May 18, 2003
After having a 9:00 a.m. match yesterday, today's noon match gave us an extra three hours of preparation. I woke up a little earlier than everyone else to pick up some bananas, sandwiches and snacks for the match. I met with the team at around 9:00 for breakfast and we left for the courts at 10:15.
By the time we left, it was raining fairly hard but I still wanted to go to the courts to warm up in the indoor facility. We arrived and had all four courts to ourselves. The other three teams playing the early matches had not yet arrived but we knew it would not be long before they showed up. Within 10 minutes, both Vanderbilt and our opponent Florida showed up and we all split the courts for warm-up. The NCAA committee ruled that the rain would have us play the matches indoors and the other match would play first because they were the higher seed. We went back to the hotel to have lunch and rest until they were done.
I received a phone call to inform me that the outdoor courts were dry and the UCLA vs. Florida match was to begin promptly at 1:45 p.m. I called the team and we left for the courts. The courts were indeed dry even though there was a faint mist in the air. Doubles went off to a good start as #1 and #2 had early breaks. Erfan and Alberto again had slow starts and ended up losing the pro set. Tobias and Lassi probably played one of their best matches as they beat a team they lost to earlier in the year. Marcin and Rodrigo won at #1 to clinch the doubles point.
Singles was intense but we had early leads in three singles matches and felt we were in the driver's seat even though I knew there was still a lot of tennis to be played. Erfan and Chris Lam won key matches and Rodrigo lost a tough match to make the score 3-1 in favor of the Bruins. Marcin and Lassi split sets both losing 2nd set tie-breakers. As it started to rain, we were forced to bring the match indoors. As 500 crazy fans from various schools packed into a rather small indoor facility, you could hear and feel the intensity. Tobias was serving 5-3, 15-15 in the third set when the rain hit. Just a few minutes after play resumed, he ended up closing out his match, giving us a berth in the semifinals for the second year in a row.
We now face a tough Vanderbilt team on a hot streak. They upset #2 Baylor in the quarterfinals and recently won the SEC Championship. I was proud of the team for really stepping up and beating the Gators. It was a little revenge since they had upset us in the semifinals of the National Team Indoors just three months ago.