California Conquers Sacramento State, 4-0, in First Round of NCAA Championships
May 10, 2003
Berkeley, Calif. - The #4 University of California men's tennis team (19-4) advanced to the NCAA Round of 32 with a commanding 4-0 sweep of Sacramento State (12-16) in the first round of the NCAA Championships this afternoon, May 10 at the Hellman Tennis Center in Berkeley. The victory pits Cal against the winner between Boise State and Arizona in the Round of 32 Sunday, May 11 at noon.
The Bears grabbed the early momentum, claiming the doubles matches on courts one and two. Cal jumped out to 2-0 leads on all three courts, sending an early message to the Hornets. Patrick Briaud and John Paul Fruttero were the first Cal pair to win on court two, jumping out to leads of 3-0 and 5-1 before taking the 8-3 victory over Peter Farkas and Lewis Van Splunteren. On court one, #8 Steve Berke and Robert Kowalczyk were in command of their match for its duration, cruising out to a 6-0 lead over Nick Sheehan and Anders Albertsen. The Sacramento State duo won their first game to cut the Cal lead to 6-1, but Berke and Kowalczyk exhibited too much firepower in an 8-1 victory and more importantly, claiming the doubles point for the Bears.
On doubles No. 3 Conor Niland and Balazs Veress were in a dogfight with Julian Chatelan and Jakub Silva, at one point deadlocked at 3-3. The Cal duo did, however, start to make a run and took the 5-2 lead, but the match was suspended with Cal winning the doubles point.
In singles play, the Bears claimed the first set on all six courts, only dropping a total of seven games. Freshman Or Dekel coasted to the first Cal singles victory on court three, handing the Bears a quick 2-0 lead. Dekel took the first set, 6-0, over Jakub Silva and cruised to a 5-0 lead in the second frame. Facing elimination, Silva grabbed his first game, but eventually fell, 6-0, 6-1.
Sophomore #36 Conor Niland extended the Cal lead to 3-0 with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Anders Albertsen on court two. Albertsen put up a fight early on, tying the match at 1-1 in the first set, but Niland turned up the intensity and won the next 11 games for the victory.
With the 3-0 lead, it was up to either Robert Kowalczyk or John Paul Fruttero to clinch the match, as both were up 4-1 in their respective second sets. But, in fitting fashion, the senior captain Fruttero was the one to seal the deal on court one, completing a 6-0, 6-1 decision over Nick Sheehan. Fruttero won the first eight games before Sheehan got on the board at 2-1 in the second set.
'I felt pretty good out there today,' said Fruttero. 'He played into my strengths right away and by the time he figured it out, it was too late. Between my serve and forehand, my two biggest strengths, everything came together today.'
With the victory in hand, matches on courts four through six were suspended per NCAA regulations. On court four, junior Balazs Veress had just completed a 6-4 first set over Julien Chatelan, on court five, Kowalczyk was mired in a 6-1, 4-2 lead and on court six, sophomore Mik Ledvonova was up 6-1, 3-0.
'Our guys came out and played incredibly focused,' said head coach Peter Wright. 'That was the best J.P. (Fruttero) has played all year. We know we have a challenge ahead of us tomorrow.'
California will face Boise State, 4-1 winners over Arizona, in the Round of 32 Sunday, May 11 at noon at Hellman Tennis Complex.
FINAL RESULT#1 California 4, #4 Sacramento State 0
SinglesNo. 1 - John Paul Fruttero (Cal) d. Nick Sheehan (SS), 6-0, 6-1*No. 2 - #36 Conor Niland (Cal) d. Anders Albertsen (SS), 6-1, 6-0No. 3 - Or Dekel (Cal) d. Jakub Silva (SS), 6-0, 6-1No. 4 - #124 Balazs Veress (Cal) vs. Julien Chatelan (SS), DNFNo. 5 - #57 Robert Kowalczyk (Cal) vs. Lewis Van Splunteren (SS), DNFNo. 6 - Mik Ledvonova (Cal) vs. Peter Farkas (SS), DNFORDER OF FINISH: 3, 2, 1**Clinched match
Doubles (California wins point)No. 1 - #8 Steve Berke/Robert Kowalczyk (Cal) d. Sheehan/Albertsen (SS), 8-1No. 2 - Patrick Briaud/John Paul Fruttero (Cal) d. Farkas/Van Splunteren (SS), 8-3No. 3 - Conor Niland/Balazs Veress (Cal) vs. Chatelan/Silva (SS), DNF
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