UCLA men’s tennis struggled initially against Baylor, bothered by the wind and the court surface in doubles.
But when things turned to singles, it was easy sailing for the Bruins, as they swept the Bears on all six courts.
No. 2 UCLA defeated Baylor 6-1, earning its 13th victory of the season.
Coach Billy Martin pointed out that junior Clay Thompson really sparked the team’s comeback after losing the doubles point by coming out and winning on court No. 5, which sophomore Adrien Puget noticed as well.
“We came out after doubles really strong and with a lot of energy,” Puget said.
“Almost everyone was up in the first set and we showed a lot of mental toughness in the harsh conditions.”
The win in Waco, Texas came in the Bruins’ second road match of the year. They previously won, 4-3, in a match played at USC.
Even though Martin said that he prefers the home environment, redshirt freshman Karue Sell actually enjoyed playing a match on the road for a change.
“I like playing on the road and hanging with the guys, and beating a team in their home is always fun,” Sell said.
The No. 2 Bruins clinched the win with sophomore Dennis Novikov’s 6-4, 7-5 singles victory at court one.
Martin said that he doesn’t understand why the Bears are ranked so low nationally, and he thought the team earned a great win against tough competition on Sunday.
“I think it was a great win for us against a very good team,” Martin said. “So I was pretty proud of the guys.”
Falling in doubles forced UCLA to have to win four singles matches, something Martin relayed to his guys during the short break between doubles and singles.
Instead of winning the required four singles matches to secure a win, Martin’s team responded with a convincing sweep of all six singles matches.
“Anytime you lose the doubles point you’re worried,” Martin said.
“We really had our work cut out for us in singles but I told the guys I didn’t think it was out of the realm of possibility to win one more than we normally have to.”
Despite dropping his first set, sophomore Dennis Mkrtchian battled back to complete the Bruins’ singles sweep with a 2-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (2) victory on the No. 4 court.
Taking everything into consideration, Martin said that he was happy to pick up the win in Texas before heading back to the friendly confines of the Los Angeles Tennis Center to host Tulsa on Thursday.
“It was a great team effort, I’m really proud,” Martin said. “On the road, tough conditions, tough crowd, and the guys found a way to win.”