The Bruins put on a winning performance on short notice.
UCLA men’s tennis (9-4, 2-0 Pac-12) earned a 6-1 victory over Liberty University (8-5) at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Monday. The win marks the team’s fifth straight victory and improves the Bruins’ home record to 5-0. The match was originally scheduled for Tuesday but was moved a day earlier because of forecasted rain.
“Honestly, we didn’t know until right before our practice on Sunday,” junior Bryce Pereira said. “But we were already getting ready because we knew it was going to be a tough week.”
UCLA began the day by securing the doubles point on court three, as Pereira and sophomore Patrick Zahraj picked up a 7-6 (2) win over Liberty’s Chase Burton and Deji Thomas-Smith.
“Doubles can make or break the match sometimes,” Pereira said. “It puts a lot of pressure on the other team because trying to get four singles wins off a top team is really tough.”
After UCLA picked up singles wins on courts two and one, sophomore Roscoe Bellamy notched a 6-2, 6-3 win over Thomas-Smith to clinch the Bruins fifth home win of the season.
“Getting that first match under my belt was good, so overall I’m just happy with how it turned out,” Bellamy said. “Playing at home is always a huge boost because we always have a great group of people and a great crowd that comes out.”
Coach Billy Martin said he was happy to see Bellamy overcome recent injuries to earn the win – his first dual match win of his UCLA career.
“He’s really had a tough ride here. The last four years have been extremely difficult with injuries,” Martin said. “He’s had bad luck but he’s been determined to get through it, and he’s playing well now.”
Matches continued to play out following Bellamy’s clinching win, and the Bruins secured victories in the two remaining matches. Martin said he was happy his team was able to stay active after not playing together in more than a week.
“We’ve hit a little bit but I wanted us to get used to the courts,” Martin said. “(Liberty) was a good team, and they’ve beaten some good opponents. I think it was really important for us to get this match in before USC and not go almost two weeks without a match.”
UCLA will resume its season Thursday when it hosts crosstown rival USC at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. With rain in the forecast for almost the entirety of the week, Martin said the team anticipates potential weather delays.
“I spoke with their coach today,” Martin said. “We’ll see how it goes but we’re both concerned about that.”
Match play is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.