Feb. 21, 2003
Louisville, Ky. - The top-seeded UCLA men's tennis team, winner of seven Team Indoor titles, moved one step closer to capturing an eighth Friday, downing No. 8 Duke, 4-1 to earn a spot in tomorrow's semifinals at the 2003 USTA/ITA National Team Indoors Championships at the Louisville Tennis Club. The Bruins (11-0) will face No. 6 Florida (8-1) on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (EST). The Gators were 4-2 winners over No. 4 Cal.
UCLA started strong, winning the one point awarded for doubles play. Following a Duke victory at the No. 1 position, UCLA rallied to post a pair of 9-7 decisions at the Nos. 2 and 3 courts. The Bruins' No. 2 team of Tobias Clemens and Lassi Ketola were down a break at 6-5 before pulling out their match. UCLA has yet to surrender a doubles point this season.
In singles action, Ketola was the first to finish at the No. 5 court, registering an impressive 6-1, 6-2 victory over Duke freshman Jonathan Stokke. Marcin Matkowski then gave UCLA a 3-0 lead with a 7-6(4), 7-5 win over 33rd-ranked Michael Yani in the No. 2 position.
Duke was able to cut the lead to 3-1 following a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory by 77th-ranked Ludovic Walter over UCLA's Rodrigo Grilli.
Bruin sophomore Alberto Francis clinched the match for UCLA at the No. 6 position, coming back from a set down to knock off Peter Schults, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Clemens had split with Duke's Phil King and Erfan Djahangiri was down against Jason Zimmerman when play was suspended.
UCLA advances to the USTA/ITA semifinals for fourth time in five years, beating Duke for the fourth time in five years as well. The Bruins have reached the semifinals 14 times in 23 appearances.
UCLA bounced Florida from last year's NCAA Tournament in College Station, TX, defeating the Gators, 4-0 in the first round.