May 12, 2002
Los Angeles - The No. 4-seeded UCLA men's tennis team lost the doubles point but rallied to win four singles matches en route to a 4-1 decision over San Diego State in an NCAA Regional Final Sunday at UCLA's Los Angeles Tennis Center. With the victory, UCLA (21-4) moves on to the NCAA Round of 16 in College Station, TX and will play 13th-seeded Florida on May 18. The Gators were a 4-3 winner over South Florida on Sunday. With the loss, San Diego State finishes its season at 18-9.
The Aztecs came out strong in doubles play, quickly taking an 8-1 decision in the No. 2 position, where Felix Hardt and Valentino Pest defeated UCLA's Alberto Francis/Rodrigo Grilli, 8-1. SDSU then clinched the doubles point in the No. 1 slot where third-ranked Olivier Maiberger/Ryan Redondo edged top-ranked Marcin Matkowski/Jean-Julien Rojer, 8-6.
The Bruins took control in singles play, taking the first set on five of six courts. Bruin junior Lassi Ketola was the first to finish after registering a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Gabe Coren in the No. 6 slot. Just moments later, Rojer put the Bruins up 2-1 with a 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over SDSU's Travis Hasson at No. 4 singles.
Next to finish was court No. 3, where Matkowski notched a 6-4, 6-3 win over Hardt to make the score 3-1 UCLA. Bruin sophomore Tobias Clemens clinched the match for UCLA at No. 1 singles where he defeated Maiberger, 6-2, 7-6(3).
"I respect San Diego State so much," UCLA head coach Billy Martin said. "We knew that we were going to have to come out and play hard if we wanted to win. I think we have as good a shot as anybody. We have to be ready for Florida, they are a good team."
The Bruins, which have won 15 NCAA Championships in men's tennis, are aiming for their first title since 1984. UCLA owns a 7-0 all-time record against Florida.