May 21, 2010
Athens, Ga. - The UCLA men's tennis team booked a spot in the NCAA Quarterfinals for the 22nd year in a row on Friday, as the ninth-seeded Bruins dispatched of eighth-seeded Stanford, 4-2 in a round of 16 showdown at Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Next up for UCLA (17-6) is a meeting with No. 1 Virginia (38-1) on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. (EST).
"This was just a great win for our program," said UCLA head coach Billy Martin. "We started out strong and were able to win the doubles point, which I thought was extremely crucial. Both Holden (Seguso) and Alex (Brigham) really came through for us. I thought we started really well in singles too, but the move indoors kind of hurt us to be quite honest. Thankfully Matt (Brooklyn) really stepped it up and got a big win over a really good opponent."
Although the Cardinal posted a 4-3 victory over the Bruins earlier this season at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, UCLA played that match without two of its starters, as both Haythem Abid and Seguso sidelined due to injury. Having the two players back in the lineup on Friday made a huge difference, especially in doubles where the Bruins clawed out tight doubles point. After a Stanford win at court No. 1, Abid and Brooklyn notched an 8-6 victory at the No. 2 spot to even things up. Seguso and Brigham, who started 0-3 down against Matt Kandath and Denis Lin at court No. 3, eventually battled back to force a tiebreaker, giving UCLA the doubles point with a 9-8(5) victory.
UCLA got off to a solid start in singles, taking the first set on three of six courts. Rain, however, forced the contest to be moved indoors before any of the matches could finish. Following the brief delay, the Bruins managed to win two out of the first three matches, moving out to a 3-1 lead with straight-set wins by Amit Inbar and Seguso at court Nos. 5 and 4, respectively. Stanford's lone point came when Bradley Klahn outlasted junior Nick Meister, 6-4, 6-2.
Although the Bruins were within a point of clinching the win, Stanford's Ryan Thacher made things interesting at court No. 3, as his 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 win over Abid cut the score to 3-2.
The good news for UCLA, however, was that it needed to win just one of the final two remaining matches to pull out the win. The Bruins would get that point at court No. 3, where Brooklyn registered a 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 victory over Stanford's Alex Clayton, giving UCLA the 4-2 win. It was a fitting end for the Bruins, who suffered a crushing loss to the Cardinal earlier in the year on Clayton's match-clinching win over Inbar.
Brooklyn's win was crucial, as Stanford's Greg Hirshman owned a 3-1 lead in the third set over Bruin freshman Maxime Tabatruong at court No. 6 when play was suspended.
UCLA and Virginia met last year at the ITA National Team Indoors, with the Cavaliers pulling out a close 4-3 win. Virginia leads the all-time series 3-2.
"Everybody knows they are a great team," said Martin, who in 17 years of coaching at UCLA has never had a team fail to reach the quarterfinals. "But I'm looking forward to the challenge and I know my guys are as well. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I love these type of matches."
#9 UCLA 4, #7 Stanford 2
May 21, 2010 at Athens, Ga. (Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
NCAA Round of 16
1. #4 Klahn/Thacher (STAN) def. #16 Inbar/Meister (UCLA) 8-3 2. Abid/Brooklyn (UCLA) def. #51 Clayton/Wire (STAN) 8-6 3. Alex Brigham/Seguso (UCLA) def. Matt Kandath/Lin (STAN) 9-8(5) Singles
1. #13 Bradley Klahn (STAN) def. #71 Nick Meister (UCLA) 6-4, 6-2 2. #84 Ryan Thacher (STAN) def. #51 Haythem Abid (UCLA) 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 3. #58 Matt Brooklyn (UCLA) def. #62 Alex Clayton (STAN) 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 4. #117 Amit Inbar (UCLA) def. Denis Lin (STAN) 6-3, 6-2 5. Holden Seguso (UCLA) def. Richard Wire (STAN) 6-3, 6-3 6. Greg Hirshman (STAN) vs. Maxime Tabatruong (UCLA) 5-7, 6-3, 3-1, unfinished Match Notes
UCLA 17-6; National ranking #9 Stanford 20-6; National ranking #7 Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (4,1,5,2,3)