Fruttero Advances to Round of 16...Twice
May 23, 2002
COLLEGE STATION, Tex. - California men's tennis team captain John Paul Fruttero had a busy day Thursday. In the morning, he became one of only two 9/16 seeds to advance to the Round of 16 at the NCAA Singles Championship. In the afternoon, he joined Robert Kowalczyk to take down a 5/8 seed to advance to the Round of 16 at the NCAA Doubles Championship.
So many matches, so little time.
In the morning's singles match, the 11th-ranked junior from San Marino, CA (19-7), locked horns with UCLA's Rodrigo Grilli (No. 48, 30-5), defeating the Bruin in straight sets, 6-2, 7-5. While Fruttero and Grilli had not met during the season, Grilli was certainly a familiar foe for a Cal player. Cal and UCLA met twice in April, with Grilli taking victories both times, most recently against Fruttero's doubles partner, Kowalczyk.
Quickly moving over to the doubles courts, the unseeded Fruttero and Kowalczyk duo (No. 12, 14-9) avenged an earlier-season loss by dropping the 5/8 seeded tandem of Carlos Lozano and Gert Vilms from Brigham Young (No. 7, 25-9) in a straight-set stunner, 7-6, 6-4. When Cal and BYU met in March, it was the Cougar squad who had the last laugh, as they bested Fruttero and Kowalczyk at the No. 1 doubles court, 9-7.
In a wild NCAA Singles Championship, only seven of 16 seeds are still standing, with high seeds No. 2, No. 7 and No. 8 having already been eliminated. Out of the 9/16 seeds, only Fruttero and Illinois' Amer Delic (No. 13) remain in the hunt.
Tomorrow, Fruttero will meet one of the remaining top seeds in Minnesota's Harsh Mankad. Mankad (26-4), ranked No. 3 in the nation, owns the corresponding seed at NCAAs and breezed by Arkansas' Oggie Kolev in the second round today, 6-3, 6-2. Fruttero and Mankad have not met in 2002, but Mankad faced Cal's Balazs Veress and Conor Niland at the Wine Country Challenge in September, taking straight set victories over both. Fruttero and Mankad have faced three common opponents this season, in No. 4 Al Garland (Pepperdine), Delic and No. 27 Andrew Park (Garland and Delic also advanced to the Round of 16). Fruttero split two matches against Garland, lost to Delic and defeated Park twice, giving him a 3-2 record against them. Mankad lost to Garland, split with Delic and got the best of Park, giving him a 2-2 record in matches with the common foes.
In doubles, Fruttero and Kowalczyk will meet either Duke's Phillip King and Michael Yani, or Vanderbilt's Boddy Reynolds and Lewis Smith in tomorrow's Round of 16. To follow the tournament and for specific match times, visit www.aggieathletics.com.
9/16 seed John Paul Fruttero: 18-7
National Rank: No. 11
Singles - Round of 32
9/16 John Paul Fruttero (Cal) def. Rodrigo Grilli (UCLA), 6-2, 7-5
Doubles - Round of 32
Fruttero/Kowalczyk (Cal) def. 5/8 seed Lozano/Vilms (BYU), 7-6, 6-4
Singles - Round of 16
9/16 seed John Paul Fruttero (Cal) vs. 3 seed Harsh Mankad (Minnesota)
Doubles - Round of 16
Fruttero/Kowalczyk (Cal) vs. (winner of Reynolds/Smith (Vanderbilt) vs. King/Yani (Duke)).