March 13, 2012
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LOS ANGELES - In a rematch of last year's NCAA Round of 16, the fourth-ranked UCLA men's tennis team hosts No. 38 Baylor this Wednesday at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at 2:00 p.m. It marks the Bruins' last match before a 12-day hiatus for final exams and spring break. There is no charge to attend Wednesday's encounter, as all regular-season matches at the LATC are free to the public. Live stats will also be available on the web by clicking HERE.
The UCLA-Baylor series is one of the best rivalries on all of college tennis, with the last eight meetings between the two teams ending in 4-3 decisions. The two teams squared off twice last season, with the Bruins winning 4-3 in Waco, Texas on Feb. 6 thanks to Clay Thompson's match-clinching victory at court No. 4. The Bears got revenge in the round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament, however, as Kike Grangeiro downed Holden Seguso, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(8) in the final match at court No. 5 to give Baylor a 4-3 win. The Bears and Bruins have twice met in the NCAA Final, with Baylor winning 4-0 in Tulsa, Okla. in 2004, and UCLA claiming the national title following a 4-3 win in College Station, Texas in 2005. Baylor (9-5) leads the all-time series 7-3.
The Bruins (12-2) are coming off of a 7-0 victory over Hawai'i last Saturday at the LATC. Thompson played his first-ever match at the No. 1 singles position against the Warriors, downing Chas Okamoto, 6-2, 6-1. Junior Maxime Tabatruong was also impressive on the afternoon, downing Nils Shuhmann, 6-0, 6-0 at court No. 4. UCLA actually won all six singles matches in straight sets and was able to sweep doubles play for just the third time this season.
New team, singles and doubles rankings are due out on Tuesday. The Bruins are currently ranked No. 4 behind USC, Ohio State and Virginia. The complete rankings can be found by clicking HERE.
Several Bruin players were recently involved in the qualifying draw of the USTA Men's Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas, which is a futures-level tournament running this week at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center. Freshmen Marcos Giron and Dennis Mkrtchian squared off in the opening round of qualifying, with Giron taking a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Giron, however, was beaten in the final round of qualifying by UCLA freshman-to-be Dennis Novikov, who won 6-4, 1-6, 6-2. Novikov, who joins the team later this month, faces Brazil's Marlon Oliveira in the main draw. Michael Hui was also in the qualifying draw, as he suffered a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 loss to Dominic Patrick. Former UCLA men's tennis player Daniel Kosakowski is the fifth seed in the main draw and opens up against Australia's Nick Lindahl. More information about the tournament can be found at calabasasprotennis.com