No. 4 Cal (16-2, 2-0) Romps No. 22 USC, 5-2, Completes Weekend Sweep
April 5, 2003
Berkeley, Calif. - The fourth-ranked California men's tennis team (16-2, 2-0, Pac-10) improved to 16-2 on the season with a 5-2 victory over the defending National Champion No. 22 USC Trojans at the Hellman Tennis Center in Berkeley. The squad's 16-2 start is its best since the 1989 Bears also went 16-2 en route to a 24-8 finish and an NCAA Quarterfinal appearance.
The Bears started things off by sweeping the doubles point for the second day in a row. Conor Niland and Balazs Veress were first off the court, improving to 2-0 on the year with an 8-1 stomping of Whit Livingston and Daniel Tontz on court three. Patrick Briaud and John Paul Fruttero, pairing together for the third time this year, claimed the doubles point with an 8-4 victory over Johan Berg and Parker Collins on court two. The 25th-ranked tandem of Steve Berke and Robert Kowalczyk finished things off with their 8-6 decision over Prakash Amritraj and Daniel Langre, as the Cal pair won their fourth straight.
With the 1-0 lead heading into singles play, Cal had the momentum going its way. Senior No. 56 Kowalczyk made sure things headed in the same direction for his team as he disposed of Tontz on court six, 6-0, 6-0, in a match that only lasted approximately 40 minutes. Dekel followed suit on court No. 4, as he claimed his fourth consecutive victory on the year, this time taking care of Scott Patterson, 6-0, 6-4. The Bears had the 3-0 advantage with five matches still to play.
Veress could have been the clincher for the Bears, but after losing a tightly-contested first set to Langre, 4-6, he was blanked 0-6 in the second to give the Trojans their first point of the match. On court five, the All-American Berke picked up his team by winning the clincher, defeating Livingston, 6-0, 6-4, for his fourth consecutive victory.
With the match long ago decided, personal wars were being waged on the top two courts. No. 50 Niland and No. 80 Berg were squared off in a rematch of a Round of 16 Sherwood Cup match in which Berg pulled out the 7-5, 6-3 victory. Niland exacted revenge today, though, outlasting the USC Swede, 7-5, 6-1, to hand the Bears their fifth point of the afternoon.
Fruttero and No. 34 Amritraj couldn't have been more evenly matched on the marquee court. After Amritraj took the first set by winning the tiebreaker, 7-1, Fruttero used a single service break in the second set to take the split and force a third-set tiebreaker. The tiebreaker was just as tight-knit as the rest of the match, with the two players tied at 3-3, 7-7 and 8-8 before Amritraj rattled off two successive points to claim the match, 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 10-8.
Cal returns to action Tuesday, April 8 in a Pac-10 matchup with No. 7 Stanford at 4:00 p.m. in Palo Alto.
FINAL RESULTSNo. 4 California 5, No. 22 USC 2
DOUBLES (California wins the point)1. No. 25 Berke/Kowalczyck (CAL) d. Amritraj/Langre (USC), 8-62. Briaud/Fruttero (CAL) d. Berg/Collins (USC), 8-43. Niland/Veress (CAL) d. Livingston/Tontz (USC), 8-1
SINGLES1. No. 34 Prakash Amritraj (USC) d. John Paul Fruttero (CAL), 7-6(7-1), 4-6, (10-8)2. No. 50 Conor Niland (CAL) d. No. 80 Johan Berg (USC), 7-5, 6-13. Daniel Langre (USC) d. Balazs Veress (CAL), 6-4, 6-04. Or Dekel (CAL) d. Scott Patterson (USC), 6-4, 6-15. Steve Berke (CAL) d. Whit Livingston (USC), 6-0, 6-4*6. No. 56 Robert Kowalczyk (CAL) d. Daniel Tontz (USC), 6-0, 6-0ORDER OF FINISH: 6, 4, 3, 5, 2, 1* Clinched the match
RECORDS: No. 4 California 16-2 (2-0, Pac-10), No. 22 USC 11-8 (1-2, Pac-10)