The UCLA men’s tennis team is moving on in its quest for a title, but it took a nail-biter for the Bruins to get the chance to leave home.
The No. 12-seeded Bruins escaped with a thrilling 4-3 win over the Mississippi Rebels at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Saturday and will now head to Palo Alto to continue play in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
UCLA began the tournament with an efficient 4-0 win over Binghamton on Friday, while Ole Miss beat UC Irvine 4-1 on Friday at the LATC to earn the chance to upset the Bruins on their home court.
The doubles trouble that plagued UCLA throughout the regular season resurfaced on Saturday, as Ole Miss took the opening point going into singles play. Sophomore Maxime Tabatruong put the Bruins on the board with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Adrian Forberg Skogeng, but the Rebels picked up two more points with wins on courts No. 3 and No. 4.
Down two points and facing an early exit at home, the top two Bruins rallied to tie the match at 3 apiece. Freshman Daniel Kosakowski took down Marcel Thiemann 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 in a matchup of No. 1 players, and senior Amit Inbar beat Tucker Vorster 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 to even the score.
At court No. 5, senior Holden Seguso gave the Bruins their match-winning point. He dropped the first set 4-6 before winning the second 6-3, leading up to a third set that Seguso won 7-6 (4) to give UCLA the opportunity to make it to the third round of the tournament.
UCLA will now get a few days to prepare for its next opponent in the round of 16, No. 5-seeded Baylor. The Bruins and the Bears met earlier in the year in a match that UCLA won 4-3 on Feb. 6.
Compiled by Vidur Malik, Bruin Sports senior staff.