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Monday, July 28, 2014 | Last updated: 9:39pm

Tennis teams face talented LA schools



Arizona men’s tennis will host No. 2 USC on Friday and No. 3 UCLA on Sunday.

“All the guys come to Arizona for the opportunity to play in the Pac-12 and compete against the best,” head coach Tad Berkowitz said. “It’s our time to show it and see what we have against two of the best teams in the country.”

Arizona is 11-12, 0-4 in the Pac-12 Conference and has lost four matches in a row, but its last three, versus Stanford, 4-3, at Washington, 4-2, and at Oregon, 4-1, have gone down to the wire.

“The Stanford, Washington and Oregon matches were all battles,” Berkowitz said. “We’re working our tails off, and we’re putting ourselves in position to win.”

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By Cecilia Alvarez / The Daily Wildcat
Sophomore Naoki Takeda is currently 15-4 for the season. Arizona will host USC and UCLA, two of the nation's top college tennis teams, this weekend.

Sophomore Naoki Takeda, who is currently at 15-4, has led Arizona.

“I’ve been ready to play every match,” Takeda said. “I’m eating well, drinking well and sleeping well to prepare. I practice hard, and my experience is coming through.”

These are Arizona’s first home matches since the weather heated up.

“We have to get behind each other,” freshman Will Kneale said. “With the heat and high altitude, the balls will be flying, so anything can happen.”

UCLA is 17-2, with its only two losses coming against Baylor and USC. The Trojans are 22-2 and have only lost to UCLA and No. 1 Ohio State.

“We have to play normal,” Takeda said. “We can’t overplay, and we have to trust our game.”

Arizona women’s tennis will travel to play two top-15 teams.

No. 25 Arizona will play at No. 2 UCLA on Friday, and then No. 13 USC on Saturday.

Arizona has two nationally ranked singles players: No. 60 Lacey Smith and No. 61 Lauren Marker.

Smith, Arizona’s usual No. 1 for Arizona, is 13-3.

Marker was the Pac-12 Player of the Week on March 23 and is 15-2 in singles matches.

USC is 5-2 in Pac-12 play and 48-15 all-time against Arizona. Last year, the Trojans beat the Wildcats 6-1 to extend their winning streak over the Wildcats to six.

—Follow Zoe Wolkowitz @zowolko


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