March 7, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The fourth-ranked UCLA men's tennis plays its first of three-straight non-conference home matches this Saturday, as the Bruins take on Hawai'i at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at 1:00 p.m. UCLA (11-2) is looking to get back in the win column after suffering a loss to cross-town rival USC last Wednesday. There is no charge for admission to Saturday's contest. Fans can also follow from home by accessing the free live stats located HERE.
Hawai'i enters the week with a 1-5 overall record and hosts No. 30 North Carolina on Wednesday before heading to Los Angeles. The Bruins have never lost to the Warriors, owning a perfect 4-0 record. UCLA defeated Hawai'i, 6-1 last season at the LATC.
UCLA suffered just its second loss of the season last week, as top-ranked USC posted a 6-1 win over the Bruins at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins' lone point on the day came from the No. 4 singles position, where sophomore Adrien Puget notched a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 upset over 32nd-ranked Emilio Gomez. Freshman Marcos Giron and junior Maxime Tabatruong came just short of posting wins in their matches at court Nos. 3 and 6, respectively, as both players fell in third-set tiebreakers.
The Bruins wrapped up last week at the 123rd Pacific Coast Doubles Championships at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in La Jolla, Calif. UCLA assistant coach Kris Kwinta actually had the best performance of any Bruin at the tournament, as he and former Baylor standout John Peers reached the final, falling to top-seeded Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher of Stanford, 6-4, 6-4. UCLA's Warren Hardie and Clay Thompson reached the semifinals, falling to Kwinta and Peers, 7-6(0), 7-5.
Following the loss to USC, the Bruins dropped from No. 3 to No. 4 in this week's ITA Team Rankings. New individual rankings were not released this week, meaning that Nick Meister continues to be the team's highest ranked singles player at No. 33. He is followed by No. 81 Thompson, No. 109 Puget and No. 116 Marcos Giron. Meister and Puget check in at No. 52 in the doubles rankings. New team rankings can be found here: HERE. Individual rankings from Feb. 28 can be found here: Singles | Doubles.
UCLA freshman-to-be Dennis Novikov won a prequalifying tournament for the BNP Paribas Open last week, earning a spot in this week's qualifying draw in Indian Wells, Calif. He suffered a 6-1, 7-6(7) loss to Thomas Schoorel of the Netherlands on Tuesday. Novikov will join the team in the coming weeks and could compete for the Bruins as early as March 27 when UCLA hosts LMU. Former Bruin players Daniel Kosakowski and Haythem Abid were also in the qualifying draw. Abid was beaten in the first round by Michael Russell, 6-2, 6-2, while Kosakowski won his opening-round match over Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland, 7-5, 6-3. He then lost to Italy's Paolo Lorenzi, 6-2, 7-6(4) on Wednesday afternoon. For more information about the tournament, please visit the Official Tournament Website.
Following this weekend's match with Hawai'i, the Bruins will host non-conference opponents Baylor (March 14) and LMU (March 27) before opening up Pac-12 play at Oregon on March 30.