No. 4 UCLA stifles rally by No. 15 Cal, wins 5-2 in conference matchup
BERKELEY, Calif. -- Fourth-ranked UCLA started off conference play on a positive note on Friday, registering a 5-2 victory against No. 15 Cal at the Hellman Tennis Complex. The Bruins, who beat the Bears 6-1 in a non-conference match at UCLA in early February, improved to 15-1 overall and 1-0 in Pac-12 play. With the loss, Cal saw its record fall to 8-8 and 0-1 in league action.
UCLA won the doubles point on Friday, posting wins at court Nos. 1 and 3. After Alex Brigham and Dennis Mkrtchian notched an 8-4 win at the No. 3 spot, UCLA's Marcos Giron and Dennis Novikov clinched the point with an 8-4 upset against 26th-ranked Campbell Johnson and Chris Konigsfeldt at court No. 1. Giron and Novikov were ranked No. 60 nationally.
After doubles, UCLA moved out to a 3-0 lead in the match following consecutive set wins at court Nos. 2 and 5, as Novikov beat Konigsfeldt 6-2, 6-4 at the No. 2 spot, while Clay Thompson was a 6-4, 6-1 winner against Mads Engsted at court No. 5.
Despite being down 0-3, Cal made things interesting by winning the next two matches to cut the lead to 3-2. Freshman Karue Sell, however, put to rest any notion of a Cal comeback when he dispatched Chase Melton 6-2, 6-4 at court No. 6, giving the Bruins a 4-2 lead.
Junior Adrien Puget capped off the Bruin win with a three-set victory at court No. 3, where he downed Johnson 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.