No. 5 Stanford Outduels No. 4 Cal, 4-0, in NCAA Quarterfinals
May 18, 2003
Athens, Georgia - The #4 California men's tennis team (21-5) completed its 2003 campaign with a disheartening 4-0 defeat at the hands of the #5 Stanford Cardinal this evening, May 18, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships at the Henry Field Stadium at the University of Georgia. Cal finished its 2003 season with a 21-5 overall record, its best finish since a 23-9 slate in 1990 when the team also advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
This was the fourth ever meeting between the arch-rivals in the NCAA Team Championships, but first since 1981. The Cardinal won all three previous meetings, 5-1 in 1977, 5-3 in 1980 and 5-4 in 1981.
After a three hour and forty-five minute rain delay for the second consecutive day, the match was moved to the four indoor courts at the Henry Field Stadium.
In the two regular season meetings between Cal and Stanford, the team that won the doubles point lost the match. In this evening's quarterfinal matchup between the two squads, the Cardinal reversed the trend, jumping out to the early 1-0 lead with victories at doubles No. 1 and 2
In the dual match February 1, the fourth-ranked pair of Scott Lipsky and David Martin outdueled #8 Steve Berke and Robert Kowalczyk for a 9-7 victory, but the Cal duo returned the favor April 8 with an 8-6 decision of their own. This evening's matchup was the most lopsided of them all, as Stanford took care of business with the first doubles victory of the match, completing an 8-1 victory for the early edge. On court two, with Patrick Briaud absent from the lineup, sophomore Mik Ledvonova joined John Paul Fruttero in challenging KC Corkery and James Pade. While the newly formed Cal tandem put up a fight, the Cardinal ultimately persevered to claim the 8-6 victory and a 1-0 lead heading into singles play.
With the doubles point already decided, Conor Niland and Balazs Veress' match with Carter Morris and Sam Warburg was suspended in a 6-6 deadlock.
The indoor complex is only equipped with four courts, so the top four pairs started action while Steve Berke and #57 Robert Kowalczyk were forced to wait things out for their chance to stage a comeback. The Cardinal, however, used their momentum from the doubles victory to jump out to first set singles victories on courts one through three. #124 Balazs Veress was the only one of the four to secure a first set win, as he outmatched #63 Sam Warburg with a 7-5 decision. Veress took leads of 4-1 and 5-3 before Warburg made things interesting by closing the gap to 6-5.
Thing did not get much better in second set action, as Stanford took a 2-0 lead with their first singles victory on court three. In the battle of the freshman, Or Dekel was in his match early, closing #49 KC Corkery's lead to 3-2 in the first set, but the Stanford freshman claimed the next three games for the 6-2 decision. Corkery continued his mastery with a 3-0 lead in the second set en route to a 6-2, 6-1 victory. Now with a vacant court, Steve Berke and #114 James Pade commenced their match, but Fruttero and #36 Niland were mired in deficits on one and two, respectively.
The Cardinal extended its lead to 3-0 as #8 David Martin defeated Fruttero for the second time this season. Martin claimed a 6-3 decision in first set action and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in set two before Fruttero narrowed the gap to 4-2. The Stanford senior persevered, however, to claim a 6-3, 6-2 victory for the commanding lead. The Cardinal then closed the door on Cal's season as #77 Scott Lipsky upset #36 Conor Niland, 6-3, 7-6, on court two. Niland got as close as 2-3 in the first set, but Lipsky outscored the Cal sophomore, 3-1, for the first set victory. Niland faced a 3-0 deficit at the start of the second set, but he rallied to knot the score at 6-6 to give the Bears a glimmer of hope. Lipsky eventually claimed the tiebreaker for the victory, ending the Bears' comeback bid and their season in the process.
On court four, Veress was close to giving Cal a point with his 7-5, 5-4 advantage over Warburg and Berke was knotted at 2-2 with Pade on court five. #57 Robert Kowalczyk and Carter Morris never got the chance to play.
Niland will stay in Athens to compete in the NCAA Singles Championship to commence Wednesday, May 21 at 9 a.m. (EST), while #8 Berke and Kowalczyk will play for the individual doubles title starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 22.
Complete tournament results and singles/doubles draws can be obtained on Georgia's athletics website at www.GeorgiaDogs.com.
COMPLETE RESULTS:Doubles: (Stanford wins point)1. #4 Lipsky/Martin (SU) d. #8 Berke/Kowalczyk (Cal), 8-12. Corkery/Pade (SU) d. Ledvonova/Fruttero (Cal), 8-6*3. Niland/Veress (Cal) vs. Morris/Warburg (SU), DNF (6-6)ORDER OF FINISH: 1, 2** Clinched doubles point
Singles:1. #8 David Martin (SU) d. John Paul Fruttero (Cal), 6-3, 6-22. #77 Scott Lipsky (SU) d. #36 Conor Niland (Cal), 6-3, 7-6*3. #49 KC Corkery (SU) d. Or Dekel (Cal), 6-2, 6-14. #124 Balazs Veress (Cal) vs. #63 Sam Warburg (SU), DNF (7-5, 5-4)5. Steve Berke (Cal) vs. #114 James Pade (SU), DNF (2-2)6. #57 Robert Kowalczyk (Cal) vs. Carter Morris (SU), DNPORDER OF FINISH: 3, 1, 2** Clinched match
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