March 7, 2002
Los Angeles - The No. 3-ranked USC men's tennis team just could not hold on to the lead, falling to No. 4 UCLA, 4-3, Thursday afternoon at Marks Tennis Stadium. With the loss, the Trojans drop the first conference-counting match of the season and fall to 10-3 overall. The Bruins improve to 13-1 overall and 1-0 in the Pac-10.
USC began the match with dominating intensity in doubles play against the talented UCLA pairs. Daniel Langre and Prakash Amritraj were the first to record a win by defeating Tobias Clemens and Erfan Djahangiri, 8-5, at No. 3. The Bruins evened it out by winning 8-6 at No. 2.
UCLA's second-ranked Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcin Matkowski and USC's 19th-ranked Ryan Moore and Nick Rainey were the deciding factor at center court as the Trojans held off a Bruin rally to win 8-6. USC entered singles with a 1-0 lead.
To begin singles play, Moore handled Rodrigo Grilli for a 6-3, 6-2 USC win, but the Bruins answered at court No. 1 as Clemens defeated Andrew Park 6-3, 6-1. The Trojans pulled out to a 3-1 lead thanks to a 6-4, 6-4 win by Rainey at No. 4, but again UCLA returned with a 7-5, 7-6 win at No. 3.
With a 3-2 lead, Langre was a point away from sealing the USC victory. After defeating Lassi Ketola 7-6 in the first set, Langre led 5-3 in the second. That's when Ketola rallied to take the second set, 7-6, and push the match into a third. Meanwhile, USC's Ruben Torres and UCLA's Djahangiri split the first and second sets and were also playing a third. First it was Djahangiri who walked away with the 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win at No. 6 which tied the match at three apiece, then Ketola followed with a 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 win at No. 5 to give the Bruins a 4-3 victory.
Highlights from the match and the center court singles and doubles matches will be aired on Fox Sports West 2 on Tuesday, March 12, at 1 p.m.
UCLA returns to the courts next Wednesday to host Duke at the LATC beginning at 1:30 p.m.