Fruttero to Play Stanford's Martin at NCAA Quarterfinals
May 24, 2002
COLLEGE STATION, Tex. - Cal's 11th-ranked team captain John Paul Fruttero became the first Golden Bear in seven years to advance to the NCAA Singles Quarterfinals Friday, ambushing No. 3 Harsh Mankad in their Round of 16 match. Fruttero will meet David Martin of Stanford tomorrow.
The last Cal player to make it to the NCAA singles quarterfinals was Michael Hill, in 1995. Should Fruttero advance to the semifinals tomorrow, he'd be making the first appearance there for the Bears since Bill Hoogs Jr. accomplished the feet in 1961, 41 years ago.
'(Playing in the quarterfinals) is a great opportunity,' said Fruttero. 'Everyone's playing well at this level. I just have to play my game.'
With the win, the 9/16 seed Fruttero (20-7) became only the third seeded player to advance in what has been a wild NCAA Singles Championship. The junior from San Marino is also the only 9/16 seed remaining in the 64-player draw.
Fruttero stunned the higher-seed Mankad (26-5) in straight sets, defeating the Golden Gopher 6-4, 6-3. Leading the first set 5-4, Fruttero broke Mankad's serve to draw first blood. Mankad then went on to win three straight games in 15 minutes, taking solid 3-0 hold on the second set. Fruttero, however, would rally, running the board to clinch the quarterfinal berth.
'Harsh Mankad is a great player,' said Fruttero after the match. 'Because of my previous matches I was well prepared. They were all similar players so I had a great sense of what I needed to do. I really turned it on so I could get out of the heat and get ready for my doubles match.'
'The different in (Fruttero's) play this year is he's doing a great job in fighting through tough parts of matches,' head coach Peter Wright said. 'His opponents have been smart players who don't beat themselves. His overpowering style has been very effective (at the NCAA Singles Championships).'
With the victory, Fruttero moves on to play the unseeded Martin (No. 28, 32-8) tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. (CT), adding a bit of Bay Area flavor to the Texas tournament. Martin advanced to the quarterfinals with an upset of his own, downing Pepperdine's fifth-ranked Al Garland today, 6-3, 6-4. He was Stanford's top-court player down the stretch, posting a 3-3 record there over the court of the season. His biggest win on the season came over No. 10 Tobias Clemens of UCLA, where Martin beat the Bruin easily, 6-3, 6-4. Despite not facing each other in 2002, Fruttero and Martin have met seven common opponents this season, in Garland, No. 10 Tobias Clemens (UCLA), No. 37 Alex Vlaski (Washington), No. 48 Rodrigo Grilli (UCLA), No. 113 Chris Lam (Santa Clara), Gert Vilms (BYU) and Nicolas Yip (Utah). While Martin posted a 6-2 record against these opponents, Fruttero dominated them, compiling a 8-1 mark, including two wins over Clemens and a victory over Garland while he was ranked No. 1 by the ITA.
'(Martin) works hard, and he's a good player,' said Fruttero. 'The match tomorrow should be a good one.'
Said Wright: 'David Martin represents a difficult but intriguing match.'
Meanwhile, the run of Fruttero and doubles partner Robert Kowalczyk was ended at the Round of 16 today, when Duke's 28th-ranked tandem of Michael Yani and Phillip King exacted revenge for an NCAA Regional Final defeat, dropping the Bear pair 6-3, 6-1.
No. 11 John Paul Fruttero: 20-7
Singles - Round of 16
9/16 seed John Paul Fruttero (Cal) def. 3 seed Harsh Mankad (Minnesota), 6-4, 6-3
Singles - Quarterfinals
9/16 seed John Paul Fruttero (Cal) vs. David Martin (Stanford)