April 25, 2007
Bruins Head to Pac-10 Individual Championships in Ojai
Members of the UCLA men's tennis team will be in Ojai, Calif. this week to take part in the 107th Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament, site of the Pac-10 Championships. Play begins this Thursday at Libbey Park in downtown Ojai. For more information about the event, and to obtain tournament draws, please visit www.ojaitourney.org
UCLA is sending at total of seven players to the Pac-10 Championships. Entered in the main singles draw are Philipp Gruendler, Mathieu Dehaine, Jeremy Drean and Michael Look. Jaysen Chung and Andrew Eklov are playing in the invitational draw. Top-seeded Gruendler and Benjamin Kohlloeffel are participating in main draw doubles, as are Dehaine and Drean. Chung and Look are playing in the invitational doubles draw.
Last Year at The Ojai
UCLA's Mathieu Dehaine and Jeremy Drean are the defending Pac-10 doubles champions. The duo was supposed to face teammates Philipp Gruendler and Benjamin Kohlloeffel in last year's final, however that match was cancelled after Kohlloeffel came down with an illness. Drean also had the Bruins' best singles result at last year's championships, falling in the invitational final to Stanford's Blake Muller, 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-3.
UCLA's Rich History at The Ojai
UCLA has registered a total of 31 singles titles and seven doubles championships in Ojai. The Bruins' last main draw singles champion was Marcin Matkowski, who claimed the title in 2003. Chris Surapol won the invitational singles championship back in 2004. In doubles, Mathieu Dehaine and Jeremy Drean won the title last season, while UCLA's last win in the invitational doubles draw came back in 2000 when Lassi Ketola and Travis Rettenmaier won it all.
UCLA Claims Fourth-Straight Pac-10 Title
UCLA won its fourth-straight Pac-10 title last week, defeating No. 9 USC, 4-3 in a showdown that determined this year's conference champion. With both teams entering Saturday's match with perfect 6-0 records in league play, the winner was awarded this year's title outright. USC struck first in the match, winning on two of three doubles courts to claim an early 1-0 lead. The Bruins, however, didn't back down, getting singles victories from Benjamin Kohlloeffel, Haythem Abid, Philipp Gruendler and Mathieu Dehaine to pull off the 4-3 win. With the match tied at 3-3, Kohlloeffel clinched the victory, posting a 6-4, 6-4 win over USC's Jamil Al-Agba. It marked the first time that UCLA has went undefeated in the conference since 1996. The win also avenged a 6-1 loss to the Trojans earlier in the season in a non-Pac-10 counting match. UCLA, which becomes the first school to win four-straight Pac-10 titles since the north and south divisions were combined in 1998, is the first outright champion since 2003.
Unbeaten at Home
UCLA is 13-0 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center this season, as all three losses have come either on the road or at a neutral site. Although the Bruins will likely host NCAA Regional play in early May, the Bruins are on the verge of their first undefeated season at home since finishing 18-0 back in 2005.
Another Pac-10 Player of the Week Award for Kohlloeffel
Senior Benjamin Kohlloeffel was named this week's Pac-10 Player of the Week, marking the fifth time this season that he has won the award. Kohlloeffel, who is ranked No. 4 nationally in singles and No. 10 in doubles (w/Philipp Gruendler), earned the honor after clinching the 2007 Pac-10 title for UCLA. His victory over Jamil Al-Agba at No. 1 singles clinched a 4-3 victory for the Bruins. He also teamed with Gruendler at the No. 1 doubles position, posting a 9-7 victory over Dejan Cvetkovic/Gary Sacks. Kohlloeffel is 29-3 in singles and 28-1 in doubles this season.
UCLA in the Rankings
After staying at No. 10 for the last three weeks, the Bruins moved up to No. 8 in the Fila/ITA National Team Rankings released on Tuesday. It marks the highest UCLA has been ranked since checking in at No. 8 back on Mar. 20. UCLA has been ranked as high as No. 3 this season (Feb. 6). The Bruins currently have three players ranked in singles play, as Benjamin Kohlloeffel checks in at No. 4, followed by No. 27 Haythem Abid and No. 44 Chris Surapol. Kohlloeffel and partner Philipp Gruendler are ranked No. 10 nationally in doubles.
NCAA Championship Draw Released Next Week
UCLA will find out its NCAA Tournament fate next week, as the 64-team NCAA draw is scheduled to be released live on ESPNews on May 1. UCLA, which was a No. 10 seed in last year's tournament, lost to eventual champion Pepperdine in the quarterfinals at Stanford. This year's championships will be hosted by the University of Georgia.
Closing in on NCAA Title #100
With 99 NCAA team titles, the UCLA Athletic Program is on the verge of making history as the first school to reach No. 100. After a couple of close misses by the women's soccer and volleyball teams in the fall, UCLA is still looking to reach the century mark.
Head Coach Billy Martin
Head coach Billy Martin takes an overall record of 300-59 (.836) into his 14th season at the helm of the UCLA program. Martin is coming off his eighth-consecutive 20-win season, as the 2006 Bruins ended the year with a 20-6 overall record. He has never had a team finish out of the top 5 at the NCAA Championships. Martin was promoted from assistant coach to head coach following the retirement of Glenn Bassett at the conclusion of the 1993 season. Martin, a former NCAA singles champion (1975), led UCLA to the NCAA title in 2005, marking the Bruins' first championship since 1984.