The Washington men’s tennis team played its first match outside this afternoon, losing to No. 4 UCLA (15-2, 2-0) 4-1 to drop to 8-7 on the season and 0-2 in the first weekend of Pac-12 play.
The score is not necessarily an accurate representation of how close the match was. The Huskies took a thrilling doubles point with 6-4 victories by the duos of freshman Jack Davis and senior Jake Douglas on Court 3, and juniors Kawika Lam and Enzo Somer over the No. 24 duo in the country. Junior Piers Foley and senior Mitch Stewart were tied 6-6 when the match was called.
The start of the match was a big boost for the Huskies and a welcome improvement over the last few matches.
“I felt like we were better in doubles,” head coach Matt Anger said. ‘We could have been even a couple more points tougher. We showed progress today.”
The singles matches were not quite as kind to the Huskies. The matches were close almost entirely across the board; the only one that wasn’t was Sommer falling to No. 58 Keegan Smith 6-0, 6-2 to put UCLA on the board.
After that, all of the matches were much narrower, but the Dawgs weren't able to close when it mattered most.
“I felt like we were sharper without any lapses, we didn’t play that many loose points, and then we slowed down,” Anger said. “We were able to sink our teeth into the match more than we have, especially against a top team. I’m proud of the guys, I feel like we made progress, but obviously, we’re still not through the finish line.”
Foley had a chance to take his first set in a tiebreaker but fell and couldn’t recover and was unable to pick up a game in the second set. After freshman Alexis Alvarez fell in straight sets, Washington had to run the table to pull off the upset.
Sophomore Amit Batta did everything he could to make that a reality after falling behind 5-2 in the final set. He bounced back to tie it and force a tiebreaker where he ultimately lost to clinch the match for UCLA. The two remaining matches were called.
It was especially tough for No. 86 Douglas, who went up 6-5 over No. 3 Martin Redlcik. He took the first set in an incredible tiebreaker before dropping the second set 6-2.
“The first set was definitely a confidence boost, but then I came off of a bit of an adrenaline rush after the first set, that’s something to learn from,” Douglas said. “I feel like I’m there with anybody and our team can hang with anybody. We played well across all six courts, and it’s definitely an improvement from our previous matches.”
The Huskies have over a week to recover before going on their first road trip of the season, where they play San Diego and San Diego State on March 21 and 23, respectively.
Reach reporter Kyle Gehler at email@example.com. Twitter: @KyleGehler