Friday, April 3

No. 4 UCLA men’s tennis maintains undefeated home record

Keegan Smith took home a straight-set win in singles Tuesday to help UCLA sweep UC Irvine. The freshman is currently ranked No. 45 in singles. (Alice Naland/Daily Bruin)

The Bruins won their sixth-straight match and didn’t drop a single set.

No. 4 UCLA men’s tennis (17-2, 2-0 Pac-12) defeated UC Irvine (10-8, 0-0) at home Tuesday, sustaining its undefeated record at home this season.

This was the Bruins’ first match since their match against Oklahoma on March 15.

“I felt this was a crucial match for us,” said coach Billy Martin. “We needed to get into the groove again after not playing for a while.”

UCLA showed strength from the start, as the pair of freshman Bryce Pereira and sophomore Ben Goldberg won 6-3 in doubles on court three over Luis Lopez and Daniel Gealer. The court one duo of senior Martin Redlicki and sophomore Evan Zhu also took their match 6-3 against Mason Hansen and Luca Marquard to clinch the doubles point.

Coming in to face the Anteaters, the Bruins had lost in doubles in their previous two matches.

“I think we just focused on playing aggressivly and we felt pretty comfortable the whole way,” Goldberg said. “(There was) no stress there.”

Goldberg joined the Bruins’ doubles lineup for the first time since UCLA’s match against Portland in February. Partnering with Pereira, he took junior Maxime Cressy’s spot, who Martin chose to rest.

“It is a little bit more pressure because I don’t get to play every single match this year,” Goldberg said. “(I’ve) got to make the most of every opportunity (and) I did that today.”

UCLA propelled its momentum from doubles into singles, winning all its first sets.

Senior Austin Rapp put the Bruins up 2-0, taking home the second set 6-2 over Vatsal Bajpai on court five. No. 45 freshman Keegan Smith followed, defeating Sasha Krasnov on court two in straight sets.

“I was playing pretty aggressive, going for my shots (and) not really holding back,” Smith said. “That usually pans out well if I’m playing well, and I was playing well today.”

Freshman Connor Hance clinched the match for UCLA, taking down Daniel Gealer in two sets on court four. The Bruins completed the sweep with straight-set wins on courts one, six and three by Zhu, Goldberg and No. 66 senior Logan Staggs.

UCLA will look to stay unbeaten at home this weekend as it resumes Pac-12 play against No. 3 Stanford and unranked California. The Cardinal defeated the Bruins at Stanford earlier this season.

“I think we could do some damage,” Smith said. “We’ve got the home-court advantage (and) I think everyone’s playing pretty well so I’m excited to go out there and take it to them.”

Editor in chief

Forburger is the 2019-2020 editor in chief. She was previously an assistant Sports editor for the women's volleyball, gymnastics, softball, swim and dive and rowing beats and was a Sports reporter before that.

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