Senior Karue Sell barely lost his first set tiebreaker, so he changed his shirt, seeking a change in fortune.
Sell lost just three games the rest of the match, defeating Stanford’s Nolan Paige, 6-7, 6-3, 6-0, to seal UCLA’s win over Stanford. The No. 3-seeded Bruins defeated the Cardinal for the fourth time this season, 4-2 to reach the quarterfinal of the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship.
Stanford completed a season sweep of the doubles point, as UCLA fell on courts one and three. Junior Joe Di Giulio and Sell were the only pair to win its match. The No. 2 duo of junior Mackie McDonald and sophomore Martin Redlicki were up for most of the match against Stanford’s No. 23 pair of Maciek Romanowicz and Tom Fawcett, but the Bruins were broken at 5-5 and the Cardinal held to clinch the doubles point.
The top of UCLA’s singles lineup set the tone for singles, however. No. 6 McDonald started off singles play by dominating No. 15 Fawcett, 6-1, 6-2, coming off the court in less than an hour – their most lopsided meeting this year.
No. 38 Redlicki defeated Stanford freshman Michael Genender, 7-5, 6-2, in a rematch of southpaws. The sophomore held a two-game lead in the first set before Genender fought back to tie it. The match was on the brink of going to a tiebreaker, but Redlicki broke on the deciding point to regain the momentum.
The race to clinch the fourth and final point came down to third sets for Sell and sophomore Logan Staggs at courts four and five. Staggs had an opportunity to win in straight sets, but he lost three consecutive games and the second set 5-7.
Both Bruins were a game from winning their respective matches in the third set – Staggs was up 5-3 and Sell was up 5-0 – but the senior broke Paige with a passing shot down the line, sending the Bruins into a frenzy courtside.
At the third singles slot, No. 58 junior Gage Brymer found himself in a dogfight in the first set against the Cardinal’s No. 87 David Wilczynski. The two held serve until Brymer got a late break to win the first set 7-5. Brymer then broke Wilczynski twice in the second to triumph and put UCLA up 3-1. Meanwhile, Di Giulio suffered the only Bruin loss in singles, falling in a second-set tiebreaker and losing 6-3, 7-6(4) to Romanowicz.
With the win, the UCLA moves on to the quarterfinal Sunday afternoon, against either No. 6 Wake Forest or No. 11 Oklahoma.