Wednesday, June 19

UCLA men’s tennis sweeps spring break matches


The spring season has presented nothing resembling a “break” for the UCLA men’s tennis team.

Over the past week, the 12th-ranked Bruins (10-4, 2-0 Pac-10) have been on the court for three dual-matches, including back-to-back dual contests on Friday and Saturday.

Tuesday, the Bruins dominated the Wichita State Shockers (8-6), cruising to a 7-0 victory at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. UCLA began Pac-10 play on a high note, sweeping No. 21 Washington (15-2) on Friday, 7-0, and following that up with a resounding 7-0 victory over the Oregon Ducks (11-6) Saturday afternoon. Both wins came on the road.

Since the Bruins’ hard-fought loss to then-No. 16 Baylor on March 11, UCLA has not dropped a single point in its last three matches, and coach Billy Martin attributes a majority of the Bruins’ recent success to the Baylor match, in which the Bears won, 4-3.

“It was maybe a bit of a wake-up call with that Baylor match,” Martin said after Saturday’s win over the Ducks. “But the guys raised their intensity in practice, and they realize we have to improve if we want to win a national championship. With (Haythem) Abid not in the lineup everybody has to hold their own weight a little bit more than normal.”

Abid, the redshirt senior, has not seen action for the Bruins in the past three matches because of a recurring wrist injury.

Junior Holden Seguso had hit an extremely rough patch in the past month. Seguso had come out victorious in only one singles match in a dual-meet since Feb. 12, a span of nine dual-meets. But over the past week, Seguso got his stride back, winning each of his three singles contests during UCLA’s three-match winning streak.

“I think (Seguso’s) playing better, and he’s in a little bit better shape,” Martin said. “He probably had a reality check that if he wants to help us at all, he has to pick it up. He’s doing that now.”

Most importantly, the Bruins are off to a 2-0 start in Pac-10 conference play.

“It’s certainly good to get these two wins, but I think these are two we thought we should win,” Martin said. “We’ve got two tough matches next weekend with (California) and Stanford. We know Cal is really good because we already battled them. We didn’t get a chance to play Stanford, but they’re very, very good.”

The scheduled early season matchup between the No. 15 Cardinal and Bruins was cancelled because of rain, so next weekend’s tilt between the Pac-10 foes will be the first and last of the season, unless the two teams meet in the NCAA Tournament. Although the Bruins have a difficult back-to-back stretch against the two Bay Area Pac-10 schools and a trip to face the Arizona Wildcats looming shortly after, Martin is sure to not overlook Boise State, who will visit the LATC Wednesday afternoon.

“I don’t want to dismiss (Boise State),” Martin said. “We have to be ready to compete Wednesday.”

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