No. 30 Cal Competes at Pac-10 Championships

April 22, 2008

The 30th-ranked California men's tennis team travels to the Pac-10 Championships Thursday-Sunday, April 24-27 at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club and Libby Park in Ojai, Calif. The Golden Bears finished the regular season with a 12-10 overall record and in fourth place in the Pac-10 with a 4-3 mark. The Pac-10 Championships is not a team competition. The tournament features two flights each of singles and doubles competition.

In the men's invitational singles draw, Cal is represented by Bozhidar Katsarov , Geoffrey Chizever, Zach Gilbert and Jonathan Dahan. The men's singles championship features from Cal Pedro Zerbini, Pierre Mouillon, Eoin Heavey and Kallim Stewart. Gilbert and Mouillon pair up for the men's invitational doubles championship along with Dahan and Katsarov. In the men's doubles championship flight, Cal has entered Chizever and Zerbini and Heavey and Stewart.

At the 2007 Pac-10 Championships, current senior Pierre Mouillon advanced to the singles semifinals, where he lost to Stanford's Matt Bruch, 6-4, 6-2. Current junior Eoin Heavey lost to Washington's Alex Slovic, 6-1, 6-1, in the singles quarterfinal. The Bears doubles team of current junior Geoff Chizever and Heavey advanced to the quarterfinals, falling to USC's Robert Farah and Kaes Van't Hof, 8-3.

In Cal's final preparation for this year's conference championships, the then-29th-ranked Bears fell to then-24th-ranked Stanford, 5-2, at the Hellman Tennis Complex. Cal gained the early momentum in the doubles competition and earned the point after sweeping all three matches. The No. 1 duo of Geoff Chizever and Pedro Zerbini tallied an 8-4 win over the Stanford duo of Alex Clayton and Blake Muller. At No. 2 doubles, Cal's combination of Eoin Heavey and Kallim Stewart handled Wire and Gregory Hirshman, 7-6, while Jonathan Dahan and Bozhidar Katsarov topped Kevin Kaiser and Ted Kelly, 8-3, at No. 3 doubles. Cal pulled even in the rivalry match at 2-2 as Zerbini earned a straight sets victory at No. 4 singles over Phil Kao, 6-3, 6-4. Stanford was able to pull out the win.

The Bears opened the season ranked No. 39 in the ITA NCAA Division I Men's Collegiate Tennis rankings but moved up to No. 26 after upsetting No. 11 Oklahoma State on the road in Tulsa, Okla. Cal currently holds the No. 30 ranking in the nation. The Bears finished 2007 with the No. 42 ranking but have held the No. 2 ranking at the end of the season on four occasions, and the No. 3 spot on three occasions. Most recently, under the direction of head coach Peter Wright, the Bears were No. 4 to close the 2003 season after advancing to the NCAA Quarterfinal and compiling a 21-5 overall record. Cal won the national championship in 1925 with a 4-1 record. Individually, sophomore Kallim Stewart is the only Bear ranked in the ITA rankings, holding the No. 105 spot among singles players.

Cal has relied on the strength of its freshman class to provide many of its crucial victories in dual play. Together, the freshmen combine for a 46-15 singles record in dual matches (a 75.4% winning percentage), 13-5 in Pac-10 duals. Freshman Pedro Zerbini has contributed on four different courts and is currently riding a 10-match singles winning streak. Freshman Bozhidar Katsarov leads all Cal players with 29 overall wins this season against only 10 losses. The top three singles performers on the team are Zerbini, Katsarov and Jonathan Dahan with 17, 16, and 12 dual match wins, respectively. Zerbini and Katsarov also hold the most singles wins overall this year with 25 and 29.