May 11, 2003
LOS ANGELES - The sixth-seeded UCLA men's tennis team guaranteed there would be no repeat winner at the NCAA Championships this year, shutting out defending champion USC, 4-0 in the second round of the NCAA Regionals at UCLA's Los Angeles Tennis Center Sunday. With the victory, UCLA (22-3) advances to the 16-team NCAA Championships, May 17-20 in Athens, Ga. The Bruins will meet Oklahoma State (18-4) in the round of 16 on Saturday. The Cowboys upset 11th-seeded Minnesota, 4-2 on Sunday.
UCLA, which had already defeated USC twice during the regular season, came out firing in doubles play, taking the one point awarded for doubles with victories on court Nos. 1 and 3. Following a UCLA victory at the No. 3 court and a Trojan win at the No. 2 position, the Bruins clinched the point when Rodrigo Grilli and Marcin Matkowski posted an 8-6 decision over USC's Prakash Amritraj/Jeff Kazarian.
In singles play, UCLA went ahead 2-0 when fifth-ranked Tobias Clemens posted an impressive 6-1, 6-1 victory over Amritraj at No. 1 singles. Not long after, Bruin senior Erfan Djahangiri gave UCLA a 3-0 advantage with a 6-1, 6-1 victory of his own at No. 5 singles.
The match was clinched at the No. 4 position, where Bruin sophomore Chris Lam cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 win over USC's Ruben Torres.
In addition to keeping the Bruins' NCAA title hopes alive, Sunday's victory also gives UCLA the 2002-03 Lexus Gauntlet. The race ended in a 55-55 tie, however the Bruins own a 4-0 advantage in postseason head-to-head competition with only two more potential postseason matchups between the two schools remaining.
USC, which defeated top-seeded Georgia, 4-1 in last year's NCAA Finals, ends its season with a 14-12 overall record.