Going into this season, the UCLA men’s tennis team was uncertain about whom it could count on to lead.
So far, there hasn’t been any reason to worry.
UCLA still hasn’t dropped a match so far this year, defeating UC Santa Barbara 7-0 in its second sweep in as many matches on Tuesday.
The Bruins were once again led by a strong performance from stellar freshman Daniel Kosakowski, who made quick work of his opponent, senior Alex Konigsfeldt, winning 6-2, 6-1 in his second match as a Bruin.
“There is some pressure on me, but I don’t really feel too much of it. …
I just go out and play,” Kosakowski said. “I’m working very hard, so there is no reason why I should not be able to play at this level.”
At one point during the match, after a barrage of winners from Kosakowski, Konigsfeldt was visibly frustrated and said in a clearly audible tone, “This guy just doesn’t miss.”
This was an apt description of Kosakowski, but it also applied to his teammates. The Bruins received strong performances from several other players including fellow freshmen Clay Thompson and Adrien Puget, who gained his first taste of singles play at the collegiate level with a 6-3, 6-2 victory against UCSB sophomore Max Glenn.
UCLA senior Holden Seguso also contributed to the Bruins’ win. Seguso, along with his partner sophomore Alex Brigham, had a solid performance in the doubles.
“After the first set in which I played well and was really confident, I sort of let up,” Seguso said. “I played a couple of loose points, and he broke my serve. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a pressure situation like that.”
“That really is going to help in future matches where we will have to deal with high-pressure situations.”
Late in the second set, Seguso began to take command of the match after fighting his way back. He began playing a very aggressive style and working his way to the net, where he began finishing points off with ease en route to the victory.
With consistent performances from other players, UCLA looked in complete control in nearly all of the singles matches.
Given the early-season concerns for the Bruins regarding depth and experience, their two opening matches should go a long way in providing confidence to the young players and silencing the naysayers going forward.
“I’m a lot more confident after these two matches than I had ever imagined I would be,” coach Billy Martin said. “Our doubles is looking a lot better, and our freshmen are really stepping up.”
“One important thing is that we can’t get overconfident, because we have some very strong competition coming up ahead.”