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UCLA men’s tennis looks to defend at-home winning streak against UC Irvine

Patrick Zahraj pumps his fist after winning a point. The redshirt senior for UCLA men’s tennis has yet to drop a singles set across five dual matches thus far in 2023. (Grace Wilson/Daily Bruin)

Men's Tennis

UC Irvine
Saturday, 12 p.m.

Los Angeles Tennis Center
UCLA Live Stream

By Garrison Hallum

Feb. 10, 2023 3:33 p.m.

The Bruins are set to defend their flawless home record this weekend against the Anteaters.

UCLA men’s tennis (4-1) will have an opportunity to build off last week’s victory against Portland with a contest at home against UC Irvine (0-2) on Saturday.

The blue and gold defeated the Anteaters last season, also at home, securing a score of 7-0. UCLA currently holds a 44-2 all-time record in the matchup, and has not lost to Irvine since 1989.

Coach Billy Martin said he hopes the team’s success last season against Irvine motivates his squad to continue to improve.

“Hopefully playing at home will be a bit of an advantage for us. I’m sure the fact that we beat them fairly handily last year will fire them up,” Martin said. “I never take too much credit in what we did last year. It’s this year that counts.”

Sophomore Alexander Hoogmartens will come into this weekend’s matchup with four straight wins against top-50 opponents. Hoogmartens’ early success has earned him the No. 15 spot – his personal best – in the latest ITA singles rankings.

Martin said with the season underway, the team’s main focus is on securing results.

“Right now, we feel like we’ve tried to forget about changing any mechanics and work on playing smart, playing percentage tennis,” Martin said.

Redshirt senior Patrick Zahraj won his respective singles match against Portland last weekend, and is also nationally ranked, standing at No. 58 in the ITA doubles rankings.

Zahraj said he has high expectations for his team’s doubles performance in their upcoming match.

“I would love to see us come out very decisive in the doubles from the beginning onwards,” Zahraj said. “It is going to be difficult for any team to come beat us at home.”

Sophomore Giacomo Revelli, a contributor to UCLA’s point total against Portland with a 6-0, 6-3 singles decision in his favor, will be looking to string together a pair of singles wins for the first time this season. Revelli has made a habit of trading wins and losses so far in 2023, and now stands at 3-2 in singles play as a result.

Revelli said his team’s goal against Irvine is simple.

“Our goal is to just get the win, to keep the streak going and look forward to the rest of the season,” Revelli said. “At the same time, I also have my own personal goals of playing well in both singles and doubles: Get the technical aspects down.”

Revelli said he is pleased with the way his team has prepared and believes it will translate to future success.

“I’m very happy. I have to say we’ve done a lot of good work and have managed to address things that we’ve seen in previous matches,” Revelli said. “The team is in a great place and that bodes well for this weekend.”

First serve between the Bruins and the Anteaters is set for 12 p.m. on Saturday at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

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Garrison Hallum | Sports contributors
Hallum is currently a contributor on the track & field and swim & dive beats.
Hallum is currently a contributor on the track & field and swim & dive beats.
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