Saturday, September 23

UCLA men’s tennis bury Boise State Broncos, 7-0

As a team, the UCLA men’s tennis squad had already sealed up its fourth straight dominating win, clinching Wednesday’s match over Boise State while the sun was still high over the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

And though nearly the entire team had surrendered to a post-game relaxation, there was still one Bruin hard at work on Court 6.

Redshirt freshman Alex Brigham, playing in only his fifth singles match in two years at UCLA, fought off a furious comeback by the Broncos’ Jeff Mullen to ensure the Bruins’ perfect 7-0 victory.

Brigham won the first set 6-3 but quickly lost control of the second set, losing 2-6 and heading into the final set with his head down. UCLA coach Billy Martin stepped in during the break and helped to revitalize the young player.

“He was telling me: “˜Keep positive with your body language,’” Brigham said. “Don’t lose confidence. You’ve got to learn how to fight off these tough matches.”

Brigham finished off his opponent, who stood a full 8 inches taller than he did, with a 7-5 third set, helping to prove once again that he is exactly where he belongs.

Brigham has only recently been inserted into the last spot in the Bruins’ lineup card because the team’s No. 1 player, redshirt senior Haythem Abid, is out indefinitely with a wrist injury. So far, UCLA has not had to worry, with Brigham winning each of his last four matches to help the Bruins to a 28-0 points record over those meetings.

“He’s going to have to be the man,” Martin said of his new starter. “He’s going to have to suck up a lot of knowledge real quick and there’s no better place than to win a match like that.”

Martin said he recruited Brigham out of nearby Culver City because he was a coachable player who appeared to have a lot of potential, but Martin hasn’t had enough room on the courts for him until now.

“My first year, when I redshirted, I really wanted to get out there and play, so this is my opportunity and I’m going to take every chance I get,” Brigham said.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.”

On every other court, UCLA bested Boise State in straight sets. Junior Nick Meister has taken over the No. 1 spot quite well and continued that performance serving up a 6-2, 6-3 win on Wednesday.

UCLA has a big weekend coming up as they are hosting No. 17 Cal Friday and No. 7 Stanford.

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