It turned into a chilly evening, not akin to the stereotypical Southern California conditions that UCLA men’s tennis is used to playing in.
In such conditions, when it can be tough to hit through the ball and stay aggressive, it comes down to the team that can cope just a tad better than the opposition.
While they may have had a few struggles, particularly in the doubles matches, the No. 3 Bruins came out on top with a comfortable win over BYU, and will advance to the ITA National Indoor Championships in Seattle in mid-February.
“All in all it was a good showing; we’ve got to keep getting better. But that’s what these matches are all about,” said coach Billy Martin.
The Bruins finished the night with a 6-1 victory over the Cougars, who saw them win all but one singles match. Junior Adrien Puget picked up wins in both singles and doubles.
“The conditions made it tough to win easy points. My serve wasn’t helping me a lot, and neither was my forehand,” Puget said.
“I think you just have to stay focused. After the first set, in my mind I thought, I just have to refocus. It took me a little bit of time and then I broke; I did my job I think.”
After suffering a tough loss in doubles, Giron recovered and claimed a comfortable win over BYU’s Spencer Smith. Giron’s serving was strong, as he struck an ace to close out the first set.
His serving performance kept the pressure on Smith. Giron remained aggressive despite the conditions and even made a tweener early in the second set, which saw him go up an early break, after which he never looked back.
“Novikov and I usually play really well together. The doubles we lost, but we really did not play well,” Giron said.
“We were very lackadaisical out there, and we really need to improve. Hopefully I play better in my next match in doubles.”
Overall, the Bruins are now 3-0, and appear to be settling in. Their performance today was boosted by sophomore Dennis Mkrtchian who, like Puget, was also a winner in singles and doubles.
No. 41 Mkrtchian and redshirt senior Alex Brigham clinched a win in doubles over Cullimore/Pearce of BYU, before Mkrtchian went on to post a victory over Sargeant of BYU.
Junior Clay Thompson was also a winner in singles, defeating Pearce 6-2, 6-1.
“I feel great. All of the practice these last few weeks is kicking in. I feel really good out there, so does the rest of the team,” Mkrtchian said.
“It’s always good to get a few good wins under our belt, and just keep it going, we’re looking forward to some tough matches coming up.”