It hasn’t taken high school senior and future UCLA Bruin Drew Baird very long to become acclimated to the Southern California hard-court surface and surroundings. Baird advanced to the semifinals of the ITF World Tennis Tour $25,000 Calabasas Tournament taking place this week at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.
Baird, 18, was given a wild card into the popular event just up the US 101 from where he will play his college tennis in Westwood starting in the fall. In getting to the final four, Baird had to send two former notable Bruins packing as he beat two-time NCAA doubles champion Martin Redlicki in a third-set tiebreaker in the first round, and beat Karue Sell 6-3 in the third in Friday’s quarterfinals.
In January, Bruins head coach Billy Martin announced that Baird, a native of Holly Springs, N.C., who currently trains at IMG Academy in Florida, is set to enroll at UCLA in time for the 2019-2020 season.
“We’re all very excited to find out that Drew has signed his National Letter of Intent and is officially in the Bruin family now,” Martin said back in January. “Great kid. We’ve been able to get to know him for the last two years, watching him and following his results. He’s really excited to be coming to UCLA, which is always fun for us to know that it wasn’t so hard to convince him to want to join us here at UCLA.”
A Blue-Chip prospect according to TennisRecruiting.net, Baird has been ranked is currently ranked No. 8 in his class. He reached a career-best No. 4 last year. Baird has also been slotted as high as No. 12 in the ITF combined junior rankings and holds a UTR of 13.2 (career high: 13.79).
Baird played in each of the four Grand Slam junior tournaments and shined en route to a Round of 16 berth in the Australian Open singles draw. He also advanced to the doubles quarterfinal round with partner Trey Hilderbrand at the US Open. Baird advanced to the semifinals in doubles at the USTA National Hardcourts last year at Kalamazoo, Mich.