The UCLA men’s and women’s tennis programs wrapped up the NCAA team competition with losses to Georgia and Pepperdine, respectively, but both programs will have players competing for individual titles starting Wednesday.
On the men’s side, junior Martin Redlicki, the single’s tournament No. 5 seed, will open against Georgia Tech’s Christopher Eubanks. Eubanks has won 14 of his last 15 matches while Redlicki, who dropped just one match in conference play, is seven of his last eight.
“He’s a big server, powerful player,” Redlicki said. “Keeping it low will be big, but I’m feeling good about my game and if I do that I have a good shot.”
Redlicki will also defend his NCAA doubles title with freshman Evan Zhu as the tournament’s No. 2 overall seed.
Last year, Redlicki won the title with then-junior Mackie McDonald who turned pro after he won both the NCAA singles and doubles titles.
Zhu and Redlicki, who played on court one for the Bruins this season, have lost just four matches this year entering the tournament.
The pair will open against Auburn seniors Conner Huertas del Pino and Max Hinnisdaels on Thursday. The Tigers’ No. 1 pair went 12-8 in dual-match play and 16-10 overall heading into the tournament.
For the women’s team, freshman Ena Shibahara and redshirt freshman Jada Hart will open up the doubles tournament against South Carolina’s Hadley Berg and Paige Cline.
Hart, who earned Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year honors with junior Terri Fleming, and Shibahara have not competed together since a late February loss to Pepperdine.
“We don’t feel pressure (being freshmen) but it’s an exciting tournament to get under our belt our first year.” Hart said. “We’ve made our mark already against these top teams.”
Hart stayed on court one to partner with Fleming while Shibahara began playing with junior Kristin Wiley on court three.
Berg and Cline are 11-11 overall and 3-4 in conference play while primarily playing on court one for the Gamecocks. The pair have lost two of three doubles matches played in the NCAA Tournament, all by 6-1 scores.
Shibahara, recently named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southwest Region Rookie of the Year, is also in the singles bracket as the No. 4 seed. The freshman anchored the Bruins at No. 1 singles and has compiled a 38-6 record overall.
She’ll open up competition against Texas A&M’s Rutuja Bhosale on Wednesday.
Bhosale competed at No. 2 singles for the Aggies, compiling a 14-9 record on the court this season and 20-3 overall.
Individual tournaments begin Wednesday after the conclusion of the team competition and run until Monday.