Fourth-Seeded Bruins Begin NCAA Play this Saturday

May 9, 2012

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LOS ANGELES - The 16-time NCAA Champion UCLA men's tennis team (22-3) begins its quest for yet another title this week, as the Bruins are scheduled to host NCAA Regional play this Saturday and Sunday at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. UCLA earned a No. 4 seed in the tournament and opens up NCAA play with a first-round match against Eastern Kentucky (19-9) on Saturday at Noon. The other first-round men's match that day features San Diego (17-9) and Fresno State (20-4) at 9:00 a.m. The winners will meet in the second round on Sunday at 1:00 p.m., with the winner of that match moving on to the round of 16 beginning on May 18 in Athens, Ga.

Tickets for this week's NCAA Regionals can be purchased upon entrance to the Los Angeles Tennis Center (there are no advanced ticket sales). Prices are $7 for adults and $5 for youth/students. In addition to the men's regional, the top-seeded UCLA women's tennis team will also be hosting NCAA action at the LATC this week. The full regional schedule is as follows:

NCAA Tennis Regional Schedule
May 11-13 @ UCLA (Los Angeles Tennis Center)

Friday, May 11
Arkansas vs. Long Beach State - 10:00 a.m. (women)
(1) UCLA vs. Eastern Kentucky - 1:00 p.m. (women)

Saturday, May 12
San Diego vs. Fresno State - 9:00 a.m. (men)
(4) UCLA vs. Eastern Kentucky - Noon (men)
Women's Second Round - 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 13
Men's Second Round - 1:00 p.m.

Live stats will be provided for all six matches during the weekend. Click the Live Scoreboard to follow.

UCLA has hosted NCAA Regionals every year since 1999. The Bruins have never failed to reach the NCAA Round of 16, taking perfect 26-0 regional record into this weekend's action. If the seeds hold out until the round of 16, UCLA is looking at a possible matchup with 13th seeded Ole Miss on May 18 in Athens, Ga.

UCLA is coming off of a second-place showing at the first-ever Pac-12 Team Championships two weeks ago in Ojai, Calif. After downing fourth-seeded Cal, 5-0 in the semifinals, the Bruins lost 4-2 to second-seeded USC in the championship match. UCLA's two points came from singles wins by Clay Thompson and Dennis Mkrtchian at court Nos. 2 and 6, respectively. The Bruins had beaten the Trojans, 4-3 in the regular-season finale the week before, snapping their 45-match winning streak. UCLA is the only team to beat USC this season.

Individual selections for the NCAA Singles & Doubles Championships were released last week. UCLA's Nick Meister and Adrien Puget both earned at-large selections to the 64-player singles draw. Thompson is the third alternate and has a good shot at getting in the draw before competition begins on May 23. Complete NCAA selections can be found by clicking HERE.

The ITA recently released its final team, singles and doubles rankings prior to the start of NCAA competition. The rankings were actually calculated on March 30 but just released on Tuesday. As a team, UCLA moved up one spot from No. 4 to No. 5. The Bruins have four players ranked in singles led by Meister at No. 16. He is followed by Puget (#46), Thompson (#62) and Marcos Giron (#84). UCLA does not have any doubles teams currently ranked. Complete rankings can be found HERE.

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