April 9, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Pepperdine University
at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center
First and Foremost
The 60th-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team has been cruising as of late, winning their last two crucial Big West conference matches against UC Davis and University of Pacific. The Gauchos now stand on top of the Big West conference standings at 4-1 (11-6 overall) the University of Pacific trailing by a half-game at 3-1. Also in the mix is Cal Poly at 2-1 and UC Irvine at 1-1 in Big West play. Although UCSB has already clinched at least a share of the Big West title and a first round bye at the Conference Tournament later this month, Pacific, Cal Poly and UC Irvine will all be jostling for a share of first-place and a chance at a first round bye in the tournament.
Riding the Wave
13th-ranked Pepperdine University has also been tearing up the competition recently, defeating their last 10 opponents. Their only loss at home in the 2008 campaign came against then-ranked No. 10 Alabama in their second match of the season. Since then, Pepperdine has gone on a rampage, defeating ITA ranked teams such as No. 53 Fresno State, No. 43 Harvard, No. 42 Cal, No. 12 Illinois, No. 19 Texas A&M and No. 14 Baylor. The potent Waves squad, who are 13-6 in dual match play on the season, are led by senior No. 10 Andre Begemann (Blomberg, Germany), No. 20 sophomore Bassam Beidas (Cairo, Egypt) and No. 123 junior Omar Altmann.
Senior Jack Hui has been playing his best tennis of the year lately, combining for five wins out of his six matches over the weekend. After his terrific performance, Hui was announced the Big West Player of the Week. This past Friday, Hui handed out one of the only three losses to a strongly-ranked Fresno State team, defeating Tejesvi Veerepalli 6-0, 7-6 at the No. 3 spot. Two days later, Hui came back from a 0-3 deficit in the third set of his singles match, winning six straight games, to improve his dual record to a team best 12-5. Hui, along with the rest of the Gauchos, will have to play close to perfection in order to pull off an upset over the highly-skilled Pepperdine squad.