Tennis is one of the few sports at UCLA that plays virtually year-round.
In the summer, once the teams’ seasons are over, players often enter events at a variety of competitive levels ““ amatuer, collegiate, international and professional.
The UCLA men’s and women’s tennis official seasons haven’t started yet ““ matches won’t count against UCLA’s record until January – but that’s not stopping some Bruins from representing the blue and gold in competition.
This weekend, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Men’s and Women’s All-American Championships kicked off. The tournaments showcase tennis players from colleges across the country.
The pre-qualifying rounds for this year, which took place Saturday and Sunday, were hosted by UCLA at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
The UCLA women were represented by seven players, but the two who had the biggest impact in the pre-qualifying stage were sophomore Chanelle Van Nguyen and freshman Kyle McPhillips. Van Nguyen and McPhillips competed both as singles entrants and together as doubles partners.
Van Nguyen lost her first match Saturday, eliminating her from singles contention, while McPhillips won all three of her matches, advancing to the next round Tuesday at Riviera Country Club.
In the doubles bracket of pre-qualifying, the duo won their first two matches before losing to a North Carolina pairing in a match that would’ve vaulted them into the second and qualifying round at Riviera.
Senior Pamela Montez and sophomore Skylar Morton, who obtained bids allowing them to surpass pre-qualifying, will join McPhillips in the qualifying round Tuesday.
While the UCLA women are without arguably their best player, sophomore Robin Anderson, the Bruin men are well represented by their top players.
The men’s action began yesterday since UCLA had no one in pre-qualifying. UCLA will be represented in the singles qualifying round by sophomore Dennis Mkrtchian. In doubles qualifying, sophomores Dennis Novikov and Marcos Giron will pair up as well as Mkrtchian and junior Clay Thompson.
The Bruins’ dominant presence may be most prominant in the men’s singles bracket, where Thompson, Giron and Novikov have all gotten automatic bids to the main draw, more than any other school in the tournament.
The UCLA participants will look to stay alive until the end of the weeklong tournament, which concludes this Sunday.
Compiled by Steven Covella, Bruin Sports senior staff