And then there were four.
No. 2-seeded UCLA men’s tennis (30-2, 8-0 Pac-12) defeated No. 10-seeded USC (20-9, 6-2) 4-3 at Wake Forest’s Leighton Family Courts to reach the NCAA tournament semifinals.
With the victory, the Bruins finish with a 4-0 season record against the Trojans and advance to their first Final Four since 2014.
UCLA jumped out to an early lead in doubles to open the match. No. 29 senior Martin Redlicki and sophomore Evan Zhu never trailed en route to defeating No. 10 Brandon Holt and Riley Smith 6-3 at court one.
At court two, No. 16 senior Austin Rapp and freshman Keegan Smith won 6-3 against No. 9 Jack Jaede Laurens Verboven. Smith ended the set on a service ace, clinching the doubles point for the Bruins.
UCLA would notch four of six first sets in singles.
No. 56 Smith earned the first singles point of the day, defeating Jaede in straight sets at court three. Just as in doubles, the freshman ended the match on a service ace.
However, USC fought back to tie the match at two apiece. No. 81 Zhu and freshman Connor Hance were defeated in straight sets at courts two and six, respectively.
Despite winning his first set, No. 103 senior Logan Staggs fell at court four, 6-3, 1-6, 0-6, putting the Bruins on the brink of elimination.
Yet UCLA would not be denied.
Sophomore Maxime Cressy won a second-set tiebreaker 7-2 to win at court five in straight sets. Shortly after, No. 1 Redlicki clinched the Bruins’ spot in the Final Four, defeating No. 11 Holt, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
UCLA will play either No. 3-seeded Ohio State or No. 6-seeded Mississippi State on Monday in the semifinals.