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Following third consecutive sweep, UCLA men’s tennis to go against USC

Gianluca Ballotta of UCLA men’s tennis follows through on a slicing backhand return. Though his previous two dual-singles matches went unfinished, the freshman has been a mainstay at the No. 5 spot, starting at the position in seven of the Bruins’ last eight matches. (Brandon Morquecho/Daily Bruin)

Men's Tennis


No. 11 USC
Wednesday, 5 p.m.

Marks Stadium
USC Playsight

By Jeremy Chen

April 19, 2023 11:44 a.m.

Two up, two down.

After dropping each of its first two matchups against its crosstown rival, UCLA men’s tennis (12-7, 3-3 Pac-12) will have a third and final crack at taking down No. 11 USC (14-7, 4-2) on Wednesday, with the first serve set for 5 p.m. The blue and gold is riding a three-match wave of momentum – defeating Washington, Oregon and UC San Diego over a four-day span.

The win against the Tritons marked the fourth straight doubles victory for freshman Aadarsh Tripathi, who said playing at the Los Angeles Tennis Center helped him sink into a good match rhythm.

“Being at home really helps a lot,” Tripathi said. “I’m used to these courts, so I feel really comfortable here.”

But come Wednesday, the Bruins won’t be playing at home.

UCLA will take a short drive over to Marks Stadium for the second time this season, with the first resulting in a 4-0 defeat during ITA Kickoff Weekend in January.

A second loss by the same margin kicked off the month of March for the Bruins, marking the seventh straight rivalry match in which victory eluded them.

UCLA has had the taste of defeat in its mouth for over four years now, with its last win against USC surfacing on April 5, 2019.

It’s a taste even the newcomers want to wash out. Freshman Gianluca Ballotta said he’s anticipating a good match and used his competition against UCSD as an opportunity to prepare for USC.

“I was just trying to visualize playing against them and doing my best,” Ballotta said.

But UCLA may need more than its best, considering USC boasts two top 50-ranked singles players and a top-10 doubles pairing. With No. 84 sophomore Alexander Hoogmartens’ availability still up in the air due to an undisclosed injury, the odds remain stacked against the young Bruins.

But after 19 matches this season, coach Billy Martin said he has faith that his team’s physical conditioning and level of play are peaking, pointing to them as potential indicators of a changing tide.

“Now we’re going over to USC to see if we can turn things around,” Martin said.

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Jeremy Chen
Chen is a Photo editor and a sports contributor on the men's tennis beat. He is a fourth-year cognitive science student pursuing a minor in film, television, and digital media, and he is from Alameda, California. He was previously an assistant Photo editor on the Sports beat.
Chen is a Photo editor and a sports contributor on the men's tennis beat. He is a fourth-year cognitive science student pursuing a minor in film, television, and digital media, and he is from Alameda, California. He was previously an assistant Photo editor on the Sports beat.
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