LOS ANGELES — At No. 1 and 2 singles, Cal Poly's Ben Donovan and Marco Comuzzo each won a set against the two top-ranked collegiate tennis players in the nation, but sixth-seeded UCLA held on for a 4-0 home win over the Mustangs in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
In doubles, senior Jurgen De Jager teamed with Donovan to defeat Joseph Di Giulio and Clay Thompson 8-5 at No. 3, tying it 1-all.
The ITA's 10th-ranked duo in the country, though — Marcos Giron and Mackenzie McDonald — topped Comuzzo and fellow senior Matt Thomson 8-5 on the first court to clinch the go-ahead point.
The Bruins (23-3) took a 3-0 lead with wins at No. 6 and 5 singles. McDonald (ranked 35th individually) then settled the overall outcome at No. 3 by a 6-4, 6-3 win over De Jager.
At the top, Donovan (17-10 overall) lived up to his billing as the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year.
He won the first set over Thompson (37-5), 6-4, before it was evened up via a 3-6 second set.
Donovan was then up 3-0 in the third before the match was rendered unfinished — just nine points away from a win over the No. 1-ranked collegian in the land.
Not to be outdone, versus the second-ranked player — Giron (22-4) — Comuzzo also won his initial set 6-4.
Giron then fought back with a 2-6 victory, before Comuzzo was up 3-2 at the time of sudden death.
Mustang freshman Corey Pang also held his own at the No. 4 spot, trailing 71st-ranked Gage Brymer 7-6, 3-2 before the stoppage.