UCLA Falls to Vanderbilt, 4-3 in NCAA Semifinals
May 19, 2003
Athens, Ga. - Sixth-seeded UCLA's run at a national championship came to an end Monday, as the Bruins fell to No. 7 Vanderbilt, 4-3 in a six hour marathon match at the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships at Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The Bruins, which fall in the semifinals for the second year in a row, end their season with a 24-4 overall record. Vanderbilt (27-3) advances to Tuesday's final and will face the winner between No. 1 Illinois and No. 5 Stanford.
It looked like the Bruins were going to bounce back strong in singles play, as UCLA took the first set on five of six courts. Vanderbilt, however, moved out to a 2-0 lead when No. 1-ranked Bobby Reynolds posted a straight set win over fifth-ranked Clemens, 6-3, 6-4.
Next to finish was court No. 5, where UCLA's Erfan Djahangiri defeated Vanderbilt's Zach Dailey, 6-4, 6-3 to make the score 2-1. Moments later Ketola tied the score at 2-2 following his 6-1, 6-2 decision over Commodore junior Lewis Smith at No. 6 singles.
UCLA then took a 3-2 lead in the dual match when Bruin senior Rodrigo Grilli registered a 6-4, 7-5 win over Lockin at No. 3 singles.
With two matches remaining, a brief rain delay ensued. At that time, Bruin junior Marcin Matkowski had won the first set and was down 3-2 in the second at the No. 2 position. UCLA's Chris Lam had split sets and was down 2-1 in the third set of his match on court No. 4.
When play resumed, Lam got down early and ended up falling to Vanderbilt's Scott Brown, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2. With the dual match now tied at 3-3, all attention focused on court No. 2 where Matkowski and Vanderbilt's Chad Harris were deep into the second set of their match.
With a 7-5, 5-4 advantage, Matkowski was broken by Harris and ended up losing the set in a tiebreaker, 7-2. Down 5-4, Harris had actually fought off two match points on Matkowski's serve.
In the third set, Harris went up two breaks for a 4-1 lead before rain halted play once again. When play resumed about 45 minutes later, Matkowski broke Harris and held serve to make it 4-3. Each player then held serve for the next three games, as Harris was able to serve it out for a 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4 clinching victory.
"Sure I'm disappointed," said UCLA head coach Billy Martin. "I still think we played a great match. It just didn't seem to go our way. (Vanderbilt) is a very good team. You have to give them credit. They fought hard and were competitive."
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