No. 3 Cal Concludes Regular Season at No. 23 USC, No. 4 UCLA
April 15, 2003
WHAT'S ON TAP: The #3 California men's tennis team (17-3, 3-1, Pac-10), off to the best 20-match start in the program's 76-year history, concludes its 2003 regular season slate with a pair of matches against Pac-10 rivals USC (#23) Friday, April 18 at 1:30 p.m. and UCLA (#4) Saturday, April 19 at noon. Both matches will take place in Los Angeles.
THE LAST TIME: The Bears enter this week as the #3-ranked team in the nation, while the women's squad checks in at #4 in the country. The last time that both the men and women's teams were simultaneously ranked in the Top 5 of the USTA/ITA rankings was Sept. 18, 1991.
BEARS IN THE RANKINGS: Sophomore Conor Niland leads the pack at #33, followed by #58 Robert Kowalczyk, #111 Or Dekel and #125 Mik Ledvonova. In doubles, Kowalczyk and senior Steve Berke check in at #10 in the nation.
LAST WEEK AGAINST ARIZONA: Against the Wildcats, the Bears claimed a 7-0 victory for their second consecutive season sweep over Arizona and their fifth win in a row over the team from Tucson. Cal began the match by sweeping all three doubles matches as Niland and Balazs Veress claimed their fourth consecutive victory on court No. 2. The Bears kept on cruising in singles play, sweeping all six matches for the 7-0 victory. Senior Kowalczyk extended his win streak to six with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Colin O'Grady on court five. The next scheduled match vs. Arizona State was cancelled due to rainy conditions in Berkeley.
OFF THE INJURED LIST: Wayne Wong returned to the lineup against Arizona after being out three weeks due to a stomach muscle injury. The junior from Hong Kong improved to 16-5 on the year with a tidy 6-3, 6-1 victory over Daniel Andrus on court six.
DOUBLES COMING ON STRONG: After suffering consecutive setbacks in doubles play vs. Illinois (3/25) and Oregon (3/28), the Bears have rallied to take six straight doubles points, including sweeps in three of the last four. The brand new combination of sophomore Patrick Briaud and John Paul Fruttero has been successful, as the pair has compiled a 4-1 record between courts one and two. Conor Niland and Balazs Veress have also been on fire, claiming four wins in a row. After claiming five consecutive victories on the top court, Steve Berke and Robert Kowalczyk moved up in the national rankings, taking over the #10 spot. Overall, the team has claimed 14 of a possible 19 doubles points.
SCOUTING USC: The #23 Trojans, 13-9 overall (2-3, Pac-10), enter this match fresh off a weekend split with Oregon (W, 6-1) and Washington (L, 4-2). Prakash Amritraj, ranked #53, is the highest ranked of the Trojans, with a 16-4 dual match record. Johan Berg checks in at #115 with an 11-11 dual match record and 24-15 overall.
SCOUTING UCLA: The #4 Bruins, 19-2 (5-0, Pac-10), swept Oregon (W, 6-1) and Washington (W, 7-0) last weekend. UCLA boasts five players ranked in the Top 120, led by #5 Tobias Clemens. Clemens has compiled a 16-2 dual match record and 28-4 overall. The other ranked players are: #35 Chris Lam, #40 Marcin Matkowski, #64 Erfan Djahangiri and #120 Rodrigo Grilli.
LAST DUEL vs. THE LA SCHOOLS: In the first week of April, the Bears hosted matches vs. the LA schools and came out on the winning side of a two-match sweep. On Friday, April 4, Cal claimed a 5-2 decision over the Bruins by sweeping the doubles point and taking four of the six singles matches. On Saturday, April 5, the Bears posted their fourth consecutive win with another 5-2 decision - this time over the Trojans. For the second day in a row, Cal got started early by sweeping the doubles point. In singles play, the Bears took four of six for the victory. In modern day records, California has never swept all four matches with the LA schools in a single season.
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