Cal Faces Two Top-10 Foes In Final Home Matches

April 10, 2007


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The California men's tennis team returns to Berkeley this weekend for its final two home matches of the season at the Hellman Tennis Center. The Golden Bears face No. 8 USC on Friday, April 13, at 1:30 p.m. and No. 10 UCLA on Saturday, April 14, at 1 p.m. The following weekend, the Bears wrap up the regular season with a showdown on The Farm against Stanford on Saturday, April 21. Cal (13-7, 3-1) knocked off Washington and Oregon on the road last weekend.

USC (18-1, 4-0) is currently on a seven-match winning streak. The Trojans only loss this spring was at the hands of top-ranked Georgia. In the first meeting of the season against Cal, USC swept the Bears, 7-0. On March 9, the Trojans handled then-No. 6 UCLA, 6-1. Last weekend, USC completed a five-match homestand, beating Arizona, 6-1, and Arizona State, 5-2, in the final home match of the regular season. UCLA (15-3, 4-0) finishes its own five-match homestand today against San Diego State, as the Bruins go for their seventh win in a row. UCLA swept both of the Arizona schools last weekend. The loss to USC was the last time the Bruins suffered defeat. Like USC, UCLA also swept Cal in their first meeting earlier in the dual season. Ben Kohlloeffel, the reigning NCAA singles champion, is currently ranked fourth in the ITA singles rankings and 12th with partner Philipp Gruendler in doubles.

Cal came away with two victories in a trip to the Pacific Northwest last weekend. The Bears rallied to defeat Washington, 4-3, and then decisively beat Oregon the next day, 6-1. Against the Huskies, Cal was trailing 3-2 when Tyler Browne tied the match with a 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 victory over Daniel Chu. Browne earned the win despite battling bronchitis and a sore wrist. Ken Nakahara won the match for Cal when he took down Patrik Fischer, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3. Nakahara had lost a close first set and was trailing 5-2 in the second set before he came all the way back to win. The Bears carried their momentum into their match against Oregon, sweeping the three doubles matches and winning five singles matches. Nakahara, Daniel Sebescen and Kallim Stewart earned their second singles victories of the weekend against the Ducks. Stewart's win increased his winning streak to five. The match on the No. 3 court featured a third-set tiebreaker between Eoin Heavey and Ric Mortera. Mortera won a tough first set, 7-6, before Heavey rebounded and won the second, 6-4. In the tiebreaker, Heavey came away with the 10-6 victory.

Ken Nakahara has been an important factor in Cal's success this season. The junior has won 12 of his last 13 singles matches, which included a 10-match winning streak. Last weekend, his victory against Washington gave the Bears the win. The next day, he won a decisive straight-set match against Oregon. Nakahara's 10-match winning streak began Feb. 17 when he helped Cal beat UC Santa Barbara, with a 6-0, 6-1 decision over Grant Robertson. He was the only Bear to win all three of his singles matches in the Aloha Invitational. Before his victory in the final match against Hawaii, he secured the only point for Cal against Pepperdine, a 6-2, 6-2 win over Mahmoud Kamel, and against San Diego State, he knocked off Robert Sabo, 6-2, 6-4. He picked up two wins in Pebble Beach three weeks ago, winning in straight sets over SMU's Adolfo Solares, 6-2, 6-1. The following day against USF, he recorded a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Asaf Cohen on the fifth court. His quick victory against Stanford on March 10 helped keep the momentum in Cal's favor, as it swept Stanford, 7-0. More recently, he beat Arizona's Ravid Hezi in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, on March 31.

In three tournaments during the fall campaign, the highlight for Cal was the performance of junior Pierre Mouillon. His 12 singles wins were the most for the Bears. He also advanced the furthest for Cal in the ITA Northwest Regional, (semifinals), and was the only Bear to advance past the first round in the All-American Championships qualifying bracket. Prior to the four wins he picked up in the regional and the six in the championships, Mouillon, a transfer from Mississippi State, also won two of his three matches in the Napa Valley Tennis Classic in September. One of Mouillon's losses this fall was to the No. 1 seed and defending champion in the All-American Championships.

After a slow start to the fall season, Daniel Sebescen and Pierre Mouillon racked up five wins in the ITA Northwest Regional to win the doubles tournament. Their title run culminated with an 8-3 victory over host-Stanford's Blake Muller and Paul Morrissey. The closest match of the weekend for the Bears was their first-round contest with Gabriel Loredo and Hague Van Dillen of Sacramento State. The Hornets fell to the Cal duo, 8-6. Following the opening-round victory, Sebescen and Mouillon then defeated Kevin McQuaid and Blane Shield of Santa Clara, 8-3, in the round of 16. They followed that win with a pair of 8-5 victories over Michael Ricks and Patrick Fischer of Washington and Cal Poly's Matt Raca and Kyle Roybal to send them into the finals.

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