No. 10 Cal (1-0) Hosts Cross-Bay Rival No. 4 Stanford
Jan. 28, 2003
WHATS ON TAP: The No. 10 California men's tennis team commences its 2003 home slate this week as the squad squares off against No. 4 Stanford, Saturday, Feb. 1 at 12:00 p.m. at the Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley. Last season, the Bears' upset victory over the Cardinal - then ranked No. 1 in the nation - halted Stanford's 75-match home winning streak and initiated a 10-match winning streak for the Bears, which was the third longest in school history. Stanford owns an all-time record of 67-11-2 over Cal.
ABOUT CALIFORNIA: The Bears kicked of the 2003 season with a 5-2 victory over No. 18 Pepperdine on January 16 in Malibu. This year, Cal has all six starters back, and adds senior transfer Steve Berke, an All-American from Yale, and Israeli Or Dekel, No. 350 in the ATP world rankings. The Bears enter the spring slate with four players in the Top 100 ITA rankings. Sophomore Conor Niland checks in at No. 31, while junior Balazs Veress (No. 37), senior Robert Kowalczyk (No. 82) and junior Wayne Wong (No. 95) round out the list. Senior All-Americans John Paul Fruttero and Berke did not factor in the preseason rankings as neither competed in the fall.
ABOUT STANFORD: The Cardinal opens its 2003 season ranked No. 4 in the country by the ITA. In 2002, the team finished with a 20-6 overall record en route to a trip to the second round of the NCAA Championships. The 2002-03 Stanford men's tennis team will be led by a trio of senior All-Americans - Ryan Haviland, No. 46 Scott Lipsky and No. 15 David Martin - who will be the centerpieces in the Cardinal's hunt for an unprecedented 18th NCAA Team Championship. Haviland and Martin both reached the semifinals of the 2002 NCAA Singles Championship, while Lipsky and Martin reached the final of the NCAA Doubles Championship. All three players have been ranked in the top 40 in the nation in singles during their careers, while Lipsky and Martin have spent most of the last two-plus seasons in the top five in doubles.
HOME, SWEET HELLMAN: While the Bears' record of 19-7 last season was certainly impressive, Cal was a definite force to be reckoned with on their home courts. The Bears compiled a 13-1 record at home during the 2002 campaign, including a 10-match winning streak that spanned two months. The run was broken by Stanford (4/9) - then No. 6 in the nation - which only narrowly defeated the 17th-ranked Cal team by a 4-3 score. This weekend's match against the Cardinal represents the first of four consecutive home matches for the Bears.
AGAINST THE WAVES: In its season opener versus Pepperdine, the Bears claimed their first victory of the season with a 5-2 win in Malibu. Cal captured the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles, and then proceeded to clinch the contest by winning four of the six singles matches. Though No. 37 Veress and No. 31 Niland fell in defeat on courts No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, the Golden Bears won on courts No. 3-6. Freshman Or Dekel, in his first intercollegiate match, claimed a hard-fought 7-5, 6-2 victory over the Waves' Alexis Rafidison on court No. 3. No. 82-ranked Kowalczyk, No. 95 Wong and Mik Ledvonova also came out on top, in order of courts No. 4-6.
INJURY REPORT: Senior All-American John Paul Fruttero underwent wrist surgery in early January and should be back with the team in time for Pac-10 play.
'FALL-ING' STAR: Wayne Wong completed the finest fall tournament season of all the Bears. The Hong Kong native posted an 11-3 record over four tournaments, including a 10-match winning streak and the title of the San Diego All-College Tournament.