May 23, 2004
Tulsa, Okla. - The fourth-seeded UCLA men's tennis team advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row, posting a 4-0 decision over Clemson Sunday at the University of Tulsa's Michael D. Case Tennis Center. The Bruins (22-5) will face top-seeded Illinois (32-0) in the second semifinal on Monday beginning at 5:00 p.m. (CST). Prior to that, second-seeded USC (23-3) will take on third-seeded Baylor (31-2) in the other half of the draw.
UCLA jumped out on top early in the match, taking two straight doubles matches to claim the one point awarded for doubles play. The Bruins posted a pair of 8-5 wins at court Nos. 1 and 3. UCLA's Philipp Gruendler and Luben Pampoulov were leading 6-5 on serve when play was suspended.
Sunday's match began outdoors but was delayed more than an hour due to heavy thunderstorms. The Bruins finished out the match indoors, but were already in control, having won the first set in all six singles matches before the delay.
First to finish was court No. 4, where Bruin junior Alberto Francis posted a 6-4, 6-3 victory over John Boetsch. Pampoulov put UCLA ahead 3-0 in the match when he dispatched of Goran Sterijovski, 6-0, 6-2 at the No. 2 position.
The match was clinched at the No. 5 spot, where Kris Kwinta defeated Damiisa Robinson, 7-6, 6-3.
"I felt our team played a little bit better today, a little bit more confident and a little bit less tentative," said UCLA head coach Billy Martin. "I felt we came out and played a lot better doubles and continued that in singles. I was really proud at how they took care of business once we came indoors. We're one match away from playing for the national championship, which is our goal,"
The Bruins pushed their winning streak to 13 in a row with the win. UCLA has not lost since a 4-3 setback to Duke back on Mar. 10 in Los Angeles. The Bruins and Illini have already met once this season, with the Illini taking a 4-0 victory in the finals of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors back on Feb. 8 in Seattle. Illinois' 64-match winning streak is the longest in NCAA history. Its last loss was a 4-2 defeat by USC in the NCAA Quarterfinals back on May 19, 2002.
It is the fifth time ever that all four top seeds advance to the NCAA Semifinals. The last time it happened was in 1998.
|1.||(7) Francis/Kwinta (UCLA) def. (37) Jenkins/Thompson (Clemson)||8-5|
|2.||(27) Gruendler/Pampoulov (UCLA) vs. Boetsch/Robinson (Clemson)||Susp.|
|3.||Clemens/ Chris Surapol (UCLA) def. Brad Twente/Young (Clemson)||8-5|
|UCLA Wins Doubles Point|
|1.||(7) Tobias Clemens (UCLA) vs. (96) Nathan Thompson (Clemson)||Susp.|
|2.||(67) Luben Pampoulov (UCLA) def. Goran Sterijovski (Clemson)||6-0, 6-2|
|3.||(60) Chris Lam (UCLA) vs. Jarmaine Jenkins (Clemson)||Susp.|
|4.||(63) Alberto Francis (UCLA) def. John Boetsch (Clemson)||6-4, 6-3|
|5.||(88) Kris Kwinta (UCLA) def. Damiisa Robinson (Clemson)||7-6, 6-3*|
|6.||(107) Philipp Gruendler (UCLA) vs. Ryan Young (Clemson)||Susp.|
|* Denotes Clinching Match - Singles Order of Finish: 4,2,5|