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UCLA men’s tennis to face USC following winning streak

Billy Martin watches the court during a match. The longtime Bruin head coach’s team is riding on a four-match winning streak ahead of Tuesday’s affair against USC. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Men's Tennis


USC
Tuesday, 4 p.m.

Los Angeles Tennis Center
UCLA Tennis-1

By Jeremy Chen

April 16, 2024 8:45 a.m.

Tennis is a game of confidence as much as it is one of physical abilities.

Coach Billy Martin’s team has it in spades.

“We’re very confident,” said junior Alexander Hoogmartens. “We just had a good win against Stanford, and winning against them (USC) last time at their house, we have a really big chance to win again and finish off this year very strongly.”

UCLA men’s tennis (11-6, 3-2 Pac-12) will head into its second matchup of the year against USC (6-14, 1-4), with a chance to register its first conference win over its crosstown rivals after a nonconference victory at Marks Stadium in March. UCLA is currently riding a four-match winning streak, including its 4-3 win against then-No. 19 Stanford.

The team isn’t the only one on a winning streak.

Hoogmartens and fellow co-captain Govind Nanda have also been on a roll as of late, together defeating four consecutive doubles opponents.

“I feel like the chemistry’s become a lot better as we’ve played more and more together,” the redshirt senior said. “I love playing with him (Hoogmartens). It’s a fun experience.”

UCLA won the doubles point against USC in their last clash, and has the opportunity to do the same Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

It’s not all sunshine and roses, though.

UCLA’s No. 1 doubles team – composed of redshirt junior Timothy Li and junior Giacomo Revelli – hasn’t won a match since February.

However, Martin said the duo took down the No. 2 pairing in freshman Spencer Johnson and redshirt freshman Emon van Loben Sels in practice Monday.

“Winning is a really good self-motivator,” Martin said. “I like the path that we’re on. We’ve got a very tough match tomorrow.”

As tough as it may be, the Bruins have an experienced veteran leader to help guide them through the match.

Nanda, who took a two-year break after the 2020-2021 season to play on tour, played his first match against USC in 2019 and said he looks forward to the energy the rivalry always brings.

“It’s a fun match, always. Hopefully there’ll be a good crowd out here. One of the years I remember every seat in the stands was packed, so that was a pretty cool experience,” Nanda said. “Hopefully we can simulate that experience tomorrow (Tuesday) a little bit.”

While attendance is unlikely to hit that same capacity, the home court advantage could still help the Bruins.

UCLA boasts a 17-9 all-time home record against USC, while it holds a 14-15 record at Marks Stadium.

“We’re really ready, and our crowd’s going to be ready,” Martin said. “It’s going to be an exciting day at LATC tomorrow.”

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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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