The UCSB men’s tennis team (3-3 overall) lost 6-1 to #6 UCLA (8-1) after a series of long two-set singles matches and an injury to freshman Alexander Konigsfeld yesterday.
“They were tough,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “They made very few unforced errors – they made you earn every point you got.”
Sophomore team captain Josh Finkelstein beat Bruins’ senior Jeremy Drean 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in the Gauchos’ only victory of the day.
“I gained a lot of confidence from this match,” Finkelstein said. “[Drean] made some random errors, so I knew that all I had to do was play my game and serve big.”
Konigsfeld, playing in the second singles spot, was tied 3-3 against UCLA senior Mathieu Dehaine – the nation’s 25th best collegiate singles player – before he reached for a backhand and fell, banging his right knee against the concrete. He then lost nine straight games to lose his first match since Feb. 8.
Although the rest of the singles matches were lost in straight sets, all the matches lasted over two and a half hours. Four of the Bruins’ singles players hold rankings amongst the top 100 collegiate players, including Dehaine and #28 Holden Seguso, who beat Gaucho sophomore Philip Therp at the second singles spot 6-3, 6-1. The Gauchos #1 singles player, junior Bijan Hejazi, lost to #44 Harel Srugo 6-4, 6-3. UCLA freshman Ahmed Ismail ended Gaucho freshman Eric Lee’s three-match winning streak in the sixth singles spot after winning 6-4, 6-3. The Bruins swept the doubles matches 8-3, 8-4, 8-3.
The Gauchos won three consecutive matches before losing to the Bruins. They play again Sunday afternoon at Cal Poly, a Big West division rival and contender for the Big West title.
“It would have been a huge upset had we won [against UCLA],” Davis said. “But everyone senses that we are improving. I don’t think we will think too much about this match. Now we just have to focus on our important conference matches on the road.”