Because of weather problems, UCLA men’s tennis couldn’t rely on practice last week, but that didn’t stop them from dominating over the weekend.
The No. 3 Bruins came out with authority and purpose in their second win in as many matches despite lacking the readiness they would have liked.
“I thought we didn’t look too rusty without having played at all on Friday and we didn’t get a lot of tennis in because the courts were even wet on Thursday,” said coach Billy Martin. “All in all, I thought we looked pretty good. But I assume we’ll have to play even a little bit better against BYU.”
After beating Cal Poly 4-0 on Saturday, UCLA will play BYU today, who defeated South Florida 4-0 on Saturday. With a win, the Bruins would advance to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships in Seattle next month. All things considered, the team has continued to play solid tennis, including a strong performance by redshirt freshman Karue Sell, who clinched an 8-2 doubles victory with junior Adrien Puget. Sell also came away with a 6-3, 6-3 win in singles.
“I’m feeling confident, I’m practicing well. I played two good matches, so yeah; I’m feeling confident right now. I may work on my footwork a little bit, a little bit on my forehand but overall I’m feeling good about (my game),” Sell said. “All of the guys played well in Sherwood, and all of the team is really confident right now.”
Sophomore Marcos Giron continued to impress with a 6-3, 6-4 win over senior Andre Dome. Giron is ranked No. 12 nationally in singles, while Dome checks in at No. 89. This weekend’s performance should serve as a sign of good things to come from Giron, who was relieved to claim a straight sets victory over a tough opponent.
“I feel good about that match; Andre Dome is a very good player. I think he is better than what he is ranked; he had injury issues in the fall. To get the win really means a lot,” Giron said. “The team did well, and I’m glad it didn’t have to come down to the wire. Against Andre, I’m happy with it not going to three sets, I took care of business. It was kind of iffy in the second set, it was 4-4 15-40 on my serve, and it could have easily gone the other way around.”
Against BYU, UCLA is hoping to be match-ready in what could be a difficult test. The Cougars faced limited resistance in their win, but remain underdogs against UCLA. The Bruins believe that a test from the Cougars will serve them well as they head into a difficult part of the season in the coming weeks.
“They (BYU) look like they are the strongest team of the ones that came. I’m looking forward to a tough match, but that’s what we need right now,” Martin said.
“We’ve got Fresno State the following weekend, but then we’ve got three really tough matches against USD, Stanford and the Cal Bears, who are probably as good a team that’s in the Pac-12.”
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