Sunday, September 15

Men’s tennis aims to redeem earlier 4-0 loss to USC

Junior Nick Meister and UCLA host USC today at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, looking for redemption from their 4-0 loss to the Trojans earlier this season.

Junior Nick Meister and UCLA host USC today at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, looking for redemption from their 4-0 loss to the Trojans earlier this season.

Morgan Glier

Coming into Wednesday’s match against the Trojans, the toughest challenge for the UCLA men’s tennis team may be putting the past behind them.

The No. 6 Bruins (6-2) have had a tumultuous start to their season to say the least. UCLA has already seen four of its matches either postponed or cancelled because of rain.

And during their trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va., even though UCLA was able to avoid the rain, they were not able to avoid a delayed flight out of Los Angeles, forcing them to play the tournament with limited sleep and preparation time.

Even worse, the fatigued Bruins were demolished by No. 5 USC (11-1) at the National Team Indoors, losing 4-0 in a consolation match between the crosstown rivals.

“I think it was a combination of everything,” UCLA junior Nick Meister said in reference to the Bruins’ lackluster performance against the Trojans on Feb. 14. “We were a little down from the day before, the lack of sleep, cold weather. It was just everything put together.”

But come this afternoon, UCLA coach Billy Martin hopes his team is able to push their recent misfortune to the back of their minds, and come out ready to play against the defending NCAA champion Trojans.

“Well, we’re going to have to play really good tennis,” Martin said. “They’re the defending NCAA champions and I think they’re every bit as good this year, if not maybe a little bit deeper. I still think we have a chance, there’s no doubt about it, but we’re going to have to play a lot better than we did in the Indoors.”

And nothing short of “really good tennis” will defeat the Trojans, who boast the country’s No. 3 and No. 9 singles players in sophomore Steve Johnson and senior Robert Farah, respectively. Johnson and Farah also make up the No. 13 doubles tandem in the country.

But according to Meister, UCLA fans should not expect the same performance out of the Bruins displayed at the National Indoors, claiming that the Bruins know what they need to do to win.

Battle harder.

“We just need to fight better as a team,” Meister said. “Everybody has to play a crucial role if we’re going to win this. We just need everybody to perform well and work together, and there has to be good energy out there, especially in the doubles. We need to come out fast.”

In fact, in that early season match against USC, the Bruins did come out fighting, almost capturing the doubles point. But UCLA came up just short, losing 9-8 (4) on court No. 1, allowing the Trojans to clinch the doubles point.

In singles, USC dominated UCLA, winning three matches in straight sets to claim the 4-0 victory.

However, one thing that will work in the Bruins favor this afternoon is location, as the Bruins will host the Trojans at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. USC has not defeated the Bruins at the LATC in over a decade.

“It’s going to be a big challenge for us, but playing at home certainly should help,” Martin said. “We usually get good crowd support, but again, I’m expecting a really tough match.”

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