May 25, 2004
Tulsa, Okla. - The No. 4-seeded UCLA men's tennis team came just short of capturing its 16th NCAA title Tuesday, falling to third-seeded Baylor, 4-0 in the finals of the NCAA Championships hosted by the University of Tulsa. With the loss, UCLA ends its season 23-6 overall. Baylor finishes 32-2, capturing the schools first-ever national title in any sport.
For the second time in as many days, the Bruins were unable to capture the one point awarded for doubles play, dropping matches on court Nos. 1 and 3.
Already up 1-0, the Bears came out strong in singles, taking the first set on all six courts. First to finish was court No. 4, where Matija Zgaga defeated Bruin junior Alberto Francis, 6-2, 6-3, giving Baylor a 2-0 advantage. The Bears would go up 3-0 shortly thereafter when 15th-ranked Benjamin Becker battled for a 7-6(4), 6-1 decision over 67th-ranked Luben Pampoulov. Becker, who was down 5-2 in the first set, closed out the match by winning 10 of the last 11 games. His victory set the stage for Matias Marin's clinching win at court No. 4. Marin, ranked No. 98 nationally, upset No. 60 Chris Lam, 6-3, 6-2, giving the Bears their first-ever NCAA title.
"We played our best match of the season on the day it mattered most," said Baylor head coach Matt Knoll. "We built up towards this all season. The fan support was just phenomenal. We have never played in front of a more energetic crowd than we did today."
Three matches were still in progress when play was suspended. At court No. 1, second-ranked Benedikt Dorsch was leading seventh-ranked Tobias Clemens, 6-3, 5-5. At the No. 5 position, Baylor's Reiner Neurohr was leading No. 88 Kris Kwinta, 6-4, 5-3, and back on court No. 6, 119th-ranked Ivor Lovrak was up 7-6, 4-4 over No. 107 Philipp Gruendler.
"We had a great year and lost to a great team tonight," said UCLA head coach Billy Martin. "They raised their level and we weren't able to keep up with them in both singles and doubles."
Added Clemens, "I'd like to give Baylor a lot of credit. They had a great season."
A crowd of 2,507 attended Tuesday's match. It will be televised on June 2 at 3:00 p.m. (EST) on ESPN2.
|1.||(20) Dorsch/Zgaga (Baylor) def. (7) Francis/Kwinta (UCLA)||8-5|
|2.||(27) Gruendler/Pampoulov (UCLA) vs. (22) Becker/Marin (Baylor)||Susp.|
|3.||Lovrak/Neurhor (Baylor) def. Clemens/Chris Surapol (UCLA)||8-4|
|Baylor Wins Doubles Point|
|1.||(7) Tobias Clemens (UCLA) vs. (2) Benedikt Dorsch (Baylor)||Susp.|
|2.||(15) Benjamin Becker (Baylor) def. (67) Luben Pampoulov (UCLA)||7-6(4), 6-1|
|3.||(98) Matias Marin (Baylor) def. (60) Chris Lam (UCLA)||6-3, 6-2*|
|4.||(113) Matija Zgaga (Baylor) def. (63) Alberto Francis (UCLA)||6-2, 6-3|
|5.||(88) Kris Kwinta (UCLA) vs. Reiner Neurohr (Baylor)||Susp.|
|6.||(107) Philipp Gruendler (UCLA) vs. (119) Ivor Lovrak (Baylor)||Susp.|
|* Denotes Clinching Match - Singles Order of Finish: 4,2,3|