Jan. 18, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The ninth-ranked UCLA men's tennis team (0-0) opens up the 2012 dual-match season this Friday, hosting No. 36 BYU (1-0) at the Los Angeles Tennis Center beginning at 2:00 p.m. Fans interested in coming out to cheer on the Bruins can do so for free, as there is no charge to attend regular-season home matches. Live stats for the match can be accessed by clicking HERE.
BYU has already played one match this season, defeating Weber State, 7-0 in its 2012 season opener. The Cougars will also have another match before heading to UCLA on Friday, as they will take on UC Santa Barbara this Thursday in Santa Barbara.
The Bruins are fresh off an appearance at last week's Sherwood Collegiate Cup in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Nick Meister had the best showing for the Bruins in singles, pushing No. 1 seed and defending NCAA Champion Steve Johnson to the limit in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately for Meister, Johnson prevailed in the end, pulling out a 6-1, 6-7(5), 7-5 victory. He would go on to win the tournament.
Meister's performance at Sherwood was a positive sign for the Bruins heading into the 2012 season, as the redshirt senior was forced to sit out all of 2011 with an injury. Meister's absence last year was a huge loss for UCLA, as he was the team's No. 1 singles player for much of the 2010 season.
Several new additions to this year's team who could see a lot of playing time are a pair of local products in Marcos Giron (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Dennis Mkrtchian (Reseda, Calif.). Giron, the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2011, suffered an injury while playing at the ITA All-American Championships in October and is just now back and playing again. Mkrtchian, a two-time winner at the prestigious Southern California Junior Sectionals, was 4-4 in singles and 6-4 in doubles during fall action. Both players will be instrumental in filling the void left by the graduation of seniors Amit Inbar and Holden Seguso.
Sophomore Clay Thompson begins the spring season as the team's highest-ranked singles player, checking in at No. 72 in the ITA Rankings released on Jan. 3. He is followed by Giron (No. 86) and Adrien Puget (No. 94). UCLA currently does not have any doubles teams ranked. Complete rankings listed HERE.