Here comes SHERWOOD! (Preview and more…)

Good evening everyone and thanks for checking in. I hope that you all have had a great week–and are enjoying this finally-beautiful Los Angeles weather!  Only at UCLA…I walked into my seminar class and my professor asks us if we mind taking the class outside. How cool is that?!? Gotta’ love learning in the breathtaking sculpture gardens with the sunshine.

But I digress. Even more exciting than having class outside today (though, after four years of classes, I admit that that is pretty exciting), is that the Sherwood Collegiate Cup this weekend in Sherman Oaks, CA. Sherwood has historically been the beginning of the season, with our first dual match a week from tomorrow. But even more, it is a great way to get the teams involved in some very competitive competition before the the season starts.

And like usual, it will be a really great tournament with four top ten teams…and I’m not sure how many pre-season tournaments in the nation can really boast that. UCLA, USC, Stanford, and Baylor will duke it in a 32 Singles Draw and 16 Doubles Draw. For all UCLA fans (or really tennis fans), you are welcome to watch the tournament and Sherwood Country Club.

Anyway, the draws are out for both singles and doubles and we have a full eight players ready to go tomorrow morning! The team all left today as did Coach Martin; our players will make the short 40 minutes drive to Sherwood and stay overnight at variety of gracious host families in the area. Since I know most of these players well from these three other teams, let’s take a look at tomorrow mornings matches for the Bruins:

9 AM SINGLES MATCHES:

Holden Seguso vs. Baylor’s Sergio Ramirez: Well, this should be exciting!! After taking the fall quarter off, “The Goose” as we call him, is back….and his opponent is one that we Bruins know well for the Bears. Ramirez is the definition of a grinder, content to duke it out from the miles behind the baseline. This will be a touch match for Holden because while Ramirez will rarely hurt you, but rarely will he lose a match and fights extremely hard. I think Holden needs to be aggressive and take it to Ramirez or else it could spell trouble if it because a three-hour marathon. Should be a great match.

Jeff Gast vs. Stanford’s No. 41 Ryan Thacher: Obviously, this is a touch matchup will play one of the better players in the country in Thacher. Jeff recently switched rackets from a Wilson stick to Head and has been playing well, but he is going to have to play huge to beat Thacher. Ryan has a huge game, big serve and likes to utilize that forehand. I think if Jeff can find his confidence early and serves well, I think it could be a battle of two tall guys. But obviously, Jeff will have to serve well and be aggressive so Ryan does not find a rhythm early.

Evan Lee vs. Baylor’s No. 22 John Peers: Honestly, I do not know much about Peers, though from the Baylor website, he is transfer, a Senior, and I do know that he had a very good fall. Obviously, no matter his style, it will be a tough matchup for Evan against one of the top players from Baylor. I talked to Evan earlier this morning and I know he is just going to go to Sherwood and go out firing against these top players.

Adrien Puget vs. Stanford’s Greg Hirschman: Welcome to the college game Mr. Puget! Fresh off the boat from France, Adrien wil play his first college match tomorrow against probably the most notorious and unorthodox player in all of college tennis (history?). We all know Greg quite well, and to say it nicely, he calls the lines closely and it very animated! In all honestly, Greg is not the most talented player in terms of strokes and athleticism, but he is incredibly smart, experienced, and most of all, makes it a mind game out there. This match will be one of the most interesting to watch in my opinion….it will be the flair and power of Puget versus the animated and chess-like approach of Hirschman. On paper, Adrien can win this match of course but this is, afterall, his first college match and Hirshman is a very experienced player. If Greg can get into Adrien’s head (and he will try), then this could be dangerous for the Bruin, so he needs to stay focused and keep it about the game.

10 and 10:30 AM SINGLES MATCHES:

Clay Thompson vs. USC’s No. 84 Peter Lucasson: Oooo…you gotta’ love the early Bruin-Trojan matchups! This should be a big match and in a way, I think evenly matched–Lucasson is an experienced player now after last season with the Trojans but Clay has played some big matches early on in his career. Really, I think Clay just needs to be aggressive. He has got a big game and he needs to establish that early and NOT let Lucasson get into any type of rhythm. Lucasson can be streaky and guy who feeds off confidence, and I think Clay needs to “bring it” early to avoid Peter from getting on a roll–which he often does. This will also be interesting to see where both players who are vying for roster spots, where they stand going into the season. Looking forward to this one.

Max TaBaTruong vs. Baylor’s Roberto Maytin: Yeah, this will be the grinder of all grinder matches. Sometimes you have tips of what each player needs to do to win, but this one, I think, really just might be a “who wants it more” type match and who is more focused and ready to take it. On our side, Max has been playing well and I think he can definitely win this match handily, but Maytin is of course a talented player for Baylor and this will be a battle of the Sophomores.

11 AM SINGLES MATCH:

Amit Inbar vs. Baylor’s Dennis Lengsfeld: Lengsfeld is a Freshman from Germany, who will be playing some of his first high-level matches in college, so none of us have seen him play. However, Baylor Coach Matt Knoll always recruits talented players, and no doubt that Lengsfeld is of that mold. Amit, for us, really just needs to relax and be confident and let his talent shine through. I really think he had a very, very strong week of practice and is playing as well as he ever had. This match will let us see Lengsfeld and also where Amit stands and his mindset as he has slid into the leader of this Bruin team with the absence of Nick Meister.

Also, Coach Kwinta will take Warren Hardie and Alex Brigham to the National Tennis Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs. It is a mix teams playing there, including Pepperdine and UNC.

Anyway, so that is my take on tomorrow’s matches. Definitely check the UCLA Twitter for score updates and expect a blog later tomorrow recapping the day. Hopefully we will see a few Bruin fans down there and of course, thanks for reading.

GO BRUINS!!!

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