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UCLA Men's Tennis - Can the Bruins Repel the Red Raiders and Advance to the Sweet 16?

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UCLA faces a tough Texas Tech team this afternoon in a second round NCAA tournament match.

@UCLAAthletics

Opponent: #19 Texas Tech (19-8)

When: Saturday, May 9, 3:00 PM PDT

Where: Los Angeles Tennis Center, Los Angeles, CA

Audio: None

Live StatsUCLA Live Stats

UCLA Resources: UCLA Official Tournament Preview

NCAA Resources: NCAA Tournament ProgramNCAA Bracket

#16 UCLA faces #19 Texas Tech today in a second round NCAA tournament match. As the rankings suggest, this is likely to be a tight match that may need to go the distance to separate the two teams.

The Bruins Trounce the Eagles

The Bruins took care of business in their opening round match against Florida Gulf Coast. In doubles, Dennis Mkrtchian and Austin Rapp won 8-3 on court 3, and shortly thereafter, Mackenzie McDonald and Martin Redlicki won 8-2 on court 1 to secure the doubles point. The other UCLA pair, Joseph Di Giulio and Karue Sell, were leading 5-3 when doubles play finished.

UCLA's dominance carried over to singles. The Bruins won the first set in singles play on all six courts. Joseph Di Giulio was the first to finish his singles match when he defeated his opponent, 6-1, 6-1. Karue Sell finished soon after with a 6-1, 6-2 victory on court 4. Dennis Mkrtchian claimed the Bruins' third singles point when he closed out his contest with a 6-2, 6-2 scoreline. That ended the Eagles' NCAA experience and gave the Bruins a comfortable 4-0 shutout.

Scouting the Red Raiders

Texas Tech advanced to the second round of the tourney after defeating UC Santa Barbara, 4-2. The fact that the Red Raiders had to work pretty hard to finish off the Gauchos is good news for UCLA.

Texas Tech began by clinching the doubles point, but only after struggling with difficult matchups on courts 1 & 3. The Red Raiders started well in singles, but ran into trouble on four of the courts. After winning singles points through Alex Sendegeya (#117 nationally) and Jolan Cailleau (#123 nationally), the Red Raiders then quickly lost the next two singles points. Eventually Texas Tech prevailed behind their top player, #37 Felipe Soares, who needed three sets to claim the third singles point for the Red Raiders.

In doubles, the Red Raiders are likely to set up this way:

  • Court 1: #22 Hugo Dojas / Felipe Soares
  • Court 2: Jolan Cailleau / Alex Sendegeya
  • Court 3: Connor Curry / Francisco Zambon

And in singles, the Red Raiders will probably go with this lineup:

  • Court 1: #37 Felipe Soares
  • Court 2: Hugo Dojas
  • Court 3: #117 Alex Sendegeya
  • Court 4: #123 Jolan Cailleau
  • Court 5: Francisco Zambon
  • Court 6: Connor Curry

What to Expect

The Bruins are familiar with the Red Raiders since the two teams met in January at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. UCLA won that match convincingly by winning on all three courts in doubles and taking three points in singles behind Mackenzie McDonald, Martin Redlicki, and Karue Sell. The only point for Texas Tech came as a result of a victory in singles by Jolan Cailleau .

Both teams have played Baylor this season, and although both the Bruins and the Red Raiders were defeated, Texas Tech at least managed to win a point in their contest.

Obviously, this will be a significantly more challenging match for the Bruins than yesterday's contest was. If the Bruins can maintain their focus, they should be able to repeat their early season success against the Red Raiders. The two key battles to watch are the doubles contest at court 1 that will match Mackenzie McDonald & Martin Redlicki against Felipe Soares & Hugo Dojas, and the singles duel on court 4 that will feature Karue Sell against Jolan Cailleau. If the Bruins win those two battles, they should be able to put away the Red Raiders.

However, I suspect that the Bruins will find it much harder to beat Texas Tech in their rematch today, and I won't be surprised if the Red Raiders win three points against UCLA before falling short. Nevertheless, the Bruins have superior talent and home court advantage, so I expect UCLA to grind out a win this afternoon.

Go BRUINS!