March 11, 2006
LOS ANGELES - One of the best rivalries in men's college tennis was renewed Saturday at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, as seventh-ranked Baylor eked out a 4-3 victory over No. 6 UCLA in a rematch of the last two NCAA Finals. With the loss, the Bruins fall to 10-4 overall, while Baylor improves its record to 10-3.
With a chance of rain in the area, both coaches agreed to start with singles first and play doubles only if necessary. UCLA struck first in the match, taking a 2-0 lead following victories at court Nos. 1 and 3. Sophomore Mathieu Dehaine was first off, posting a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Will Ward at the No. 3 spot. Second-ranked Benjamin Kohlloeffel followed suit at court No. 1, winning by the same score against No. 48 Matija Zgaga.
The Bears, however, fought their way back into the match and actually took a 3-2 lead following straight-set wins by Lars Poerschke (court No. 2), Michal Kokta (court No. 4) and Jon Reckewey (court No. 6). Knowing the Bruins needed one more win to send it to doubles play, junior Chris Surapol came up with a clutch victory at court No. 5, downing Matt Brown, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in the final singles match.
The Bruins struck first in doubles, as eighth-ranked Philipp Gruendler and Kohlloeffel took an 8-4 win over No. 19 Reckewey/Zgaga at court No. 1. However, just when it looked like things were going UCLA's way, the Bears mounted yet another comeback. An 8-5 Baylor victory at court No. 2 set the stage for a dramatic finish at court No. 3, where UCLA's Dehaine/Aaron Yovan and Baylor's David Galic/Ward were in a tight contest for the deciding point. Galic and Ward, who were down 4-1 at one point, came back to win 9-7, sealing the doubles point and giving the Bears the 4-3 victory.
UCLA and Baylor have played in the last two NCAA Finals, with the Bruins taking a 4-3 win this past May in College Station, Texas. Baylor won its first NCAA title in 2004, defeating UCLA, 4-0 in Tulsa, Okla.
UCLA's schedule doesn't get much easier from here, as the Bruins host No. 5 Duke next Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.
|1.||(8) Gruendler/Kohlloeffel (UCLA) def. (19) Reckewey/Zgaga (Baylor)||8-4|
|2.||Kokta/Poerschke (Baylor) def. Abid/Surapol (UCLA)||8-5|
|3.||David Galic/Ward (Baylor) def. Dehaine/ Aaron Yovan (UCLA)||9-7*|
|Baylor Wins Doubles Point|
|1.||(2) Benjamin Kohlloeffel (UCLA) def. (48) Matija Zgaga (Baylor)||6-3, 6-4|
|2.||(5) Lars Poerschke (Baylor) def. Haythem Abid (UCLA)||6-3, 4-6, 6-4|
|3.||(74) Mathieu Dehaine (UCLA) def. Will Ward (Baylor)||6-3, 6-4|
|4.||(52) Michal Kokta (Baylor) def. Philipp Gruendler (UCLA)||6-3, 6-3|
|5.||(78) Chris Surapol (UCLA) def. (104) Matt Brown (Baylor)||6-2, 3-6, 6-1|
|6.||Jon Reckewey (Baylor) def. Michael Look (UCLA)||6-4, 6-4|
|* Denotes Clinching Match -- Singles Order of Finish: 3, 1, 4, 6, 2, 5|