June 5, 2007
UCLA earned a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Championships and was selected to host a four-team regional at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins cruised through regional play with a pair of 4-0 victories over UNLV and Texas Tech in the first and second rounds respectively. Once in Athens, UCLA posted a slight upset with a 4-0 win against No. 8 Oklahoma State. Unfortunately for the Bruins, their seeding matched them up with top-ranked and undefeated Georgia in the quarterfinals. Playing in front of a huge crowd at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, the eventual champion Bulldogs ended the Bruins' NCAA title hopes, handing UCLA a 4-0 loss. The Bruins ended their season with a 22-4 overall record, marking the ninth year in a row that UCLA has reached the 20-win mark.
Abid, Surapol Compete in NCAA Singles Championships
Haythem Abid and Chris Surapol were UCLA's two representatives in the NCAA Singles draw. Abid fell to Georgia's (9-16) Luis Flores, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the first round. Surapol also lost in the first round, falling to sixth-seeded Arnau Brugues of Tulsa, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Benjamin Kohlloeffel was seeded fourth in the singles draw, but had to withdraw due to a chronic back injury. He was also slated to play doubles with Philipp Gruendler.
Benjamin Kohlloeffel was UCLA's lone All-American in 2007, earning that distinction for the third year in a row. Kohlloeffel was named a singles All-American by finishing the season ranked in the top 20 of the Final Fila/ITA Rankings (he ended the season at #5).
Kohlloeffel Honored by the ITA
Benjamin Kohlloeffel was the West Region's recipient of the ITA Senior Player of the Year. He finished the season with a 31-4 overall singles record, including a 23-2 mark at the No. 1 position. He was equally as impressive in doubles, posting a 33-2 overall record. He teamed with Philipp Gruendler at the No. 1 position, going 23-1. The national award was given to Georgia's John Isner.
UCLA in the Final ITA Rankings
As a team, UCLA finished at No. 8 in the Final ITA Rankings published on June 1. Individually, UCLA had three players ranked in singles, led by Benjamin Kohlloeffel at No. 5. He is followed by Haythem Abid (#32) and Chris Surapol (#49). All three of UCLA's doubles teams ended the season ranked, headlined by Schnack and Zalameda at No. 7. Philipp Gruendler and Kohlloeffel finished the season ranked No. 12 in doubles.
Although Benjamin Kohlloeffel was the only Bruin to surpass the 30-win mark this season (he finished 31-4 overall), UCLA had five more players finish with 20 wins or more. Following Kohlloeffel was junior Mathieu Dehaine, who finished 25-9. Haythem Abid (24-5) and Michael Look (24-9) were right behind. Rounding out the list of 20-match winners were Chris Surapol (23-10) and Philipp Gruendler (20-4).
Kohlloeffel Named Pac-10 Player of the Year
Benjamin Kohlloeffel became UCLA's first Pac-10 Player of the Year since Marcin Matkowski and Tobias Clemens shared the award in 2003. Kohlloeffel and Philipp Gruendler were also named the 2007 Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year. In addition to Kohlloeffel, Haythem Abid was also a first-team All-Pac-10 selection. Chris Surapol was named to the second-team, while gruendler took home honorable mention accolades.
UCLA Wins Fourth-Straight Pac-10 Title
UCLA won its fourth-straight Pac-10 title in 2007, 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.
In the Classroom
Junior Jeremy Drean took home the most academic honors in 2007 as, in addition to being named a first-team All-Pac-10 Academic selection, he was also named to the ESPN The Magazine All-District-VIII First-Team, meaning he is now eligible for Academic All-America honors. Drean carries a 3.82 cumulative grade point average and is majoring in Business-Economics. Also named first-team All-Pac-10 were Mathieu Dehaine (3.78 / Business-Economics) and Michael Look (3.87 / Undeclared). Rounding out the group were honorable mention selections Benjamin Kohlloeffel, Chris Surapol and Philipp Gruendler.
So Long Seniors
Four very valuable seniors completed their eligibility this past season. Kohlloeffel is leaving UCLA as the all-time leader in singles victories, ending his career with a 123-16 overall record. Even more remarkable is the fact that he achieved this feat in just three years of competition. He was ranked No. 1 in the nation for much of his career, becoming the first UCLA player to attain the country's top ranking since Justin Gimelstob in 1996. In 2006, he became UCLA's first NCAA Singles champion since Billy Martin in 1975. He is also a two-time champion at the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. Philipp Gruendler earned All-America honors in 2006, ending his career with overall records of 80-30 (singles) and 95-22 (doubles). He played No. 1 doubles for much of his career. Two of his biggest singles wins came in the NCAA Tournament, as he clinched UCLA's victory over top-seeded Illinois in the 2004 semifinals, and won a crucial match against Baylor in the 2005 final that UCLA won. Chris Surapol ends his career with a 95-35 overall singles record. He worked his way from the bottom half of the lineup as a sophomore to eventually play No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles during his senior year. Jaysen Chung is another senior who was a valuable asset to the team. He played in the first dual match of his career in 2007, picking up a victory at No. 6 singles in UCLA's 7-0 win over Oregon.
Martin Continues Quarterfinal Streak
Heading into the season, head coach Billy Martin had never had a team finish out of the top 5 at the NCAA Championships. He kept that streak alive in 2007, advancing to the quarterfinals for the 14th consecutive year (finishing tied for 5th). This season also marked his ninth-straight 20-win season. Coach Martin owns an overall coaching record of 322-63 (.836).