No. 4 Cal Edges No. 8 Duke in Consolation Match at National Team Indoors

Feb. 22, 2003

Louisville, KY - The California men's tennis team (7-1) rebounded this afternoon with a 4-3 victory over No. 8 Duke (6-3) in the consolation back draw of the National Team Indoor Championships in Louisville, KY. The Bears, avenging a NCAA second round loss to the Blue Devils last season, finished the tournament with a 2-1 record and a tie for fifth place.

The match between the Top 10 teams commenced with Duke claiming the doubles point after winning two hard-fought matches on courts No. 1 and 2. In their sixth match of the season on court one, Steve Berke and Robert Kowalczyk put up a fight, but found themselves on the short end of the stick with a 9-8(5) loss to the duo of MichaelYani and Phillip King. The cal tandem falls to 2-4 on the season. On court two, the undefeated duo of Patrick Briaud and Balazs Veress suffered their first defeat of the season, falling to 7-1 in dual play. The pair also had a fight on their hands, suffering through an 8-6 loss to Jonathan Stokke and Jason Zimmerman to hand the Blue Devils the doubles point. Conor Niland and Mik Ledvonova did not finish their match.

Duke, equipped with an early 1-0 lead, quickly took advantage of the momentum jumping out to a 3-0 lead. No. 37 Balazs Veress dropped to 1-2 in tournament action on court No. 1, taking a 6-1, 6-2 loss to Phillip King. Israeli Or Dekel did not fare much better on court No. 3, suffering a swift 6-2, 6-2 decision to No. 77 Ludovic Walter to give the Blue Devils the decided advantage. But the Bears showed a tremendous amount of resilience as matches were still in progress on courts No. 2, 5, and 4.

Cal's top-ranked player No. 31 Niland claimed his sixth victory of the year with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over No. 33 Mike Yani to give the Bears a crucial first point. No. 95 Wane Wong quickly followed suit with a tightly contested 6-4, 7-6(4) win over Peter Schults to edge Cal even closer. After suffering a setback in the first set, Berke tied the match at three apiece with his come from behind 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 decision over Jonathan Stokke.

The marquee match of the afternoon happened to give the Golden Bears the decision as the 82nd-ranked Kowalczyk pulled out a three-set victory over Jason Zimmerman on court No. 4. After losing a first set tiebreaker to Cal's Kowalczyk, Zimmerman returned the favor by claiming a tiebreaker in the second set to send the match into the final round of action. Kowalczyk, sensing the pressure, breezed through the final set to win 7-6(7), 6-7(5), 6-1 and claim the win for the Bears.

Cal returns to Berkeley for its next scheduled match against Utah Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 1:30 p.m. inside Hellman Tennis Complex.

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RESULTNo. 4 California 4, No. 8 Duke 3

SINGLES 1.Phillip King (Duke) def. No. 37 Balazs Veress (CAL), 6-1, 6-22.No. 31 Conor Niland (CAL) def. No. 33 Mike Yani (Duke), 6-2, 6-23. No. 77 Ludovic Walter (Duke) def. Or Dekel (CAL), 6-2, 6-24. No. 82 Robert Kowalczyk (CAL) def. Jason Zimmerman (Duke), 7-6(7), 6-7(5), 6-1*5. Steve Berke (CAL) def. Jonathan Stokke (Duke), 3-6, 6-1, 6-26. No. 95 Wayne Wong (CAL) def. Peter Schults (Duke), 6-4, 7-6(4)ORDER OF FINISH (singles): 1, 3, 2, 6, 5, 4* clinched match

DOUBLES1. Yani/King (Duke) def. Berke/Kowalczyk (CAL), 9-8(5)2. Stokke/Zimmerman (Duke) def. Briaud/Veress (CAL), 8-63. Niland/Ledvonova (CAL) vs. Walter/Heinberg (Duke), DNF

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