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Alexander Hoogmartens leads UCLA men’s tennis to a win against the Trojans

Junior Alexander Hoogmartens slams a forehand. Hoogmartens notched singles and doubles victories in the Bruins’ victory over the Trojans on Friday afternoon. (Daily Bruin file photo)

Men's Tennis


USC1
UCLA4

By Lamar Tuker

March 30, 2024 9:15 p.m.

Alexander Hoogmartens shut the Trojan’s window of opportunity with an ace Friday afternoon.

Coach Billy Martin said the team’s chances of a win increased with the junior on board.

“That’s what a player like him brings to our team,” Martin said. “I think it really gave us a feeling that not only are we going to go out there and compete hard and try to win, but that we can win with him in the lineup.”

UCLA men’s tennis (8-6, 1-2 Pac-12) conquered USC (5-11, 0-2) in its first crosstown showdown of the season at the David X. Marks Tennis Stadium. The Bruins blitzed the Trojans 4-1, reversing course after their most recent loss against Arizona.

The Bruins’ fate was in Hoogmartens’ hands twice, the first time in the doubles format with his partner and co-captain redshirt senior Govind Nanda. The two held on for a 7-5 victory.

The Beersel, Belgium, local competed in his first singles match since dealing with an injury for nearly two weeks. With the Bruins leading 3-1 through three singles matches, Hoogmartens’ contest was a chance for the Bruins to cement the rivalry affair in their favor.

He delivered.

Although UCLA’s veteran was only able to get one game in the first set, he shot down his opponent in the second and secured a final redemption in the third where he landed an ace and a 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 win for the Bruins.

“That’s probably the best way to end the match because it’s stressful and everyone is watching you, so you know you have to play your best tennis,” Hoogmartens said. “And playing those aces were really good for me. It was really exciting.”

Beyond Hoogmartens and Nanda, freshmen duo Spencer Johnson and redshirt Emon van Loben Sels scored a doubles win for the Bruins with a 6-3 finish. The two doubles victories for the Bruins were enough to compensate for redshirt junior Timothy Li’s and junior Giacomo Revelli’s loss in their doubles bout.

Johnson was one of three Bruins to beat his opponent in the singles match 7-6(5), 6-4.

Senior Jorge Plans Gonzalez overcame Niroop Vallabhaneni in straight sets, 6-1, 7-5. Nanda’s match was left undetermined, pausing on a tie in the second set 7-5, 6-6 (0-3) after the Bruins already clinched victory.

Hoogmartens said the team needs to maintain this level of performance.

“I think we just (have to) keep going like this. They were not an easy match, and we showed that we were ready for the match and also to win it,” Hoogmartens said. “And that’s the most important thing.”

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