No. 13 Golden Bears Face Cardinal to Close Regular Season
April 13, 2010
BERKELEY - This Week:Hellman Tennis Complex | Berkeley, Calif.
vs. No. 7 StanfordSenior Day 2010Saturday, April 17 1 p.m. PTwww.GoStanford.com
The Golden Bears conclude the regular season with their biggest match as they host No. 7-ranked rival Stanford at the Hellman Tennis Complex for the Big Slam. The California men's tennis team maintained its top 15 ranking in the ITA polls after earning two wins over Oregon and Washington last weekend. A win over the Cardinal guarantees the Cal at least a second-place finish in the Pac-10; tied with one or two teams. The last time the Bears finished that high in the standings was in 2002 with a 5-2 league record. No. 19-ranked junior Pedro Zerbini became the first player from Cal to receive four conference player of the week awards earlier this week and looks to notch his 19th dual singles victory of the season against the Cardinal.
THIS WEEK: The No. 13-ranked California men's tennis team (12-6, 3-2 Pac-10) will host No. 7-ranked rival Stanford (15-5, 4-1) at the Hellman Tennis Complex in a 1 p.m. PT match on Saturday, April 17. The Golden Bears defeated the Cardinal in a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind win at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium in Stanford, Calif. on March 20 and are looking to sweep Stanford in the regular-season series for the first time since 2007.
BEAR TRACKER: Cal's home dual matches at the Hellman Tennis Complex will feature live video with scoring. Visit the men's tennis home page at CalBears.com for links. Admission to regular-season home matches is free to the general public.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Fans and media can purchase Cal men's tennis photos at GoldenBearSports.com, the official photographer of Cal Athletics. Follow @GBSports on Twitter to get instant notifications when new albums and galleries are posted to the website. Visit www.twitter.com/gbsports to follow.
LAST TIME OUT: The Bears seized two conference victories with wins over No. 72 Oregon (7-0) and No. 22 Washington (5-2) at the Hellman Tennis Complex. Cal blanked the Ducks by sweeping all nine courts to bounce back from two straight conference road losses the weekend prior. The Bears then grinded out one of the season's longest matches in a 5-2 victory over the Huskies. The final match off the court went three hours and 20 minutes before the outcome was decided but the Bears came away with the momentum heading into the final weekend of league play.
ON COURT - NO. 7 STANFORD: The Cardinal (15-5, 4-1 Pac-10) has won its last four matches and could enter the Big Slam with a six-match winning streak. Stanford's only conference defeat came at the hands of champion USC, 5-2, on April 2. No. 9-ranked sophomore Bradley Klahn leads all players with a 27-6 record and holds court at No. 1 singles with a 13-4 mark. No. 49-ranked junior Alex Clayton has registered 17 singles victories and has notched 10 wins from the second singles court. No. 79-ranked sophomore Ryan Thacher is a mainstay at court three and is just one win from becoming the third Cardinal with at least 20 singles wins this season. Junior Greg Hirshman occupies court six and has fended off all comers to the tune of a 16-3 record in duals with a 22-7 overall mark. In doubles, Klahn and Thacher boast the No. 3 national ranking and are 30-5 overall with a 13-3 mark at the top court in duals. Stanford's No. 46-ranked team of Clayton and senior Richard Wire stay steady with a 12-4 mark at court two and a 17 wins overall mark. The Bears are behind the count in the all-time series, 73-122-2, but they won the last meeting on Stanford's home-courts, 4-3, in a monumental comeback victory.
BEARS IN THE RANKS: The Bears are ranked No. 13 as a team in the most recent (April 13) Campbell's/ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) College Tennis Poll. The team reached No. 10 on March 2; Cal's highest ranking in seven years since it held the No. 4 ranking to conclude the 2003 season. That year, the Bears opened at No. 10 and steadily rose in the ranks towards a quarterfinal finish in the NCAA championships. Cal has two ranked singles players led by No. 19-ranked junior Pedro Zerbini. Freshman Christoffer Konigsfeldt checks in at No. 95 this week. Junior Jonathan Dahan held various rankings throughout the season but was not ranked this week. In doubles, sophomore Nick Andrews and Konigsfeldt are ranked No. 35 with Dahan and Zerbini ranked No. 28 as a doubles team.
POWER OF THE PAC: Six out of seven Pac-10 men's tennis teams hold rankings with five in the top 25 of the most recent (April 13) Campbell's/ITA College Tennis Poll--making it one of the toughest conferences in men's collegiate tennis. Defending NCAA Champion USC leads the conference as the fourth-ranked team in the country with Stanford a couple of spots behind at No. 7. Defending conference champion UCLA checks in at No. 12 with the Bears just a step back at No. 13. Washington checks in at No. 24 with Arizona just outside at No. 28. Oregon was ranked in several polls earlier this season but is not ranked this week. In 2009, in addition to producing the national champion, the Pac-10 produced five ITA All-America selections and was home to the National Rookie of the Year in Stanford's Bradley Klahn.
KONIGSFELDT DOUBLES UP ON CONFERENCE HONORS: Freshman Christoffer Konigsfeldt was selected Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 1-7, and repeated the feat for the week of Feb. 15-21. The native of Denmark led the Golden Bears to victories over Fresno State, Hawaii and Stanford to capture his two honors and becomes just the third Cal player to receive the honor twice in the same season. He was also the Bears' first freshman ever to win the award and is the eighth all-time Pac-10 Player of the Week selection for the Cal men.
FOUR SCORE: Junior Pedro Zerbini was named Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week on April 13 to mark the fourth time in his career that he has received the honor. He was also named the conference player of the week on March 16, 2010, March 23, 2009, and April 6, 2009. Zerbini is the first Golden Bear to be selected four times and is behind only UCLA's Benjamin Kohlloeffel who has seven career selections. Cal All-American Conor Niland had three awards to his name in the same year but Zerbini is the only player to win multiple awards in multiple years. Zerbini's selection gives the Bears 10 all-time and also marks the second time that Cal has had at least three player-of-the-week selections in the same year.
WHERE'S THE BEEF?: Junior Pedro Zerbini is a carnivore in every sense of the word. As somewhat of a contrarian to his surroundings, Zerbini prefers the taste of meat over that of vegetables. In fact, he chooses not to eat vegetables as a regular part of his diet. While Berkeley is widely known to provide many vegetarian and vegan dining options to the dense population of herbivores in the city limits, Zerbini may be the only meat-only eater on campus.
BO KNOWS: Junior Bozhidar Katsarov set a Cal men's tennis freshman record in 2008 as he won 35 singles matches and completed the year with a 17-7 mark in duals (35-11 overall). As a sophomore in 2009, Katsarov added 15 more victories in the face of injury and breached the 65-win plateau as a junior earlier this season.
DAHAN THAT ROCKS THE RACKET: Junior Jonathan Dahan has become a mainstay in the Cal lineup over the last three years. He earned 17 singles victories in each of his first two seasons and broke into the ITA singles rankings as a junior at No. 33 in the fall of 2009. He earned his first doubles ranking with partner Pedro Zerbini on Feb. 23, 2010, as the pair debuted at No. 31 in the nation.
FATHER FIGURE: Junior Zach Gilbert is the son of former tennis pro, television commentator and current tennis coach Brad Gilbert. The elder Gilbert won 20 singles titles as a pro and reached a world ranking of No. 4 in 1990. As a coach, Gilbert has tutored many internationally renowned stars including Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.
BROTHERLY LOVE: Freshman Christoffer Konigsfeldt is the younger brother of the top singles player at UC Santa Barbara, Alex Konigsfeldt. A 6-1 junior for the Gauchos, the elder Konigsfeldt advanced to the round of 32 at the 2008 ITA Regional Championships and was once ranked fifth nationally in Denmark's under-18 rankings. He won the 2007 Danish Junior Championship and reached the National Outdoor Championships semifinals in 2006.
FALL 2009 REVIEW: The Bears concluded the 2009 fall individual tournament season with several notable achievements. Cal had four singles players and four doubles teams advance to at least the round of 16 in the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship. In singles, sophomore Nick Andrews made his way to the round of 16 where he was joined by freshman Christoffer Konigsfeldt, and juniors Bozhidar Katsarov and Pedro Zerbini. Konigsfeldt moved one round further before bowing out but Katsarov and Zerbini each advanced to the semifinal round, with Zerbini moving on to the championship match. While he was knocked out in the opening round, sophomore Sky Lovill turned things around and won the singles back draw with five consecutive victories. Andrews and Konigsfeldt; junior Jonathan Dahan and Zerbini; junior Zach Gilbert and Lovill; and the team of Katsarov and freshman Riki McLachalan all advanced to the doubles round of 16 with Andrews and Konigsfeldt moving ahead to the semifinal. Konigsfeldt claimed the singles championship at the Saint Mary's Invitational and went all the way to the doubles final with Zerbini. On the other side was Andrews and Lovill, but the two pairs never played the match. Andrews alone had a shot at the singles title, but fell to Konigsfeldt, and Katsarov also made it to the singles semifinal. Dahan and Zerbini showed strongly at the D'Novo/ITA All-American Championships as the duo moved into the round of 16 after getting three wins in the qualifying rounds.