Victor Krustev scored UCSB’s lone point, but several other Gauchos had good showings in their men’s tennis season debut at UCLA on Wednesday.
The Bruins, ranked No. 17 in this week’s ITA Oracle Poll, defeated UCSB 6-1.
“I’m proud of the way our guys competed in their first match of the year,” Gaucho coach Marty Davis said. “It was a very good day from that standpoint.
“It was really much closer than the 6-1 score. We were a couple of points away from a couple of third sets. The guys really battled.”
Krustev’s successful day began when he combined forces with Joseph Rotheram to defeat UCLA’s Sam Feit and Drew Baird 6-0 at No. 2 doubles.
“Victor and Joey were absolutely spectacular,” Davis said. “They played great, classic, old-school doubles. They took over the net and made a really high percentage of their serves. They were dominant.”
But the Bruins (3-1), whose only loss this year was to No. 9 USC, captured the doubles point by winning the other two matches by 6-2 scores.
Krustev, a junior from Canada, tied the score at 1-all by sweeping Ben Goldberg 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3 singles.
“Victor was a level above his opponent at No. 3,” Davis said. “Overall, it was obviously a very, very good day for Victor. He played at a very high level.”
UCLA took the lead, however, when Matthew Tsolakyan defeated Rotheram 6-4, 6-3 at No. 5 singles.
In the featured singles match at No. 1, the Bruins’ 10th-ranked Keegan Smith defeated UCSB’s Joseph Guillin, ranked No. 27, by a 6-2, 6-4 score.
UCSB’s Alejandro Verdi went three sets at No. 4 singles before losing 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to Feit, who’s ranked 109th in ITA singles.
The Gauchos will return home to play Loyola Marymount on Saturday at 1 p.m. and No. 20 Arizona on March 5 at the Rec Center Courts. Spectators will not be allowed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.