May 17, 2007
Athens, Ga. - The ninth-seeded UCLA men's tennis team cruised to a 4-0 victory over No. 8 Oklahoma State in the NCAA Round of 16 at Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex on Thursday. With the win, the Bruins (22-3) set up a quarterfinal meeting with top-ranked and undefeated Georgia (29-0) on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. (EST). Georgia was a 4-0 winner over unseeded Florida on Thursday.
With UCLA up 3-0 in the match, sophomore Michael Look clinched the match for the Bruins with his 7-5, 6-3 victory over Nathan Byrnes at court No. 6. That win was preceded by straight-set victories from Mathieu Dehaine (court #5) and Philipp Gruendler (court #3).
"I am very happy to be able to clinch the match for my team," said Look. "It's always good to get off to a strong start in the tournament. These courts were a bit slower than I'm used to, but I was able to adjust and finish out the match on top."
UCLA looked strong in doubles, taking a 1-0 lead with victories at court Nos. 1 and 2. The Bruins clinched the point when 14th-ranked Gruendler and Benjamin Kohlloeffel posted a 9-8(4) victory over OSU's Daniel Byrnes/Oleksandr Nedovyesov. Haythem Abid and Chris Surapol got things started for the Bruins with a commanding 8-2 victory at court No. 2. Dehaine and Jeremy Drean were leading 7-6 at court No. 3 when UCLA clinched the point.
"This was an incredibly hard fought match," said UCLA head coach Billy Martin, who has guided the Bruins to at least the NCAA Quarterfinals in each of his 14 seasons as head coach. "All of the singles matches were close and could've gone the distance. The 4-0 final score in no way indicates the closeness of this match."
UCLA, which is just 3-11 lifetime against Georgia, takes a 13-match winning streak into Saturday's showdown. The last time these two teams met during the NCAA Tournament was a semifinal meeting back in 2002, a 4-2 Georgia win.
"I know the crowd will be intimidating," said Look on the prospect of facing Georgia on its home courts. "I think the most important thing for us is to get mentally ready for the crowd."
1. (14) Gruendler/Kohlloeffel (UCLA) def. (47) D. Byrnes/Nedovyesov (OSU) - 9-8(4)
2. Abid/Surapol (UCLA) def. Burmistrau/N. Byrnes (OSU) - 8-2
3. Dehaine/Jeremy Drean (UCLA) led Petrov/Puchakarov (OSU) - 7-6 Susp.
UCLA wins doubles point --- Order of finish: 2, 1
1. (4) Benjamin Kohlloeffel (UCLA) led (23) Oleksandr Nedovyesov (OSU) - 6-4, 3-6, 3-2
2. (28) Haythem Abid (UCLA) led (30) Ivan Puchkarov (OSU) - 7-6(4), 4-5 Susp.
3. Philipp Gruendler (UCLA) def. Daniel Byrnes (OSU) - 6-4, 7-5
4. (47) Chris Surapol (UCLA) led Dmytro Petrov (OSU) - 7-5, 2-2 Susp.
5. Mathieu Dehaine (UCLA) def. Artsem Burmistrau (OSU) - 6-1, 6-1
6. Michael Look (UCLA) def. Nathan Byrnes (OSU) - 7-5, 6-3*
Order of finish: 5, 3, 6 --- * Denotes Clinching Match