The No. 8 UCLA men’s tennis team swept No. 63 San Diego State 7-0 in order to improve its record to 7-0 on Thursday afternoon.
After losing the doubles point in their last two matches against Cal and Stanford, the Bruins made a big effort to make sure that streak didn’t reach three games.
“The guys are doing what I have asked them to do as far as staying focused mentally and working really hard,” said coach Billy Martin. “Right now, I feel like we are in good condition … and I think that is helping us win a lot of matches.”
Redshirt senior Nick Meister and sophomore Adrien Puget won their match 8-3 against SDSU’s Hunter Nicholas and Javier Pulgar. Junior Warren Hardie and sophomore Clay Thompson defeated Rickey Baylon and Shiva Sangwan 8-4.
“We were really determined today to put in a good showing in doubles and we did just that,” Thompson said. “We needed a real big, strong win from our doubles, especially going against Pepperdine (next week) because they are going to be a really tough team.”
Redshirt junior Alex Brigham and freshman Marcos Giron, however, lost 8-7(5) to SDSU’s Thorsten Bertsch and Derek Siddiqui.
“Our teams are getting a little bit more used to each other,” Martin said. “I’m not panicked by any means, but it’s certainly an area where we have to improve.”
While the doubles featured some stiff competition, UCLA won all of its singles matches in order to complete the sweep of SDSU.
Meister defeated his opponent, Pulgar, in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3.
“I just feel really comfortable out there right now,” Meister said. “(I’m) playing aggressive and taking my chances when I get them.”
Meanwhile, Thompson was able to beat Siddiqui in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.
“I think I have been playing pretty well recently. I have been showing a lot of emotion, a lot of fire and I think that’s been key for me,” Thompson said. “It’s all about heart and all about wanting to win so badly and I think that’s (been) the main change for me. I’ve really been fighting with a lot of heart and that’s big.”
Puget won 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 against Baylon while junior Maxime Tabatruong defeated Nicholas in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.
Freshman Dennis Mkrtchian also dominated his opponent, Andranik Khachatryan, as he won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.
“I have been really practicing hard and I feel really good about my game,” Mkrtchian said.
The closest match of the day was between Giron and Bertsch, and that matchup saw Giron fight back after a rough start to win 2-6, 6-2, (11-9).
“I was not playing my best tennis (today),” Giron said. “I was making a lot of mistakes early on, but then in the second set, I really cleaned it up once I was on a break and just grinded back.”
The Bruins hope that their success will carry over with them to next week when they face the talented Pepperdine Waves.
“There’s not a real weak spot in our lineup, so I’m just challenging the guys to make sure they go out and do their job on their court,” Martin said. “Play good, solid tennis. … That’s what is going to allow us to beat Pepperdine hopefully next Tuesday.”