Knights Edged By #10 UCLA in Kickoff Finale

Box Score (PDF)

LOS ANGELES – The UCF men's tennis team nearly upset the No. 10 UCLA Bruins in a highly competitive match but came up just short, falling 4-3 to conclude the Knights' ITA Kickoff Weekend out west.

The match was tight from the beginning and the doubles point was a back and forth battle all the way through. No. 6 Gabriel Decamps and Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi struck first on court two, triumphing over Drew Baird and Connor Rapp 6-2. UCLA answered on court one where Bogdan Pavel and Trey Hilderbrand were edged by Govind Nanda and Keegan Smith 6-4. Court three was forced into a tiebreaker which saw UCLA's Bryce Pereira and Patrick Zahraj prevailed over JanMagnus Johnson and Alan Rubio by a score of 7-6 (7-1).

UCF rebounded from the doubles point loss by splitting the first sets across all six courts. The Knights got the point back from Mikhail Sokolovskiy on court six as he topped Connor Hance 6-4, 6-1. The victory was Sokolvskiy's second of the weekend and the two wins put him just two shy of tying for tenth place on UCF's all-time singles wins list.

UCLA countered with a win on court five where Zahraj beat Johnson 6-1, 7-5. Courts five and six were the only courts to finish in straight sets as the remaining courts were tight throughout.

No. 22 Decamps picked up a huge victory on court one, defeating one of the country's best singles players, No. 7 Smith. Decamps won by a count of 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 as he picked up his second victory over a top 30 opponent on the weekend.

UCLA regained their edge on court two as Nanda went on to defeat No. 29 Grassi Mazzuchi 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

The final two courts were up for the taking. At the time of UCLA's court two win, courts three and four were both in third sets with the third set tied at 1-1. The two matches stayed tight down the stretch until the match's conclusion.

Rubio would chalk up a point for the Knights on court three as he was able to top Baird in a close 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 7-5 battle. That would even the match at 3-3 and leave the fate of the match in court four's hands.

No. 18 Pavel fought back after dropping the first set to earn a hard fought second set victory. In the third set, UCLA's Ben Goldberg went up 5-3 on Pavel. Unphased, Pavel came back to win the next game and brought the following one to a deuce point. On the deciding point of the game, the two rallied for a bit before Pavel called a ball out. The call was overturned by the official and UCLA clinched the match with a result of 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 on court four.

UCF will take a trip up the east coast next weekend, stopping to play two of the nation's top teams. They'll visit No. 7 Wake Forest on Friday at 5 p.m. before travelling to face No. 23 Virginia at noon on Sunday. Virginia started the season as the No. 10 team in the country.

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