Saturday, April 21

Men’s tennis keeps up win streak despite Arizona altitude


Freshman Bryce Pereira secured two doubles wins in UCLA's victories against Arizona State and Arizona this weekend with his partner, junior Maxime Cressy. The pair posts a 14-4 dual match record on the season and have won their last four doubles matches. (Alice Naland/Daily Bruin)

Freshman Bryce Pereira secured two doubles wins in UCLA's victories against Arizona State and Arizona this weekend with his partner, junior Maxime Cressy. The pair posts a 14-4 dual match record on the season and have won their last four doubles matches. (Alice Naland/Daily Bruin)


The Bruins remain perfect in conference play.

No. 2 UCLA men’s tennis (22-2, 7-0 Pac-12) defeated No. 33 Arizona State (13-9, 2-4) and Arizona (15-13, 0-7) this weekend to extend its win streak to 11 games.

Junior Maxime Cressy and freshman Bryce Pereira won the first doubles dual match of the Arizona State matchup, defeating their opponents 6-2 at court three.

The Bruins only had two days to adjust to the Arizona altitude, which affected their play in both matches.

“It’s definitely an advantage for me to be in the altitude with my serve and aggressive game,” Cressy said.

However, the Bruins’ two ranked doubles pairs, No. 59 senior Martin Redlicki and sophomore Evan Zhu and No. 11 senior Austin Rapp and freshman Keegan Smith, were each upset 6-4 at courts one and two en route to an early 1-0 deficit.

Despite dropping its second straight doubles point, UCLA rebounded, winning four of the six singles matches.

No. 55 Smith scored the first point for the Bruins, sweeping his opponent at court three.

The Sun Devils retook the lead at court one, where No. 1 Redlicki faced his 14th straight ranked opponent in No. 27 Michael Geerts. Redlicki dropped his third dual match of the season, 7-5, 6-4.

Other Bruins amassed key points to secure the match despite a loss from the top-ranked senior.

No. 81 Zhu defeated No. 72 Ben Hannestad 6-4, 6-4 at court two to even the match. At courts five and six, Cressy and freshman Connor Hance emerged victorious nearly simultaneously, each winning in straight sets to clinch the 4-2 victory.

“We get a little bit more used to (the conditions) as the match progresses,” said coach Billy Martin. “Even if we don’t win the doubles point, we get our teeth into the match during singles and persevere.”

On Sunday against Arizona, UCLA earned the doubles point to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Although Rapp and Smith conceded their third straight doubles match, wins at courts one and three gave the Bruins an early advantage heading into singles.

“Cressy and I played efficiently,” Pereira said. “Our first-serve percentages were high, and we returned well (despite) the altitude.”

After five of six Bruins won their first sets, Cressy gave the team a 2-0 lead with his 6-4, 6-0 victory at court five.

Smith won a second-set tiebreaker en route to a straight set victory at court three. Zhu followed at court two with a 7-6, 6-3 win to clinch the sweep.

I didn’t expect us to play super sharp because it’s just not enough time to acclimate to the (altitude),” Martin said. “We did what we had to do, and we got two good wins.”

After playing its final road matches, UCLA finished with a 6-1 road record on the season, with its lone defeat coming against No. 4 Stanford.

UCLA will play its final regular season match Friday when they host No. 35 Utah.

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