Men’s tennis hits wall in California

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The men’s tennis team had a rough week in California, falling both to UC Santa Barbara 4-2 and to No. 9 UCLA 6-1.

Wet weather and courts drove BYU and UC Santa Barbara indoors to compete and forced the two teams to forgo the doubles matches.

“It was obvious that it was our first match indoors and at sea level,” BYU head coach Brad Pearce said in a press release after the Santa Barbara match on Thursday.

The Cougars’ only two wins of the day came from No. 43 senior Georgy Batrakov and No. 106 sophomore Patrick Kawka, defeating Benjamin Recknagel 6-3, 6-3, and Greg Scott 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, respectively.

The Gauchos made quick work of the rest of the Cougars, however, all winning out the first two sets of their respective matches.

“We are used to playing inside with altitude,” Pearce said. “We played a good team today and I thought we did a good job for our first match out under those conditions.”

On Friday, UCLA showed BYU exactly why the Bruins are ranked No. 9 in the country. The Bruins won all three doubles matches 8-3. The team also won all but one singles match.

Junior Spencer Smith gave the Cougars their only win of the day, beating out No. 72 Clay Thompson in a tie-breaker set, 2-6, 6-3, (10-6).

“I was really proud of Spencer,” Pearce said. “He beat Thompson, who won the Southern Cal Intercollegiate Championships this fall, so that was a big win for him.”

Kawka lost a hard fought battle to No. 86 Marcos Giron of UCLA 7-5, 7-6, putting both matches into tie-breaking situations.

Francis Sargeant also refused to go down without a fight, pushing both his sets into extra games, but lost 7-6, 7-6 to UCLA’s Ale Brigham.

The rest of the Cougars fell in the first two sets of all of their matches, allowing the Bruins to take the whole match.

“I felt at every position we competed really well,” Pearce said. “It’s obviously a little tough to be 1-2 on the season, but UCLA is No. 9 in the country. They’re a great team, a great program. And this was a better match at sea level than yesterday.”

The Cougars will try their luck in California again next weekend in another set of back-to-back matches against Vanderbilt and Pepperdine.

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