Feb. 28, 2012
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LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Tennis Center plays host to the premier matchup in men's college tennis this week, as third-ranked UCLA hosts top-ranked USC on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. The two teams enter Wednesday's showdown with a combined record of 24-1 this season, as the Trojans come in undefeated at 13-0, while the Bruins are 11-1 overall. There is no charge for admission to the match. Free pizza will be offered to the first 100 fans in attendance. Fans can also win prizes by taking part in the Bruin Trivia and raffle contests. The UCLA band will be in attendance to play during the pre-match festivities. Those who are unable to attend the match in person are encouraged to follow the free online LIVE STATS.
Wednesday's match is officially a non-conference meeting, with the Pac-12-counting match between the two teams slated for April 20 at USC. The three-time defending NCAA Champion Trojans are coming off a recent win at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Virginia, beating Ohio State, 4-3 in the final on Feb. 20. They have since posted shutouts over San Diego and San Diego State. UCLA, which fell to Duke, 4-2 in the opening round of the Indoors, rallied to win a pair of consolation matches in Virginia, downing both Tennessee (4-0) and Cal (4-3). In their only match last week, the Bruins shutout St. Mary's, 7-0. Since 1967, the Bruins have posted a 69-38 all-time record against their cross-town rival.
The featured singles match on Wednesday will be at the No. 1 position, where fifth-ranked Steve Johnson of USC and 33rd-ranked Nick Meister of UCLA will do battle. The two players have already faced off once this season, with Johnson edging Meister, 6-1, 6-7, 7-5 at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup in January.
New team and individual rankings were released on Tuesday, marking the first time this season that the rankings were calculated by a computer formula rather than a ballot. The Bruins, who were ranked No. 8 following the Indoors, jumped five places to No. 3 this week. Individually, Nick Meister continues to be the team's highest ranked singles player at No. 33. He is followed by No. 81 Clay Thompson, No. 109 Adrien Puget and No. 116 Marcos Giron. UCLA also has a doubles team ranked for the first time this season, with Meister and Puget checking in at No. 52. Complete ITA Rankings can be found HERE.
Following the USC showdown this Wednesday, several Bruin players will then head to La Jolla, Calif. to take part in the 123rd Pacific Coast Doubles Championships, played annually at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. The tournament, which is only doubles, features juniors, college and open players all competing for the same title. Because it is not an officially sanctioned ITA event, results from the tournament will not have any impact on player records or rankings. Current Bruin teams competing in La Jolla this week include: Meister/ Puget, Alex Brigham/ Giron, Dennis Mkrtchian/Maxime Tabatruong and Warren Hardie/Thompson. UCLA assistant coach Kris Kwinta will also be playing in the draw with ATP Tour veteran Jeff Tarango. Bruin volunteer assistant coach Amit Inbar will be linking up with former teammate Haythem Abid. The event has a rich history, as it is the second-oldest tennis tournament in the United States. Visit the USTA Tournament Website for draws and more information.