April 20, 2004
Bruins Head to Pac-10 Championships . . .
UCLA will be sending a strong contingent of players up to Ojai, Calif. this week for the Pac-10 Championships, Apr. 22-25 at Libbey Park. Luben Pampoulov, Chris Lam, Alberto Francis and Kris Kwinta are all entered in the main draw. Francis and Kwinta are the top seeds in the main doubles draw. The Bruins' other team competing in that draw will be Philipp Gruendler and Pampoulov. Gruendler is the top seed in the Pac-10 Invitational. Also competing in that draw will be Chris Surapol, Aaron Yovan and Jason Nguyen. The Pac-10 Invitational doubles draw will feature top seeds Surapol and Lam, along with the tandem of Nguyen and Yovan. Tournament information can be accessed at the following page: www.ojaitourney.org
Bruins Look to Make it Three in a Row at Ojai . . ..
UCLA players have captured the last two men's singles titles at the Pac-10 Championships, including Rodrigo Grilli in 2002 and Marcin Matkowski in 2003. In all, 26 former Bruins have won singles titles at Ojai. The last time UCLA won three in a row was from 1988-90, when Brian Garrow, Pat Galbraith and Jason Netter went back-to-back-to-back. The Bruins' last doubles title came in 2002, when Matkowski and Jean-Julien Rojer achieved the feat.
UCLA Ties for Pac-10 Title . . ..
UCLA headed into last week needing a little help to claim this year's Pac-10 title. At 4-1, the Bruins desperately needed previously unbeaten USC (5-0) to drop at least one of its final two matches up in the Bay Area. After narrowly defeating No. 11 Stanford, 4-3 and blanking Cal, 7-0, the Bruins awaited the result of Saturday's Stanford vs. USC match. As it turned out, the Cardinal won 5-2, helping UCLA tie USC for this year's Pac-10 title. Since the Trojans defeated the Bruins in the only Pac-10 counting match between the two teams, USC earns the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Final standings can be found here.
Winning Streak Reaches Nine . . ..
UCLA has not lost a dual match since a 4-3 setback to then-No. 10 Duke back on Mar. 10. Since that loss, the Bruins have reeled off nine straight, including four shutouts in a row from Mar. 12-Apr. 2. During the streak, the Bruins have defeated five top-25 teams, including No. 9/11 Stanford (twice), No. 18 Washington, No. 22 Arizona State and No. 25 Arizona.
Francis and Gruendler Lead the Way . . ..
Two reasons for UCLA's recent success has been the play of Alberto Francis and Philipp Gruendler, as both players currently own nine-match winning streaks in singles play. Francis recently captured his 30th singles victory of the season and stands at 30-8 overall, including a 17-4 mark in dual-match play. Gruendler, who also owns a 17-4 record in dual matches, is 18-5 overall.
UCLA Climbing in Polls . . ..
The Bruins are up a spot from No. 4 to No. 3 in the latest rankings released on Apr. 20. Individually, UCLA is the only school in the country to have all six of its singles players ranked. Headlining the group is eighth-ranked Tobias Clemens. He is followed by Alberto Francis (#56), Luben Pampoulov (#68), Chris Lam (#72), Kris Kwinta (#85) and Philipp Gruendler (#99). In doubles, Francis and Kwinta check in at No. 8, while Chris Surapol and Aaron Yovan are ranked No. 60. New team and individual rankings will be released on Apr. 27.
ITA Top-25 (4/20) 1. Illinois 2. Baylor 3. UCLA 4. USC 5. Mississippi 6. Duke 7. Florida 8. Virginia 9. Stanford 10. Georgia 11. VCU 12. Rice 13. LSU 14. North Carolina 15. Kentucky 16. TCU 17. Tennessee 18. Tulane 19. Washington 20. Ohio State 21. Vanderbilt 22. Harvard 23. Texas A&M 24. Arizona 25. Pepperdine
Stay Tuned for NCAA Regionals . . ..
Although it will not officially be determined until May 5, UCLA will likely be one of 16 schools selected to host an NCAA Regional, May 15-16. One winner from each regional will advance to the 16-team NCAA Championships, May 22-25 in Tulsa, Okla. The NCAA Individual Championships will take place from May 26-31, also in Tulsa.