Men’s tennis earns first shutout victory of the season with win over LMU
Sophomore Keegan Smith posted one doubles win against Loyola Marymount with senior Maxime Cressy (not pictured), beating LMU’s duo of Nick Borchenko and Diego Nava. Smith also recorded a singles win, besting Borchenko 6-3, 6-2. (Daily Bruin file photo)
|No. 19 UCLA||7|
By Jared Tay
March 27, 2019 4:29 p.m.
The Bruins completed their first sweep of the season.
No. 19 UCLA men’s tennis (8-4, 1-0 Pac-12) defeated Loyola Marymount (3-10, 1-0 WCC) 7-0 at Los Angeles Tennis Center after taking the courts for the first time in almost two weeks. The match marks the first time UCLA did not drop a single point since its sweep of San Diego at the 2018 NCAA championships.
“I think a (sweep is special) if you’re playing a high shuquality opponent,” said coach Billy Martin. “Unfortunately, LMU is not having one of their better years. I didn’t expect it to be a tough battle quite honestly.”
The No. 36 ranked doubles team of senior Maxime Cressy and sophomore Keegan Smith faced off against the No. 40 ranked LMU tandem of Nick Borchenko and Diego Nava. The Bruins grabbed an early break in the set and emerged victorious over their opponents by a score of 6-2.
“Big serves were definitely essential (to our win),” Smith said. “It allows the net person to knock volleys off.”
At the No. 3 spot, the duo of sophomore Bryce Pereira and freshman Patrick Zahraj defeated Ryan Brown and Ethan Prost by a score of 6-1. The win was the pair’s eighth of the season.
Freshman Govind Nanda and redshirt sophomore Connor Rapp fell 6-1 at the No. 2 doubles spot after teaming up for just the third time this season. The duo have yet to win a doubles match in dual match play together this year.
The Bruins clinched the doubles point despite the loss at No. 2 and went into singles play leading the Lions 1-0.
Ranked No. 80 in singles, Smith continued his winning ways and was the first UCLA singles player off the court after defeating Borchenko 6-3, 6-2.
At the No. 4 singles spot, Zahraj denied his opponent Max Kaiser a game in the first set and went on to win the match 6-0, 6-1.
“It’s a big tricky, because on paper, it looks like it’s pretty clear, but there were a couple of deuce points where I broke him (on his serve), whereas I didn’t have a single deuce point on my service game,” Zahraj said. “But in the end, I picked the right shots at the right times and it turned out well for me.”
The clinching point of the day came from No. 1 singles, which featured a a top-100 matchup. No. 92 ranked Cressy dispatched LMU’s No. 86 Lukas Moenter with by a score of 7-5, 6-2.
The remaining matches on courts four, five and six were allowed to finish. On court three, Nanda, who is ranked No. 35 in singles, won in straight sets over Nava 6-4, 6-4 – while junior Ben Goldberg at No. 5 singles claimed a 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Freshman Matthew Tsolakyan was the last Bruin to finish after dropping the first set of his match 6-3. Tsolakyan forced a tiebreak in the second set to avoid what would have been the Bruins’ lone defeat on the day.
Tsolakyan claimed the match after a 10-point tiebreak in lieu of a third set, winning with a score of 3-6, 7-6 (4), 10-2.
UCLA will travel to the Bay Area in a return to conference action against Pac-12 opponents No. 10 Stanford and No. 40 Cal on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
“We’re starting a winning streak,” Zahraj said. “We picked up our third loss (in a row) a few weeks ago, and now we’re talking about winning streaks. Confidence is building up with wins – we don’t have to doubt ourselves, and we are a good team. It always helps with wins (like this).”