May 19, 2007
Athens, Ga. - Battling an undefeated opponent and a partisan crowd, the ninth-seeded UCLA men's tennis team saw its season come to an end Saturday evening, falling to the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs, 4-0 in an NCAA Quarterfinal match at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The Bruins, who finish the season with a 22-4 overall record, reached the quarterfinals for the 19th straight season.
"Obviously we're not tremendously happy, but our guys fought hard tonight," said UCLA head coach Billy Martin. "We started off well in singles, but with Georgia's team and this crowd, it was hard."
In a match much closer than the final score indicated, UCLA had its chances in both doubles and singles but was never able to get on the board. The Bruins dropped the doubles point with a pair of 8-5 losses at court Nos. 2 and 3. UCLA's Benjamin Kohlloeffel and Philipp Gruendler were leading top-ranked Luis Flores and John Isner 7-6 at court No. 1 when play was suspended.
Once singles play began, Georgia (30-0) took the first set on four of six courts. First to finish was court No. 4, where No. 35 Matic Omerzel downed No. 47 Chris Surapol, 6-1, 7-6(3). After dropping a one-sided first set, Surapol fought back to hold two set points on Omerzel's serve at 5-4 in the second set, but was unable to hold on.
Georgia held a 2-0 advantage until 104th-ranked Jamie Hunt dispatched of Bruin sophomore Michael Look, 6-2, 7-5 at court No. 6. Look was down 3-0 in the second set and charged back to win the next five games to take a 5-3 lead. He served for the set up 5-4, but was broken and never recovered.
With the Bulldogs up 3-0, all four remaining matches were extremely close. Both Haythem Abid and Mathieu Dehaine were up a set in their matches at court Nos. 2 and 5 respectively. Gruendler was down a set at court No. 3, but was hanging in there on serve in the second. However, before those players had a chance to come back, the match was clinched at court No. 1, where Isner, the nation's top-ranked singles player, downed No. 4 Kohlloeffel, 7-5, 7-6(1). Kohlloeffel actually saved nine match points at various times in the second set.
"Georgia is an outstanding team, and we can't blame out loss on the crowd," added Martin. "We had a solid team this year, but playing Georgia is tough."
NCAA Men's Tennis Championships - Quarterfinals
#1 Georgia 4, #9 UCLA 0 (at Athens, Ga.)
1. (14) Gruendler/Kohlloeffel (UCLA) led (1) Flores/Isner (UGA) - 7-6 Susp.
2. (16) Helgeson/Omerzel (UGA) def. Abid/Surapol (UCLA) - 8-5
3. Hunt/Schnugg (UGA) def. Dehaine/Jeremy Drean (UCLA) - 8-5
Georgia wins doubles point --- Order of finish: 3, 2
1. (1) John Isner (UGA) def. (4) Benjamin Kohlloeffel (UCLA) - 7-5, 7-6(2)*
2. (28) Haythem Abid (UCLA) led (14) Luis Flores (UGA) - 7-5, 3-3 Susp.
3. (12) Travis Helgeson (UGA) led Philipp Gruendler (UCLA) - 7-6(1), 4-3 Susp.
4. (35) Matic Omerzel (UGA) def. (47) Chris Surapol (UCLA) - 6-1, 7-6(3)
5. Mathieu Dehaine (UCLA) led (95) Nate Schnugg (UGA) - 7-6(5), 3-5 Susp.
6. (104) Jamie Hunt (UGA) def. Michael Look (UCLA) - 6-2, 7-5
Order of finish: 4, 6, 1 --- * Denotes Clinching Match