May 18, 2003
Athens, Ga. - UCLA's Tobias Clemens came from a set down to win in three sets Sunday, clinching a 4-1 victory for sixth-seeded UCLA over No. 3 Florida in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex. UCLA (24-3) now advances to Monday's semifinals and will take on seventh-seeded Vanderbilt (26-3) at Noon (EST). The Commodores upset No. 2 Baylor, 4-0 on Sunday.
UCLA claimed the doubles point with victories on the top two courts. Florida took the first match, with an 8-4 decision at the No. 3 position. The Bruins answered back with an 8-2 victory at the No. 2 spot. UCLA clinched the doubles point at the No. 1 position, where 24th-ranked Rodrigo Grilli and Marcin Matkowski posted an 8-4 win over 16th-ranked Hamid Mirzadeh/Chris McDonald.
In singles play, Florida quickly tied the match at 1-1 when Troy Hahn defeated UCLA's Rodrigo Grilli, 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 3 spot. Bruin senior Erfan Djahangiri put UCLA ahead 2-1 following his 6-1, 7-5 victory over Matt Behrmann at the No. 5 position.
Just a few minutes later, UCLA's Chris Lam, who clinched the match against Oklahoma State on Saturday, defeated Olivier Levant, 6-4, 6-4 at the No. 4 spot.
With UCLA ahead 3-1, all three remaining matches then moved to a third set. Clemens was up 5-3, Matkowski was down 5-3 and Lassi Ketola was deadlocked at 3-3 when rain forced play indoors.
Play indoors lasted just two minutes, as Clemens served out his match to defeat Mirzadeh, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. Clemens, who has not lost a match since March 5, pushed his winning streak to 13 in a row. Sunday also marked the first time he has dropped a set in 13 matches.
With the victory, the Bruins avenge a 4-1 loss to the Gators back on Feb. 22 at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors. It also marks the second year in a row that UCLA ends Florida's season, as the Bruins defeated the Gators in the NCAA Round of 16 in 2002.
UCLA Head Coach Billy Martin
"We missed several oppurtunities today. There were two matches that we were up in the second set and we were unable to close it out. I am happy to come away with a win today. They beat us earlier this year and it was nice get a little revenge today. We face a great team tomorrow in Vanderbilt. They beat Florida earlier this season and won the SEC Tournament."
No. 1 Singles Tobias Clemens
"We wasted a lot of oppurtunities today. Hamid (Mirzadeh) could have put me away several times in the match but I fought back and was able to come away with a victory. That is the great thing about college tennis, anything can happen. I knew that I could come back and win."
Florida Head Coach Andy Jackson
"I am very proud of our team. Today's match was one of the better matches of the year. UCLA was too good today and they deserved to win. UCLA versus Vanderbilt will be an extremely close match tomorrow. I think that either one of those teams can win the tournament."
Florida No. 1 Singles Hamid Mirzadeh
"I was up throughout the match today but I let Tobias back in. It was a close match that could have gone either way. I let my opponent back in the match yesterday after I was up. I need to learn how to finish."