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Splitting matches to Arizona schools, UCLA men’s tennis opens conference play

Sophomore Giacomo Revelli looks out to the court before a serve. Revelli didn’t lose a doubles match all weekend, but split his singles matches against the Arizona schools. (Julia Zhou/Daily Bruin)

Men's Tennis

No. 18 Arizona4
Arizona State3

By Alexsia Drulias

April 3, 2023 3:03 p.m.

This post was updated April 4 at 10:03 p.m.

The blue and gold turned the tables from Tucson to Tempe.

UCLA men’s tennis (9-5, 1-1 Pac-12) ventured to the desert for its first two matches of conference play, turning a 4-0 loss to No. 18 Arizona (17-4, 3-1) on Friday into fuel for Sunday afternoon’s 4-3 win against Arizona State (11-8, 0-4). Departing from California’s sea-level altitude forced adjustments from the team, but with extra days of practices, the Bruins were able to conquer the uncontrollable elements in the long run.

The antagonist of the weekend away from home – other than the teams that opposed UCLA – was the altitude. This change made for a tough adjustment on court, according to coach Billy Martin.

“We left on Tuesday. We got Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday practice before the Arizona match,” Martin said. “(We) got out here yesterday, had a good practice, tried to get used to their courts and all. I think the guys realize no matter how much I try to (prepare) them, this is a very difficult trip.”

Even though UCLA’s lineup did not change versus either of the Arizona schools, two very different outcomes came of it. Sophomore Giacomo Revelli was one of the major reasons for the optimistic end to the weekend.

Revelli partnered with junior Timothy Li to defeat both the Wildcats and the Sun Devils in their doubles pursuits, but their win Friday was not enough to champion the doubles point against the former. Following Revelli’s straight-set singles loss against Arizona, the rest day in between play proved more than beneficial.

“It’s definitely great to have a day off in between matches,” Revelli said. “(Getting) physically ready, lots of hydration and stretching, and (getting) used to the new courts here. Different altitude, slightly different playing surface. All these things – you need to adjust quickly on the road.”

Those adjustments were made by the sophomore. A decisive 6-2 first set in favor of the Bruins was completely reversed in the second set, driving Revelli to be more patient with Arizona State’s Jacob Bullard’s new style in the third.

After climbing to an even 3-3 in the third set, Revelli was able to pull away with a handful of holds and breaks, ultimately claiming his match. He was the penultimate player to walk off the court, but with no scoreboard in sight at the Whiteman Tennis Center, Revelli initially thought he had sealed the overall win.

“I knew since the match was still going that it was a tight one,” Revelli said. “I thought I had clinched when I won, but then they told me (freshman) Azuma (Visaya) was still going, so I went straight to support.”

By the time Revelli had joined Visaya’s cheering committee, Visaya had already pocketed a quick 6-1 first set. The grueling second set, where Visaya fought to equalize at every changeover, ultimately led to a tiebreaker which the freshman dropped 7-4.

After winning five straight games out of the gate in the third, Visaya secured the match victory with a 6-1 finish in the deciding set. The team greeted him by storming the court while Visaya collapsed in victory.

“Honestly, in these tight matches, I focus more and I play for the team and not just for myself,” Visaya said. “It just helps me really focus on every point.”

With hopes to hang on tight to the momentum, UCLA will depart for a trip north to take on California and No. 20 Stanford next weekend.

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Alexsia Drulias
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