The Bruins concluded their last fall tournament with a win.
UCLA men’s tennis sent eight players to two tournaments this weekend: the Larry Easley Memorial Classic and the Jack Kramer Fall Invitational, hosted in Las Vegas and Rolling Hills Estates, California, respectively.
Two Bruin teams faced each other in the final of doubles play. Sophomore Bryce Pereira and freshman Max Wild took an 8-6 win over sophomore Lucas Bellamy and redshirt sophomore Connor Rapp in the final match.
Pereira and Wild defeated UNLV’s team of Mario Aguayo and Richard Solberg by 8-1 in the first round before beating SMU’s Gardiner Perotti and Jan-Simon Vrbsky by 8-7. The duo advanced to the final after an 8-4 win over ASU’s Makey Rakotomalala and Thomas Wright.
“For me up in Las Vegas, we got some really good results,” said coach Billy Martin. “I think (Pereira) and (Wild) played good doubles, we know they are strong doubles players – (Pereira) had a great year for us last year. It was good to see that chemistry was good.”
Rapp finished as a finalist in the flight one singles tournament after falling 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 to UNLV’s Olle Thestrup in the final.
At home in California, No. 1 seed sophomore Keegan Smith advanced to the singles semifinals of the Jack Kramer Invitational after defeating SMU’s Carles Sarrio in the first round 7-6, 2-6, 6-3, UC Santa Barbara’s Alex Soto by 6-4, 6-2 in the second round and UC Davis’ David Goulak by 6-4, 7-6 in the final eight.
Smith pulled out of the semifinal round due to injury. Martin said the move ensured that he did not aggravate the injury in the final rounds.
“(Smith) had a little bit of a setback, his shoulder was bothering him,” Martin said. “Nothing major but we’re trying to be smart and if it’s bothering him by the end of the second day and he’s got semifinals coming up it’s probably not going to make the situation any better.”
No. 5-seeded freshman Eric Hahn fell in the quarterfinals of the singles bracket after losing to No. 3 Jake DeVine of USC by 6-2, 6-2. Hahn defeated Washington’s Sebastian Hawken 6-3, 6-3 in the round of 32 and UC Davis’ Ivan Thamma by 6-4, 6-1 in the round of 16.
Martin said he has been impressed by Hahn’s consistency throughout the fall season.
“I think the guy that I think really showed us consistency the entire time was our young freshman (Hahn),” Martin said. “(Hahn) was winning two to three rounds at every tournament and losing to very good players when he did lose, as well as playing some good doubles.”
The Bruins will have a break in play until regular match play begins in January.
“We’ll work hard for another two weeks until finals,” Martin said. “Boy, we’ve got to hope the guys work really hard during the break, that’s always a nervous time for me. We need to be running on all cylinders if we think we’re going to have anything like a good a year we had last year.”