April 24, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The Pac-12 regular-season champion UCLA men's tennis team (21-2; 7-0 Pac-12) begins postseason play this week, as the Bruins head up the coast for the Pac-12 Championships, which run from April 25-28 in Ojai, Calif. The Bruins have earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament, which is now a team competition as opposed to the traditional individual event. As the top two seeds, UCLA and USC get byes directly into the semifinals and will not play until this Friday. The Bruins will take on either No. 4 Cal, No. 5 Washington or No. 8 Arizona at Noon on Friday at Ojai's Libbey Park. If UCLA wins, it will play in the championship match on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. The tournament winner will earn an automatic berth into next month's NCAA Championships. Live stats are not available, however the best way to get the most up-to-date information during the matches is to visit the team's twitter page: @uclatennis.
UCLA heads into the Pac-12 Championships on the heels of a thrilling 4-3 upset over top-ranked and undefeated USC last week at the Marks Tennis Stadium across town. The win snapped the Trojans' 45-match winning streak dating back to last season. It also gave UCLA its first conference title since 2009, snapping a string of two in a row by USC. Last Friday's win avenged a 6-1 loss to the Trojans at the Los Angeles Tennis Center back in February. After dropping the doubles point, UCLA got singles wins from Nick Meister, Marcos Giron, Dennis Mkrtchian and Adrien Puget. With the match tied at 3-3, Puget clinched the victory for the Bruins when he overcame Yannick Hanfmann, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-2 at court No. 5. For his efforts, Puget earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors.
Despite the win over USC, the Bruins didn't move up in the national rankings, remaining at No. 5 in the country for the second week in a row. The Trojans stayed at No. 1 and are followed by Georgia, Ohio State, Virginia and UCLA. Individually, Meister is ranked at a career-high No. 17 in singles this week. The three other Bruin players ranked are Puget (No. 46), Giron (No. 71) and Clay Thompson (No. 73). Puget is also ranked with two different doubles partners, checking in at No. 44 with Alex Brigham and at No. 52 with Nick Meister. Complete rankings can be found HERE.
Three Bruin players head into this week's Pac-12 Championships on hot streaks. Puget leads the way, as he currently owns a 17-match winning streak. His last defeat was a three-set loss against Cal's Ben McLachlan on Feb. 3. Joining Puget are Meister and Mkrtchian, who each own nine-match winning streaks. All three players went undefeated in the team's seven conference matches this season.
The NCAA selection show for the 2012 Men's Tennis Championships will be on Tuesday, May 1 at 2:30 p.m. (PST). The show, which will reveal the 64 team tournament draw, will air live on NCAA.com. Click HERE for more information.