Feb. 3, 2011
LOS ANGELES - Sophomore Maxime Tabatruong's come-from-behind win at No. 3 singles helped the sixth-ranked UCLA men's tennis team from suffering its first loss of the season on Thursday, as the Bruins edged visiting UC Irvine, 4-3 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
UCLA (5-0) got off to a slow start on Thursday, dropping the doubles point for the first time all season. The lone bright spot for the Bruins in doubles came at court No. 3, where Daniel Kosakowski and Clay Thompson improved to 5-0 in dual matches with an 8-3 victory over Ryan Cheung and Shan Sondhu. The Anteaters (1-4), however, took wins at court Nos. 1 and 2 to take the point and take a 1-0 lead into singles action.
Knowing they needed to win four of six singles matches to pull off the win, the Bruins came out and posted three straight-set victories to take a 3-1 lead in the match. Amit Inbar (court No. 2), Thompson (court No. 4) and Alex Brigham (court No. 6) all managed to take care of business in their respective matches. The problem for UCLA, however, was that UC Irvine had won the first set on the three remaining courts.
Irvine's Chris Kearney, who is ranked No. 33 in the latest ITA Singles Rankings, handed Kosakowski his first loss of the season at the No. 1 singles position, holding on for a 7-6(2), 6-3 win to cut the lead to 3-2. That win was followed up by another UCI victory, as Fabian Matthews notched a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 decision at court No. 5 to tie the match up at 3-3.
All attention then focused on the deciding match at court No. 3, where Tabatruong, who is ranked No. 64 nationally, was in a tight battle with UC Irvine's Sam Gould. Tabatruong lost the first set 6-2 but battled back for a 6-3 second-set win. In the third set, Tabatruong broke Gould's serve twice, eventually taking a 5-3 lead. Tabatruong closed out the final game on his serve, taking the match when a Gould backhand service return sailed wide on match point.
It's not the first time that Tabatruong has come through in a pressure situation, as his three-set win at No. 6 singles against No. 4 USC last year propelled the Bruins a 4-3 upset.
UCLA's week gets much tougher this weekend, as the Bruins travel to Waco, Texas for a showdown with No. 9 Baylor on Sunday at Noon (PST).
#6 UCLA 4, #52 UC Irvine 3
Feb 03, 2011 at Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Tennis Center)
1. Kearney/Stege (UCI) def. Inbar/Adrien Puget (UCLA) 8-4 2. Gould/Henderson (UCI) def. Brigham/Seguso (UCLA) 8-5 3. Kosakowski/Thompson (UCLA) def. Ryan Cheung/Sondhu (UCI) 8-3 Singles
1. #33 Chris Kearney (UCI) def. Daniel Kosakowski (UCLA) 7-6(2), 6-3 2. #86 Amit Inbar (UCLA) def. Steven Henderson (UCI) 6-3, 6-1 3. #64 Maxime Tabatruong (UCLA) def. Sam Gould (UCI) 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 4. Clay Thompson (UCLA) def. Stephen Stege (UCI) 6-1, 6-2 5. Fabian Matthews (UCI) def. Holden Seguso (UCLA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 6. Alex Brigham (UCLA) def. Shan Sondhu (UCI) 7-5, 6-4 Match Notes
UC Irvine 1-4; National ranking #52 UCLA 5-0; National ranking #6 Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,4,6,1,5,3)