am Rhein, Germany, has won two huge matches in crunch time. In 2004, he sent UCLA to the finals by winning the clinching match in the Bruins' 4-3 victory over top-seeded Illinois in the semifinals. Last season, with UCLA down 3-2 and on the verge of defeat against Baylor in the NCAA Final, Gruendler rallied from a set down to defeat Vladimir Portnov, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4) at No. 6 singles. That victory kept the Bruins alive in the match, setting up Kris Kwinta's match-clinching win at court No. 3.
Freshman Michael Look . . .
With a 22-8 overall record, including a 14-4 mark in dual-match play, you could say that freshman Michael Look has adjusted well in his first season of college tennis. A former No. 1-ranked junior in Australia, Look is also 3-1 against ranked opponents this season. His highest-ranked win on the season was over 18th-ranked Roger Matalonga of Arizona at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic.
Gruendler/Kohlloeffel on the verge of another record . . .
Second-ranked Philipp Gruendler and Benjamin Kohlloeffel will both tie the school record for single-season dual-match doubles victories with a win this week. Gruendler and Kohlloeffel are 22-0 in dual-match play this season, one short of the record of 23 set by both Craig Venter in 1983 and Matt Breen in 1996. Although Gruendler and Kohlloeffel have played every doubles match together this season, the record is an individual on. Earlier this season, they set the record for consecutive dual-match wins as a team, with their 20th in a row.
Surapol taking care of business at court no. 5 . . .
Although UCLA's top three singles players get much of the attention by playing on the stadium courts of the Los Angeles Tennis Center, one Bruin player has been quietly mowing down the competition in the back. That player, junior Chris Surapol, owns a remarkable 19-1 record in dual matches this season. His only loss was a three-set affair with Georgia's Strahinja Bobusic at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors. Since then he has won his last 12 dual matches, and is 30-6 overall. One of his biggest wins came when he defeated Cal's Daniel Sebescen, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, clinching a 4-3 victory for the
French Nationals Head Up No. 3 Doubles Position . . .
After sitting on the sidelines during last season's NCAA title run, sophomores Mathieu Dehaine and Jeremy Drean have made a dramatic impact in their second season in Westwood. Dehaine and Drean made up one of the top teams in France before deciding to attend UCLA. The duo, who owns a 7-1 mark at the No. 3 position this season, claimed the 16-under French Junior title and represented its country at a number of ITF sanctioned events. Dehaine also plays No. 3 singles for the Bruins and is 26-14 overall.
Familiar Territory . . .
No other visiting team this week has enjoyed more success at the Taube Tennis Center than UCLA. In fact, Stanford's 4-3 win over the Bruins this season snapped a four-match Bruin winning streak at Taube Stadium.
Head Coach Billy Martin . . .
UCLA head coach Billy Martin owns a 299-58 (.838) overall record in his 13th season in Westwood. He led UCLA to its first NCAA title in more than 20 years this past May, as the Bruins pulled off a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Baylor in the 2005 NCAA final. As a player at UCLA in 1975, Martin captured the NCAA Singles Championship before going on to a very successful professional career. He is a member of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame.
projected NCAA lineup . . .
DOUBLES (ITA Ranking)
1. Gruendler/Kohlloeffel (2)
3. Dehaine/Jeremy Drean