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Weekend tournaments in Las Vegas, Rolling Hills Estates conclude for men’s tennis

Junior Connor Hance returned to the courts for the first time in nearly 10 months to compete in the Jack Kramer Club Collegiate Invitational – held in Rolling Hills Estates, California – as part of UCLA men’s tennis’ schedule of fall tournaments. Hance missed the dual match season of his sophomore year because of an injury. (Pinkie Su/Daily Bruin)

By Andreas Papoutsis

Nov. 4, 2019 4:37 p.m.

The Bruins went their separate ways this weekend.

UCLA men’s tennis sent five players to Rolling Hills Estates, California, to compete in the Jack Kramer Club Collegiate Invitational at the Jack Kramer Club. While assistant coach Rikus De Villiers oversaw the team in Rolling Hills, coach Billy Martin accompanied four players to Las Vegas to compete in the Larry Easley Memorial Classic.

Each group of Bruins saw participants that advanced to the quarterfinal of singles play in each tournament.

Jack Kramer Club Collegiate Invitational

Sophomore Eric Hahn won his opening round-of-32 matchup against UC Santa Barbara’s Alex Dominguez Soto, notching a 6-4, 6-4 victory. His campaign came to an end in the following round, when he fell to San Diego’s August Holmgren in a 6-2, 6-4 straight sets loss.

“It wasn’t a bad loss for (Hahn),” Martin said. “But the highlight has to be (junior) Connor Hance’s first event back in 10 months.”

Hance missed the entire 2019 dual match season because of an injury he sustained in UCLA’s first match against San Diego. Hance made his return to the court in Rolling Hills, notching a 7-6, 2-6, 7-5 win over USC’s Rae Lan in the round of 32.

Hance went on to record a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Arizona’s Hiroki Sakagawa to earn a spot in the quarterfinal of the singles main draw.

“He broke both of his feet 10 months ago,” Martin said. “He came back and had two or three good wins.”

Hance’s singles campaign came to an end in the quarterfinal however, when he suffered a defeat to New Mexico’s Raul Dobai 6-3, 6-4.

“We’re just really happy that he’s back in, and it’s good for our team,” Martin said.

Senior Ben Goldberg began his tournament with a 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 win against Arizona’s Nick Lagaev.

Goldberg said he welcomed the stiff competition as he prepares himself for the upcoming dual match season.

“I knew he was a top recruit for Arizona, so I knew what I was going to be up against,” Goldberg said. “But that’s what you want. You want to have tough matches in the fall tournaments.”

After recording a 6-1, 6-2 round-of-16 win over San Diego’s Nico Borter, Goldberg earned a spot in the quarterfinal of the singles draw.

“I have a lot of respect for Borter, but I knew I could take him,” Goldberg said. “It was a tough match but everything was clicking.”

Goldberg lost 6-0, 3-6, 7-5 to Brigham Young’s Sean Hill in the quarterfinal. He said there are a lot of positives to take into his senior season following his quarterfinal loss.

“It’s really hard to swallow but I know I’m right there with everybody,” Goldberg said.

Larry Easley Memorial Classic

Redshirt freshman Blaine Hovenier notched a singles win in the third flight of the draw, defeating Southern Methodist’s Jack Kite 6-3, 7-5. His run ended with a 6-3, 6-4 loss at the hands of UNLV’s Zach Garner.

Redshirt junior Connor Rapp competed in the first flight of the tournament and beat San Diego State’s Ignacio Martinez 6-2, 6-2 to earn a spot in the quarterfinal of the draw.

Rapp’s competition came to an end in the quarterfinal when he fell 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to UNLV’s Jordan Sauer.

“There’s nothing to be upset about,” Martin said. “He played well, but the other guy played a little bit better.”

Sophomore Max Wild did not make it out of the first round.

The Bruins will get back to the court Wednesday to compete in the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships at the Newport Beach Tennis Club.

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Andreas Papoutsis | Sports reporter
Papoutsis is currently a Sports reporter on the men's tennis beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis beat.
Papoutsis is currently a Sports reporter on the men's tennis beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis beat.
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